Car rental companies often consist of different requirements that must be met in order to rent a car. One of the most common things people are aware of is being old enough. However, most people are unaware of how soon you can rent a car after receiving a driver's license.
It's possible to rent a car as soon as one get's a driver's license, as long as the person is the appropriate age and meets the company requirements. Some companies require the driver to have held a clean driving record for at least a year before renting, so one might have to wait to be eligible.
Aside from a valid driver's license, there's more you will need to know about being accepted as a car rental driver.
Drivers Must Wait However Long Needed Until They're Eligible
Say you just took your road test and want to rent a car. Technically, as long as you have a valid, up-to-date license, you should be able to rent any car. It's safe to say that most companies will let you rent as soon as you would like, and you won't have too many issues. As long as you meet other requirements, then you're good.
An instance where you might need to wait a while after getting your license is, first of all, if you are too young to rent a car. Another reason could be that the company needs to see that the driver has held a clean driving record for at least a year. In this case, you wouldn't be able to rent from this company for at least a year without messing up your record.
Car rental companies mostly care about having safe drivers rent their cars and want to avoid any accidents or damages. They also prioritize checking to ensure people don't have suspended or revoked licenses or a history of vehicle-related crime.
Renting from smaller companies will give you a better chance of being able to rent as soon as you get your license. They might not be as strict when it comes to needing a year or two of clean driving records.
Can I rent a car with a learner's permit?
You cannot rent a car with a learner's permit, you must hold a full driver's license. Not only is this for safety reasons, but you have to sign an agreement that only you will be driving the car. If you want multiple people to be able to drive the car, you must let the company know. Then, they will add their driver's license to the file and sometimes have to pay a second driver fee. The second driver must also have a full license; a learner's permit won't do.
What Are Other Requirements Needed To Rent A Car?
It's always a good idea to be aware of the different rules and regulations that are set by rental companies. Depending on the company, you could or could not be eligible to rent a car or have to pay a lot more. Some requirements also change within companies, and some rules or regulations can differ based on the location and state.
Here are some of the most common requirements:
#1 – Age
In most areas in the US, you must be at least 20 years old to rent a vehicle. Again, it depends on the company, but the minimum age can usually be 18, 20, 21, or 25. Even though drivers under the age of 25 can rent cars, a young renter fee is usually charged if their age is lower than 25. The fee typically looks like a price of $19 to $35 per day.
There will also be terms and conditions for underage / young drivers, which should be viewed beforehand. Some companies may also have a maximum renting age.
#2 – Valid Drivers License & ID
When picking up the car, you usually have to show your physical, valid license that's issued in the US or Canada. You must also have your passport if you are from Canada or a different country.
If you rent with a debit card, you may need to show the third form of ID in addition to your license and debit card. This could be a round-trip airline ticket, a valid US passport, US military identification card, current vehicle insurance card, or a current copy of your cell phone bill.
#3 – Credit or Debit Card for Deposit
Most rental companies will require a deposit before you can rent the car. This is basically an amount of money that they hold on to until you return the vehicle. The company will use this deposit to pay for any unexpected charges like car damages or parking tickets. Typically, the deposit can be at least $200 on top of what you're already paying for the rental.
Some places don't accept a debit card for deposits, so it's important to keep that in mind and be prepared for whatever company you rent from.
#4 – Clean Driving Record
The company will check your driving history to ensure you are a safe driver. They are allowed to deny you from renting their cars if they find anything like…
- Invalid, suspended, expired, or revoked license.
- At least one conviction for reckless driving within a certain recent timespan
- At least one DUI, DWI, or DWAI within a certain recent timespan
- Failure to report an accident or leaving the scene of an accident within a certain recent timespan
- Possession of a stolen vehicle or use of a vehicle in a crime
- At least two accidents within a certain recent timespan
- Other activities that indicate a poor driving record
Those are examples of what some companies look for on driving records and determine whether or not you are eligible. Things can vary, and some companies might be more or less strict. They also can include different time periods. For example, one company might look for a conviction of reckless driving that has occurred within the past two years or a year.