Travel is finally underway again! And with newfound freedom you’re looking to get out and explore California. If LA is the starting point in your road trip, you’ll likely need to rent a car. But age can keep adventurers like yourself from accessing rental cars, especially if you’re under 25, and even more so if you’re under 21. So you may be asking, “Can I rent a car in LA if I’m under 21?” The short answer is, yes, yes you can. There are even options! But many rental companies come with their additional challenges and, of course, fees. Find out how to make it happen and what you can expect when renting a car in LA.
The rental car age has traditionally been 25 for a while now because younger drivers are considered inexperienced. And inexperienced drivers are more likely to cause accidents and damage to vehicles, putting rental companies and their vehicles at risk. But in LA, the minimum car rental age is actually 20 years old. You’re in luck!
If you’re under 21 and looking to rent a car in LA, you won’t be limited by your options. There are many of well-known car rental companies in LA that rent to drivers under 21. Hertz, Enterprise, Sixt, Alamo, and Budget are just a few to check out.
Here’s the catch. If you’re under 21, you may try to rent a car and notice it’s pretty expensive. That’s because rental companies tack on extra fees for drivers under the age of 25. But why is there a car rental under-25 fee? Younger drivers are considered less experienced by most rental car companies and want to make sure they’re covered when they rent to someone who’s only been driving for a few years.
In order to compensate for possible losses, rental companies often jack up the cost by 10-20% for younger drivers. These extra charges can make renting a car far more inaccessible to people under 25 or 21. To figure out which car rental has the lowest fee for under 25 year-olds, you’ll need to look at the individual websites for each company. They tend to vary.
Rental car companies in California will ask you for additional documentation if you’re under 21 and often if you’re under 25. When you go pick up your car, it’s a good idea to make sure you have:
WARNING: Some companies ONLY take credit cards and will NOT accept a debit card. If you don’t have a credit card, you could easily lose your chance to rent a car.
Keep in mind that each agency may require different information and documentation. So make sure you’re updated on your agency’s policies.
If you’re under 21, the rental agency may inquire about your employment when you make a reservation or pick up your car. They could ask if you have a job and even ask for information on your employer. If you happen to work for a well-known company with a great reputation, you may receive certain discounts on those additional fees.
Some employers even have official corporate accounts with certain rental agencies, which also helps you save a few extra bucks. Be sure to check with your employer to see what kind of benefits you can snag and the fees you can avoid.
Do your research before booking a rental car in LA, particularly if you’re under 21. What’s the company’s policy? Do they rent to drivers under 25? Do they rent to drivers under 21? Which car rental has the lowest fee for under 25 or 21? Make sure you’re well aware of their fees for the car, daily surcharges, and any additional charges you could incur for being under 21. Also, figure out if they accept debit or credit and what other documents you’ll need to bring with you.
Though it’s possible to rent a car in LA if you’re under 21, there are definitely some hoops to jump through. It’s great to know all your options, including how to not pay under-25 fees.
Our best advice? Borrow a car with Avail! There are no fees for under 25 or 21; all drivers over 18 pay the same. All you need is a valid U.S. driver’s license, a clean driving record, and a credit OR debit card to book your reservation.
Borrow a car with Avail and get honest pricing. Your California road trip is waiting for you.
Here’s Avail's guide to how to get the best deal on a long term car rental.
Many credit cards come with different forms of rental coverage. Click here to learn which have the best!