Young driver vehicle hire - everything you need to know
Read our guide about renting a car or van if you’re under 25
Many young motorists are eager to hit the open road and enjoy the freedom and convenience provided by driving a car. However, drivers under the age of 25 face much higher insurance premium costs compared to other age groups, often pricing many out of affording to own their vehicle.
One alternative option is to hire a car which can prove to be a smart choice, and can also help to keep running costs down. In this article, we discuss the rental car options available to young drivers in the UK in our helpful guide to everything you need to know about young driver vehicle hire. Read on to find out more…
Can you hire a car or van if you’re under 25 in the UK?
Yes, it is possible for drivers under the age of 25 to hire cars and vans in the UK, however, additional restrictions and charges typically apply - this is known as a young driver surcharge. Here is what you need to know:
Even though you can pass your driving test at the age of 17, most vehicle rental companies in the UK set a minimum hire age of between 23 to 25 years old for young drivers. Always check with the rental company first.
Young Driver Surcharge
If you’re under the age of 25, most car rental companies will expect you to pay what’s called a young driver surcharge on top of your hire fees. This is because insurance for young drivers is much more costly and statistically, motorists under the age of 25 are at a higher risk of having a collision.
When you’re under 25, your vehicle rental options are typically reduced to a more basic range. For example, here at Rent Direct, young drivers are limited to hiring a small or compact-sized car, or a small car-derived van.
Even at the age of 25, young drivers can only hire a car or van if they have at least one year’s driving experience once they’ve passed their test. Bear in mind that is at the discretion of the vehicle rental company if they require two years of experience instead - which is the case here at Rent Direct.
Just because you’ve held a full driving licence for two years, doesn’t necessarily mean you are automatically approved for vehicle hire. Young drivers under 25 are also required to have a clean driving record with no penalty points and will need to prove this is the case.
What is the youngest age you can drive a rental car or van in the UK?
The typical youngest age a person can hire and drive a rental car or van in the UK is 23 years old. If you’re aged between 18 to 21, it may be possible to find specialist young driver policies, but this is by no means guaranteed.
Unfortunately for young drivers, the increased road risks associated with motorists under 25 means insurers impose age cut-offs on rental companies. This is why it’s mandatory in the UK to pay a young driver surcharge when hiring a car or van aged between 23-25 years old.
Can you hire a car or van in the UK if you’re a new driver?
As exciting as it is to pass your driving test, there are still some restrictions when it comes to hiring a car or van. The minimum age to rent a vehicle in the UK is 23 and there’s driving experience to bear in mind too. Some rental companies will expect you to have at least one year’s experience behind the wheel, but many - like us here at Rent Direct - require you to have at least two years of driving experience (a minimum of 24 months).
Why is car or van rental more expensive if you’re under 25?
While it may seem on the surface to be unfair, there are reasons why renting a car or van under the age of 25 proves to be more expensive. Here we explain why this is:
1. Insurance Risk - Drivers aged under 25 are statistically more likely to be involved in road accidents. Insurance claims data shows this age group has a proportionally higher rate of collisions and write-off incidents. For this reason, insurers charge much higher premiums to enable young driver coverage. These costs get passed on through additional 'under 25' fees - also known as a young driver surcharge.
2. Inexperience - Younger drivers are simply less experienced behind the wheel. Lack of practice in handling vehicles - particularly larger cars or vans or at high speeds - increases the chances of mishaps that rental firms may need to cover and claim for.
3. Driving Concerns - Rental companies have historically imposed age-related charges because of perceptions younger drivers are more inclined to drive vehicles recklessly, causing extra wear and tear through an over-enthusiastic driving style
Can you rent a car or van with less than one year on a driving licence?
Unfortunately, most mainstream car and van rental companies in the UK do not allow drivers to hire vehicles if they have held their driving licence for less than 12 months (one year). Here at Rent Direct, young drivers must have at least 24 months of driving experience.
Young driver vehicle hire at Rent Direct
If you’re a young driver aged 25 or under and would like to hire a car or van, then speak to us at Rent Direct about your options. As long as you have at least two years of driving experience, we can assist with vehicle rental solutions to suit your needs. Get in touch to find out more.
Have you just passed your driving test? Read our blog all about renting a car if you’re a new driver.