23 Nov 2023

Navigating vehicle rental for young drivers

Renting a vehicle when you’re under 25 isn’t always easy. To mitigate the risks of renting to relatively inexperienced drivers, many rental companies insist on applying a surcharge and in this article we look at the most common restrictions and offer advice to younger drivers.

Navigating vehicle rental for young drivers

Age Restrictions and Rental Policies

Although this can vary from country to country, in most cases, the minimum age for renting a vehicle in the UK is 23. Under the age of 25 there are further restrictions – many premium models are not available to drivers who fall into this age bracket and most rental companies limit these to  small and compact category vehicles with relatively small engines.

Tips for young drivers when renting a car

If you want to rent a vehicle and you’re under 25, you will be classed as a young driver regardless of your driving experience.  You will also need a driving licence free of any minor offences and in most cases there are no exceptions.

You should also expect to pay a young driver surcharge on your rental, usually applied per day throughout the rental period. As an estimate, the daily young driver surcharge fee in the UK is circa £35 per day and is sometimes capped for a maximum of 10 days, depending on the rental company. It’s always a good idea to compare rental companies as their rental criteria and prices can vary.

Factors to consider when choosing a rental vehicle

First of all, if you’re a young driver, you may want to consider the cost factors involved in leasing a vehicle over a long period of time versus buying one.

This will depend greatly on the vehicle model and the individual requirements and stipulations of your insurance policy.

If you decide to opt for long-term rental, you will have to factor in the cost of the young driver surcharge and whether the rental company in question offers a capped rate for this surcharge or whether it is payable throughout the rental period, which could see costs increase significantly.

Other factors to consider, regardless of the age of the driver, include whether you want a manual or automatic transmission vehicle, the documents you will need to provide, cost (including any relevant surcharges), length of the rental period, pick-up/drop-off locations and insurance coverage. Other points include whether you are planning to cross any international borders and whether you want a one-way or round-trip contract. In terms of your travel needs, you should also think about estimated fuel costs, number of passengers and parking options.

Vehicle categories suitable for young drivers

Most car rental companies will only allow younger drivers to rent small or medium category vehicles such as a Kia Picanto, Vauxhall Corsa or Ford Transit SWB on payment of the young driver surcharge. This is often dependent on engine size and specification. The rental of vehicles any larger or more powerful than these is usually restricted to drivers over the age of 25.

Premium models and large multi-person vehicles (MPVs) are often also subject to further age restrictions, sometimes requiring drivers to be in their late 20s or early 30s, depending on the model. It is always important to check your rental company’s requirements before making a booking or you may be liable for unexpected charges. Check out the long-term rental options available at Leasys to help you make the right decision.