Are you between the ages of 18-25 and wanting to rent a cheap car? If you are having trouble, do not fret, as you are not alone. Many of the large national companies will not rent to young drivers or if they do, they charge a hefty fee. Why is this the case?
First of all young drivers simply lack the experience that their senior counterparts have. Cheap car rental agencies as well as the "Big Agencies" are very cautious because of this. Agencies are also concerned about excessive speed with young drivers. According to CDC.gov, "Motor vehicle crashes are the leading cause of death for U.S. teens."
This is not something to be ignored if you are a rental agency. And a major contributor to speed is alcohol consumption. Approximately 30 percent of accidents among young drivers in the United States are a direct result of alcohol usage, which is why Car Rental Agencies, along with all states and provinces, have zero tolerance for alcohol consumption while operating their cars. Operating a car under the influence of alcohol voids most insurance coverage programs, leaving an intoxicated driver fully liable for all costs, if they cause an accident.
So what to do if you are a young driver looking to rent a car and don't want to spend a fortune? First and foremost, have a clean driving record! And as long as you are a responsible driver, you shouldn't have too many problems. You will be charged a young drivers fee (often hovering around $22/day) and likely higher insurance coverage however there are ways to keep your car rental within your budget.
First of all, try to find car rental coupons and car rental deals. There are zillions of these online, you simply need the patience to find them. The money you save by using coupons and and taking advantage of deals can be better spent on other fun activities you have planned.
Another thing to keep in mind, in particular when you are with a group of friends, is to have the oldest person be the designated driver. If he/she is over 25 then you will avoid having to pay the young driver fee altogether. It is also a good idea to try to rent off airport. On-site airport rentals tend to be significantly more expensive than those located within cities/towns. If you are traveling by air, take the train, bus or subway to the city where you will likely find cheaper options.
Less fancy cars are also less expensive. So if you are on a tight budget, look for an economy or similar type of vehicle. And finally, and perhaps most importantly, drive safe! Follow road safety rules and regulations so as to avoid accidents. Returning a dmaged vehicle to the rental agency is expensive and not to mention emotionally trying. And make sure to only park in designated parking spots so as to avoid tickets and fines.