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How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent A Car? Only 20 If You Live in the United States

How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent A Car? Only 20 If You Live in the United States
Scott Dylan

Many young adults dreaming of road trips are disappointed to discover that most rental car companies have some pretty tight age restrictions. In fact, car rentals are typically off limits for drivers under the age of 21. The age requirement is as high as 25 in some cases.

However, two rental agencies have just taken steps to lower the age requirement for renting vehicles. Dollar and Thrifty both announced this week that they plan to lower the minimum age from 21 to 20. The changes will apply in the United States and Canada. Both Dollar and Thrifty are owned by Hertz.

Dollar and Thrifty seem to have their eyes on courting a new generation of travelers. Lowering the age requirement is a plan that certainly has every reason to be successful. Lowering the age requirement will help both companies to stand out among competitors. It will also increase the likelihood that many young travelers will rent their first cars from one of these two companies. That’s a big deal when you ponder just how important brand loyalty is these days. Dollar and Thrifty may just turn first-time renters into lifelong customers with this new move.

Both Thrifty and Dollar are good fits for young travelers looking to spend as little as possible when planning trips. The lower age requirement will help to give college-age young adults more options when it comes to finding ways to drive to campus at the start of each semester and discovering affordable ways to take road trips over spring break. Customers in New York, Michigan and Quebec only need to be 18 years old to rent cars as of right now. The new age rules being implemented by Dollar and Thrifty will not apply in those regions.

Dollar has a reputation for being a dependable and trusted brand that also offers very affordable rates. While it is already a popular option among families, Dollar may soon become the go-to brand for millenial renters. Thrifty is known in the industry for being the agency that offers no-frills, bare-bones rentals for low rates. That could be a good fit for millenial travelers who aren’t yet hooked on luxury travel experiences. One only has to look to the popularity of budget airlines to see the potential that a budget car rental agency has when it comes to attracting travel-hungry millennials who are willing to forgo frills in exchange for cheap rates. Time will tell if other rental agencies decide to follow in the footsteps of Thrifty and Dollar.

View Comments (3)


  1. JAGorham

    September 10, 2018 at 1:39 pm

    They might drop the age to 20, but are the rates going to be same as the 25-year-olds?

  2. Auto Enthusiast

    September 10, 2018 at 6:49 pm

    For the price of a rental picked up in an expensive urban downtown plus taxable underage fee, you might as well Uber everywhere. Not to mention millenials’ impatience and spontaneity that make the time consuming processes of picking up, planning where to refuel, refueling, calculating how much time to get back in time to return, and returning, a rental car totally unappealing. Compared to just pushing a button and having a car and driver come to you. Sorry, but Uber is really the competition for this age group now, not Enterprise.

  3. ginoa724

    September 10, 2018 at 7:13 pm

    You can technically rent with Hertz at 18 w/o an underage surcharge if you know the right CDP (or rent in Michigan or NYS). I rented with them multiple times before turning 21

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