Car Rental Issues
Oh, to be young again. When you're young, you can do anything. You can eat whatever you want without gaining an ounce. Or you can stay out all night without feeling the slightest bit tired the next day. You're free to do whatever you want, go wherever you choose... unless, of course, you need to rent a car in order to get around.
Since drivers under the age of 25 statistically get into more accidents than drivers in other age groups, car rental companies have long penalized young rental customers – even those with a squeaky clean driving history. Until just a few years ago, many companies wouldn't even consider renting a vehicle to an under 25 driver! Today, most underage car rental customers are still faced with steep restrictions, including what type of vehicle they can rent, high daily surcharges, and mileage restrictions.
The Cost of Youth
Underage car rental surcharges average around $25 a day, but differ greatly depending on where you're renting your vehicle. Some car rental companies in New York have been known to charge as much as $100 a day on top of the regular rental fee if you fall into the under 25 age bracket. Pricier car rental categories, like SUV or luxury vehicles are usually off limits to underage car rental clients, although some companies may be willing to honor your request – for a price.
What's a Underage Vacationer to Do?
The best way to avoid the underage car rental trap is to plan ahead. Nothing is more frustrating than arriving at the car rental desk only to learn that you're ineligible for a rental. Here are some quick tips to help you save money and secure a reliable rental car when you're underage.
1) Do Your Homework
Always, always, always shop around. Compare car rental agencies and rental restrictions online using the Car Rental Express comparison search tool. Just because one car rental company has a policy not to rent to under 25 travelers, doesn't mean that they all do. Smaller, independent car rental companies are often less strict when it comes to providing under 25 car rental customers with an affordable rental offer.
2) Avoid Airport Franchises
Most airport car rental companies are operated by large chain rental agencies that are bound by corporate rules and regulations. A younger would-be renter is more likely to receive a friendly welcome from an independent car rental company owner. These rental offices are often located just off airport property or directly in town. What's more, many offer pick-up and drop-off services, so you won't have to worry about finding a ride to and from the airport.
3) Get Your Own Insurance
Car rental companies that refuse to rent to underage travelers do so because they don't carry the proper insurance for this rental age group. As such, you may wish to purchase additional coverage from your current auto insurance provider as an extra layer of protection. Sometime, if you can show the rental company that your insurance covers the driver, passengers, and the rental car, they'll be more willing to negotiate a rental agreement.
4) Book Through Your Business
Many corporate or organizational rates include underage fee waivers. If you're traveling for business purposes, always ask your company if you can reserve the rental via their business account. Some large companies even have special contracts with rental agencies that allow employees to rent at reduced rates when traveling for leisure.
5) Review Membership Perks
Don't forget to mention that you're a member of USAA when booking your underage car rental. Members are often entitled to discounts, which oftentimes include underage fee waivers. Most car rental companies also provide deep discounts to military and government personnel.
When it's all said and done, expect to pay more booking as an underage driver. But, with a little foresight and preplanning, you can often cut this added expensive considerably. Planning a winter getaway with friends? Then now's the time to start looking for that underage car rental! Conduct an underage car rental search today using the CRX comparison search tool