How Old to Rent a Car in California

Driving is freedom when exploring a new place like California. Rental car services are a true friend at the rescue for tourists looking forward to driving in the state. If you are a young solo traveler, an impossible-to-ignore question about how old to rent a car in California must be constantly knocking on your mind.  

21 years is the minimum age to rent a car in California. This is independently set by the majority of the rental companies, irrespective of the legal age set for driving which is 18 years old. Lack of experience for these young drivers causes the companies to set a limit. While, by charging extra young drivers fees, the companies allow people of legal age to rent a car.  Look out for the possible conditions through which you might be able to drive the streets of California.

Minimum Age For Car Rents And Young Drivers Fee In California 

Minimum Age for Car Rents and Young Drivers Fee in California

The minimum age for car rental services can vary from 18 to 21 years old. The legal age to drive and rent differs because it depends on the rental company policies. 

Young drivers are more prone to accidents and car damage as they have newly learned the skills. Companies fear the loss of such risks and the liability of heavy insurance payments. That is why, the minimum age to rent a car in California is 21 years. However, there are companies that have successfully formulated plans through which they are able to offer car rental services to a younger audience.

Age Group for Young Drivers Fee for Rental Car 

Rental Car services in California charge young drivers fees which is a kind of security amount to incur the loss of possible risks and insurance payments. This is an additional fee ranging from 

19 -29 dollars, apart from the original price. 

The young drivers are applicable to drivers who are above 18 years old or less than 25. Despite the minimum age criteria being to 21 years, the companies in order to reduce the risk charges the fee from a much larger age group. 

It is to reiterate that the age policy is not universal for all rental car services in California. However, this is the average. The young travelers might accompany an adult to hand over the driving part to them and enjoy the exploration alongside. Otherwise, the charges shall apply to the specific age group. Here is a comprehensive guide for first-time travelers on the car renting process in California. 

How to Rent a Car in California?

How to Rent a Car in California

Car rental services ask to sign an agreement to ensure the car’s safety from theft and damage. Read the list of dos and Don’ts termed by the company before signing it. At times, things can be a scam to loot the money out of foreigners’ pockets.  Hence, it is essential to confirm the authentic companies in the market and follow a foolproof plan to rent a car service in California. 

Research and Compare

Set a mission to find reliable car rental services that are suitable for your needs and location preference. Firstly create a list of filters like a place, age criteria, prices, and others to search for the closest ideal rental company for your smooth travel in California. Shortlist a few companies and visit each website and finalize the most preferred according to its terms and conditions.

Gather all the Essential Documents

Gather all the Essential Documents

The rental company requires certain documents in order to confirm your identity and offer your car for rent. Note down the entire list of paperwork and identity cards required and pack them all together for submission on the travel date. These are the standard documents companies ask for: 

  • Identity Card: A legal, state-issued card justifying your age, name, and other details is required to verify your identity and age group. The young driver charges shall be payable by people in the age group of 25 years. 
  • Valid Driving License: Only those who have a driving license issued by the nation of residency are allowed to rent and drive a car. An International Driving Permit (IDP) may be required in addition to a driving license for visitors from abroad.
  • Mode of Payment: Companies generally accept credit cards. Online advance payments are also mandatory in certain circumstances. Review the prerequisites of the rental car company and arrange the same mode of payment. 

Car Pick up and Return: Finally, it is the day to pick up the car from the rental store for the specific duration you booked for. Finish all the offline formalities and drive with the car. Do list down the local traffic rules and adhere to them when enjoying the vacation. 

Car Pick up and Return

Make sure to drive responsibly and return the car in the exact safe condition as it was received. 


California is a popular tourist that is adored for its natural beauty and culture. It witnesses huge crowds of travelers yearly. These tourists are expected to optimize their experience in the state by visiting each and every popular to locally celebrated place. For this, rental vehicles are a trend. Refer to a detailed copy of the content to learn about how old to rent a car in California. 

Guide to Renting a Car in California – All Tips

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

How old to rent a car in California?

California private rental companies charge 19 dollars to 29 dollars additional fees for customers booking the service and are in the age group of 18-25. 

What is the legal age to drive in California?

The legal age to drive in California is 18 years and above.

Can someone under 25 rent a car in California?

Yes, visitors can easily book a rental car service if he/she is 25 years or above years old.
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