How Old Do You Have to Be to Rent a Car in California

Are you planning a trip to California and wondering about the minimum age requirement to rent a car? Renting a car can provide you with the flexibility and convenience to explore the beautiful state at your own pace. In this article, we will discuss the age requirements and other important considerations when it comes to renting a car in California.


Renting a car in California is a popular choice for both tourists and residents alike. However, there are certain age restrictions in place to ensure safety and minimize potential risks. It’s important to familiarize yourself with these requirements before making your reservation.

Minimum Age Requirement

The minimum age requirement to rent a car in California is typically 21 years old. This means that you need to be at least 21 years old to be considered eligible by most rental companies. However, it’s important to note that some rental companies may have different age requirements, so it’s always best to check with the specific company you plan to rent from.

Age Requirements for Different Rental Companies

While the minimum age requirement is generally 21, some rental companies may have additional age restrictions. For example, certain luxury car rental companies may require drivers to be at least 25 years old. It’s crucial to check the age requirements of the specific rental company you intend to use to ensure you meet their criteria.

Driver’s License

To rent a car in California, you must have a valid driver’s license. Whether you are a resident of the United States or an international visitor, you need to possess a driver’s license that is valid in the country. Make sure your license is up-to-date and in good standing before you plan to rent a car.

Underage Driver Fees

If you are under 25 years old, you may be subject to additional fees as an underage driver. These fees are imposed by rental companies to offset the increased risks associated with younger drivers. It’s important to factor in these potential charges when budgeting for your car rental.

Additional Requirements for Young Drivers

In addition to meeting the minimum age requirement, young drivers may need to fulfill additional requirements. Some rental companies may request a clean driving record or impose restrictions on the types of vehicles available for younger drivers. Make sure to inquire about any specific requirements or limitations that may apply to you.

Insurance Considerations

When renting a car in California, it’s crucial to consider your insurance options. Most rental companies offer insurance coverage, but it’s essential to review the terms and conditions. You may already have coverage through your personal auto insurance policy or credit card, so it’s wise to check before purchasing additional insurance from the rental company.

Restrictions for Drivers Under 25

Drivers under 25 years old often face certain restrictions when renting a car in California. These restrictions may include limitations on the types of vehicles available, higher rental rates, or additional requirements such as a minimum rental period. It’s important to be aware of these restrictions and plan accordingly.

Exceptions for Military Personnel

There are exceptions to the age requirements for military personnel in some cases. Some rental companies may allow drivers under 21 years old to rent a car if they are active-duty military personnel. However, specific documentation and additional fees may be required. It’s advisable to contact the rental company directly for information on their policies for military personnel.

Tips for Renting a Car as a Young Driver

If you are a young driver looking to rent a car in California, here are some helpful tips to keep in mind:

  1. Plan ahead: Research the rental companies and their age requirements in advance to avoid any surprises.
  2. Compare prices: Shop around and compare prices from different rental companies to find the best deal for your age group.
  3. Consider insurance options: Review your existing insurance coverage and explore additional options to make an informed decision.
  4. Book in advance: Secure your reservation early to increase the chances of finding availability and better rates.
  5. Read the fine print: Carefully read the rental agreement and understand the terms and conditions before signing.


Renting a car in California as a young driver is possible but comes with certain age requirements and considerations. By familiarizing yourself with these requirements, understanding potential fees, and planning ahead, you can ensure a smooth rental experience. Enjoy your trip and explore the beautiful state of California at your own pace!


FAQ 1: Can I rent a car in California if I am under 21 years old? Yes, you can rent a car in California if you are at least 21 years old. However, it’s important to note that some rental companies may have additional age restrictions.

FAQ 2: Are there any additional fees for young drivers? Yes, young drivers under 25 years old may be subject to additional fees as underage drivers. These fees vary depending on the rental company.

FAQ 3: Can international drivers rent cars in California? Yes, international drivers can rent cars in California as long as they possess a valid driver’s license that is recognized in the country.

FAQ 4: What types of insurance should I consider when renting a car? When renting a car, you should consider your personal auto insurance policy, credit card coverage, and the insurance options offered by the rental company.

FAQ 5: Are there any exceptions for military personnel? Yes, some rental companies may have exceptions for active-duty military personnel under 21 years old. However, additional documentation and fees may be required.

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