Car rental when under 25

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I’ve never had to rent a car before now, but I always heard it was hard to do until age 25. Over the past few years the major rental companies have loosened the rules a bit, thanks in part to some lawsuits. Oddly enough one of the first lawsuits was in New York, but that state now has the highest surcharges I’ve seen ($100 a day sometimes!). There is a lot of age discrimination in the US still, both for the young and old, but it doesn’t get nearly the attention that fun things like racism do.

I’m renting in Texas and checked all of the big companies, here are the surcharges added on for being young. These fees may vary by state, but I checked a few other states besides New York and they all seemed close. Some companies are just more youth friendly. Unless you’re military or work for a company with a corporate account, NY is about the only place people under 21 can rent a car in the US. You’ll pay through the nose for it though.

I decided to go with the company with the lowest surcharge and in the event of a tie then the lowest fee for a comparable vehicle. I’m voting with my wallet, I want to reward the most youth friendly company with my business. I wasn’t expecting limitations (not being able to rent certain classes of vehicles), but this is the normal practice. I was looking to rent either a premium or luxury car.

After my research I had an easy decision, Enterprise Rent A Car. It’s far and away the best deal. That makes sense though, Enterprise got huge by going after an undertapped market–off-airport rentals. Apparently they are going after another huge overlooked market. Another nice thing about Enterprise is that I can actually rent something with a V6.

Hopefully someone will find this useful, these companies often bury the information several clicks deep. The information may change and as already stated, is not accurate in all 50 states. NY is different for most if not all of the companies.

US Car rental daily surcharges for ages 21-24

Company Fee Limitations
Enterprise $0 None
Hertz $27/$37 N/A Fee based on class
National $25 N/A

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10 Responses to “Car rental when under 25”

  1. Jay says:

    Hey, I really appreciate this. I figured I’d tell you what I found when I called around in early April 2007 for Midwestern cities:

    Avis – $25
    Thrifty – $20

  2. hanna says:

    Hey, not every enterprise charges $0. Some charge $70-100

  3. Rocky says:

    Hey, thanks for your help, Enterprise is only going to charge us $60 in Vegas for 1 week. All of the others I have checked with were going to charge AT LEAST $150 for a week.

  4. Alice says:

    Thanks so much for this! You’re great!

  5. Cressida says:

    Enterprise is saying that there is a $40 surcharge for 21-24ers in the Philly area. Just a heads up.

  6. Crash says:

    thanks so much for publishing your findings! in the two recent visits to california, enterprise was the best deal (renting from sacramento ~05/07, san diego 08/07). in san diego, enterprise had a $10/day

  7. Crash says:

    (continued) under 25 fee, and sacramento had a higher fee. however, in both cases I was never charged the fee. when paying after the week of rental it wasn’t included on my bill.

  8. Michelle says:

    Enterprise out of Orlando, FL Airport charges $15/day

  9. suan says:

    Thanks for putting all this info in one place!

  10. Amanda says:

    Its 40$ for Enterprise in DC for a 4 day trip. So 10$/day. Best deal I found so far!

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