Under-25 Car Rental
March 24, 2005 12:58 PM   Subscribe

I'm going to Phoenix for a couple of days in June and will need to rent a car. My only problem is I'm 22 and most rental car companies have strict policies about renting to those under 25. Those that will rent to those under 25 (Thrifty and Dollar), charge excessive surcharges ($20 a day when the rental is $25 a day). Is there any way of getting around this?
posted by mhaw to Travel & Transportation (18 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
not really. i'm 24 now and have encountered this kind of thing frequently. there are shady ways, like trying to rent a car through one of your parents' names and just driving it, or calling around to smaller rental organizations in phoenix itself. but yeah, this generally just sucks. rent a bike, i guess.
posted by yonation at 1:25 PM on March 24, 2005

If you wanted to rent a car in a parent's name and drive it that person would have to pick up the car for you and show I.D., and you'd be screwed from an insurance point of view if you got in an accident.

One of my friends used to rent a car occasionally to visit an out-of-state girlfriend, and he swore up and down that Enterprise (I think) never charged him extra, or only charged him a very minimal amount for being under 25. It was hard for any of us to believe, but maybe worth a phone call?
posted by handful of rain at 1:29 PM on March 24, 2005

Enterprise rented to me when I was under 25, and they didn't charge a surcharge.

It was not an airport location, however. They did tell me the policies differ at their airport locations and the other locations.
posted by Kellydamnit at 1:31 PM on March 24, 2005

A third vote for Enterprise. They always rented to me when I was under 25 (even at some airport locations), with no extra charge. Nearly 10 years later, I'm still loyal to them because of this.
posted by nixxon at 1:36 PM on March 24, 2005

Some companies will waive the rule if you're renting on business. I have student assistants who are able to rent when they show a pay stub.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:37 PM on March 24, 2005

Enterprise, yep. Just like nixxon, I opt for them now because I could rent from them back then.
posted by gleuschk at 1:37 PM on March 24, 2005

I traveled a lot on business before I was 25 and chose Enterprise specifically because they didn't charge extra. Their official policy doesn't guarantee you pay no more, but I was never charged extra.
posted by pmbuko at 2:01 PM on March 24, 2005

This absurdly massive URL says their webpage can tell you if they charge an under-25 fee at the location you're looking at when you book online.
posted by Kellydamnit at 2:08 PM on March 24, 2005

When my under-25 sister was moving, the truck-it-yourself rental company she contacted (U-Haul, I think) said that so long as you were over 18 and had a valid driver's license, you could rent their equipment without fanfare.

Not that anyone necessarily wants to be toodling around Arizona in a big ol' moving truck - especially with the sorts of per-mile charges they seem to quote. Regardless, if Enterprise fails you for whatever reason, it is a potential (if kludgy) workaround.
posted by youhas at 2:41 PM on March 24, 2005

To expand on youhas' comment: U-Haul also rents pick-up trucks by the day. Just in case you've never been to Phoenix: it's big, so mileage may add up. Also, make sure whatever vehicle you're driving has air conditioning.
posted by deborah at 2:49 PM on March 24, 2005

I rented when I was under 25 without the charge by showing I was working for the university I attended. Even though it wasn't for business. I just had to show my work ID or pay stubb. I forget what company it was, though.... but look into that.
posted by dpx.mfx at 2:51 PM on March 24, 2005

As others have said before, I was 23 and rented from Enterprise - it was an airport location.

I know if you travel on business you can get around the under-25 policy, provided your employer has negotiated a contract with the car rental company to that end. Being under 25 and renting from Hertz under that agreement was usually like pulling teeth, but they did end up giving me a car each time.

I also rented a moving truck from Budget when I was 23 - those policies are 18-and-up, I think.
posted by milkrate at 3:49 PM on March 24, 2005

I just went to the UHaul site, which quoted a price of $20 per day and 60 cents per mile for a pickup truck. So the breakeven point (versus $45 per day with the surcharge, at a car rental place that charges that surcharge) is about 40 miles per day. And you're not going to save that much money if you drive (say) only 30 miles per day.

On the other hand, you probably wouldn't have a problem finding your vehicle in a large parking lot.
posted by WestCoaster at 6:32 PM on March 24, 2005

I rented from Enterprise as well when I was under 25.

Another thing to try is to check with a travel agent. Sometimes they can finagle a car rental deal for you. And it's not that much more money in the long run.
posted by schnee at 8:15 AM on March 25, 2005

Enterprise is a good idea. Also, try calling the local rental office directly and trying to negotiate. This has worked for me on a few occasions. Although nowadays, when I call the direct line to Thrifty LAX, I get bounced to the National number and they're no help at all. I posted some stuff about my hunt for cheap under-25 rates on my site awhile ago.
posted by idontlikewords at 10:24 AM on March 25, 2005

posted by fourstar at 1:33 PM on March 25, 2005

does your regular car insurance have a rental car policy? if you are already covered by your own insurance, would you have to get extra coverage from the rental company?
posted by luneray at 4:33 PM on March 25, 2005

Another vote for enterprise. I rented from them just last week (I am 24) - and while there was an underage surcharge (at least in LAX), it was $10 per day, while every other rental place wanted $25/day. Additionally, the agent at the airport saw that I was paying the surcharge, and offered me a free upgrade to any car in the lot. So I ended up paying for a subcompact, and driving a luxury sedan. Highly recommended.
posted by blindcarboncopy at 10:55 AM on March 30, 2005

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