Can You Rent a Car in the USA if You Are Under 21?


The USA is a specific country, and the law system can be pretty different compared to the other countries around the globe. They have federal laws, that define the outline of the legal system, but every state can have state laws, that can be slightly different than federal ones. It sounds complicated for non-USA citizens, but Americans are already used to it.

That’s the case with car rental options. So, in the US it’s perfectly normal to vote or get married at 18, but you’re not old enough to rent a car. In most states, you have to be at least 21 years old to rent a car. However, in some, you can do it at 19 and 20, and in only two – Michigan and New York – you can do it at 18, with a valid driver’s license.

Most of the rental companies can also charge a commission for drivers under 25 years old. However, to be sure of exactly what is required of you, we recommend that you look at state laws and be guided by them. That way you will avoid legal problems and you will not get into unpleasant situations.


Car rental user guide for beginners

Car rental companies usually have websites through which you can book a rental. Drivers of any age can use these services. But you must choose carefully in order to be properly granted a license to drive a rental car. You can easily see this at

However, if you are under the age of 21 and live in the United States, you should be aware that laws vary between states and different car rental companies. However, sometimes the need arises to use such a service when you are younger than that. In general, in almost all states of the US, it is forbidden to rent cars to young people aged 18 and 19 years.

As we noted, New York and Michigan are exceptions to this rule. You can rent a car there even if you are only 18 years old.

Of course, there are other exceptions. For example, if you work in the government or military, you can rent a car from 18 years of age in any state. There are other professions that regulate these age restrictions so that they can provide a professional service and a smooth flow of the work process.

Of course, different rules apply outside the USA. For example, in most of Asia and Latin America, there is no option to rent a car at all if you are under 21 years old.

In most of Europe, you can absolutely rent a car if you are over 18 and have a valid driver’s license. In some European countries there are restrictions, that is, young drivers must have an experienced co-driver, or else they must not drive cars during the night. To be sure of the rules, you must research them exactly. This can be useful if you are traveling on holiday in another country.

It is interesting that in America you can get a driver’s license at the age of 16, but exercise your rights only after you turn 18 or 21. In Europe, coming of age is full acceptance of the obligations that the adult population has. So, a European who has reached the age of 18 can apply for a driver’s license and then rent a car, following the laws of the European Union or the country where they live or travel.


Useful tips for car rental in the USA

We are sure that you want to know a little more about your obligations when renting a car in the USA, no matter your age. Don’t worry, that’s why we are here. So, let’s say that you are aware of all the laws and rules in the particular state. Here are the most useful tips we have for you about this:

1. You need a valid driver’s license

Don’t try to rent a car if your license is expired, or suspended. Use only your original document to prove you are eligible to rent a car.


2. Don’t fall for insurance expenses

Car rental companies in the USA are obligated to include the insurance policy in the price. So, if they ask for additional money, just make sure it’s calculated in the price. Don’t go for companies that don’t provide insurance for their vehicle.

3. It’s more expensive to rent a car for young adults

People under 25 can absolutely rent a car, but the prices may vary. Keep this in mind if you travel with more drivers. Don’t add those under 25 as additional drivers, to avoid unnecessary fees.


4. More drivers means more money

When traveling with friends or family, make sure not to add all of them as drivers, even though they have valid driving licenses. The car rental companies will charge additional fees for every adult driver. We suggest sticking to two drivers. Don’t forget to check the company policy on this.

5. Don’t rent a car at the airport

When you arrive at the airport, you probably feel an urge to rent a car immediately. But, you have to know these companies are more expensive. It would be much cheaper if you take a taxi or a bus to the city, and find a reliable car rental company there.



Car rental is a seriously big business that brings huge profits to companies. That’s why you need to know how to be practical and economical and choose a quality service for an appropriate price.

As we have already stated, you can save if you are not a young driver, but also if you do not register all passengers as active drivers.

But the best advice we can give you is to use only professional and proven car rental companies, regardless of how old you are. And of course, pay attention to the laws in your state. There is a huge difference between having a driver’s license and being allowed to rent a car. Make sure you understand these things well so you don’t get yourself into legal trouble.