What’s the Appropriate Age to Rent a Car in California? Learning The Facts


Before you learn the facts about the appropriate age to rent a car in California, you should know that different states have different age requirements when it comes to renting a car. Whereas most states have similar and somewhat uniformed age requirements for renting a car, there are still some scrutiny that you have to go through to prove your self-worthiness and credibility.

Even when you seem to pass the age requirements, the rental service has the right to turn you down for other reasons, especially if they don’t really believe you handling their assets.

Appropriate Age to Rent a Car in California

So, what is the appropriate age to rent a car in California? You need to be at least 21 years old if you want to rent a car. Do you have to be 25 to rent a car? Some people do believe that you must be 25 years, minimum, before they can entrust you with their cars.

Well, this kind of age requirement does have its own history. Back then, so many years before, many of the Californian rental services wouldn’t rent their cars to those below 25 because they believed in the risks statistics.

Do you have to be 25 to rent a car

At that time, the calculated risks involving young drivers were high, and it included DUI charges and accidents. It’s a good thing that things have changed lately where young drivers are more aware of the risks, resulting in them driving more carefully and responsibly.

Still, it doesn’t mean that the car rental services in California are dropping their guards down. Even if you are above 21, but still under 25, it’s quite common when the rental companies are still ‘suspicious’ of your driving worthiness, especially the big ones. But if you can show them your driving record (and how clean it is), big chances that they won’t have any issue allowing you to rent their cars. You just have to show them that you are trusted and you won’t do anything harmful to their cars.

Don’t be surprised if they may charge you with extra fees either. These rental services tend to charge more (typically in daily basis) for young drivers with ‘shady’ driving record. Expect to pay around $25 per day for renting various cars, but if you have to spend extra, you may spend more than $40 a day for the car rent. If you want to have an extra driver with the car, you may have to spend another $15 to $25 per day.

Where to Rent?

Besides the consideration about the age to rent a car in California, you also need to know where to turn to for credible service. Basically, all kinds of (car) rental services will do. You should have no issue finding popular names like National, Budget, Enterprise, Avis, Advantage, Thrifty, or Dollar.

Appropriate Age to Rent a Car in California

In general, they may allow you to rent their ‘general category of a car’. However, if you are thinking about renting a rather high-end or luxury category (like vans, SUVs, or sports ride), you may not be allowed to do so. Or they may apply further requirements or even charge you far extra to ride those types of vehicles. These luxury category rides are typically allowed for experienced drivers within the allowed age limit, not for young drivers.

It’s always possible to find other rental services (not included the mentioned names before) that will allow you to rent those luxury vehicles, but you will have to do your own search. You may need to have a hard-bargain negotiation to pull it off.

The Job Question

Don’t be too surprised if the rental service wants to know whether you have a job or not. Aside of showing them that you are within the appropriate age to rent a car in California, having a job will also make the process easier. It’s quite common for the rental services to ask you whether you have a job (or not), especially if you are under 25. This can be beneficial for you if you are being honest.

If it turns out that you are working in a reputable company, you can save quite a lot. Some companies do have their own corporate accounts within some rental services. If your company does have an account with the rental service, you won’t have to bother with the added extra fees.

Aside from trust concern, having a job means that you are somewhat credible. You see, many jobs need (clear) records that may include background checks for drivers. When the rental service asks for your employment info, they would confirm this. If you have a clean and undisputed bill with your employer, the rental service won’t have doubts about your credibility. You can rent the car with a reasonable price.

Policy Questions

If you are able to present yourself as a responsible and trusted individual, big chances that you shouldn’t have any issue getting a rent. Before renting a vehicle, you can always ask these rental services about written documents regarding their policies. It can be beneficial in many ways. First of all, you basically show them that you are smart and you try to respect them. Second, you can learn about their rules.

Just because you are within the appropriate age to rent a car in California, it doesn’t always mean that you are guarantee to get a rent. Some rental companies have their own policies and considerations. You may have to negotiate or deal with the extra charge.

Age Restrictions in Different States

Whereas the appropriate age to rent a car in California is above 21, some other states may require lower. In Hawaii and Michigan, for instance, the appropriate age to rent a car would be at least 18 years old. Some people say that commonly car rental services will only allow renters who are 25 years old, but again, it depends on the situation.


In the end, you need to be aware of the situation. When you want to rent, you are dealing with a business. It’s common if they want to protect their assets and refuse service to those seem unreliable. Now that you know the facts about the appropriate age to rent a car in California, you should also pay attention to their policies and regulations – and you should be fine.