Hire Car Age Limits & Costs in Australia

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Hiring a car can make you feel like an adult, but how much of an adult do you really have to be to hire a car without paying any extra fees? When it comes to hopping behind the wheel of a rental car, there are plenty of terms and conditions that you have to agree to – including age restrictions! So, how old do you have to be to be able to drive off into the sunset without paying extra?

With so many hire car companies now operating here in Australia, Canstar Blue has looked into which have surcharges and other limitations for young drivers. Read on to find out just how much extra you might have to pay for your time on the road.

How old do you have to be to hire a car?

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It’s a common misconception that drivers have to be at least 25 years of age to hire a car. The truth is, many hire car companies will accept those aged 21 – with some even hiring to those aged 18 –  provided they have a current licence. However, all drivers aged under 25 will be charged an additional fee as a result, with those on provisional licences (P Plates) to pay an additional fee.

Is there a maximum age for hiring a car?

Very few hire car providers have a maximum age limit for those looking to hire a vehicle, although some may ask older drivers to provide a medical certificate before being handed the car keys. It’s best to look at the provider’s terms and conditions to see if there is a maximum age limit, although most providers focus on younger drivers.

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Hire Car Providers with Young Driver Surcharges

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Here is a list of hire car companies in Australia that charge young drivers under 25 a surcharge. Hit their respective links to learn about their age limits, policies and costs.

The only provider that does not charge a young driver surcharge is Apex Car Rentals, while Advance Car and Truck Rentals, Auz Rental Cars and Got2Go don’t mention additional surcharges on their websites, although it’s best to contact them directly before you book to avoid any surprises.

Hire Car Age Limits & Surcharges Explained

Europcar Age Limits

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Europcar does not allow drivers under the age of 21 to hire a car, with those under 25 needing to pay a young driver surcharge. The surcharge will be dependent on each individual location, with what type of vehicle you’re planning on hiring also impacting the final surcharge cost.

Thrifty Age Limits

Thrifty has a number of restrictions for young drivers, including a surcharge and other limitations. All drivers must be at least 21 years old at the time of hiring, with only Thrifty’s standard range of vehicles available for those aged between 21 and 24. Additionally, Thrifty’s Ultimate Protection insurance is not available for this age bracket, with a $27.50 daily surcharge also added to your bill for every driver aged under 25.

Budget Age Limits

The majority of Budget providers will require drivers to be at least 25 years old to hire a car, although some brands and locations allow those aged between 21-24 to hire a car, for a daily surcharge. Those aged under 25 can drive vehicles from Group A, Group B, Group C, Group D and Group S from Budget’s range, with the young driver surcharge costing $22.72 per day, per driver.

Budget also outlines that some policies and insurances may not apply to those aged over 70, so it may be best to talk to your local provider before signing on the dotted line.

Hertz Age Limits

Hertz requires drivers to be aged at least 21 when hiring a vehicle, with those aged under 25 unable to hire from the Prestige, Adrenaline and Dream car collections. Additionally, every driver under 25 will be charged an age surcharge, which is capped at seven days for every 30-day period. The surcharge ranges from $16.50 to $27.50, depending on which vehicle you decide to hire.

While there is no maximum age limit to hire a car from Hertz, producing a medical certificate at the time of hiring is recommended for those aged over 75.

Avis Age Limits

Avis will rent a vehicle to those aged between 21 and 25, although this will depend on each individual location and provider, meaning it’s best to contact the operator ahead of time. Similarly, a young driver surcharge will also depend on location and the age of the primary driver, with some limitations on what vehicles you can hire.

Redspot Age Limits

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Redspot offers hire car rentals for those aged between 21 and 24, although there are some limitations as to which vehicles you can hire, along with a daily surcharge. Younger drivers can only hire from the CMR, ECAR, CDAR and IDAR ranges, with a daily surcharge of $15 per driver added to the bill. Younger drivers can also only reduce their damage cover to a minimum of $330.

Redspot also offers hire cars to those on provisional licenses, although there are again limitations and excess fees. Provisional drivers are limited to the same vehicles as other younger drivers, but incur an additional $20 daily fee.

Enterprise Age Limits

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Enterprise has a minimum age limit of 21, with those aged between 21 and 24 subject to surcharges and vehicle limitations. The young driver surcharge will cost $15 per day per driver, with drivers only able to choose from the Mini, Economy, Compact, Compact SUV, Compact Commercial Van, Intermediate, Intermediate Pickup and Standard ranges. Young drivers are also only able to reduce their damage liability to $330, with provisional license holders also able to hire from Enterprise for an additional $20 daily surcharge.

Those wishing to hire from the Luxury, Premium SUV, Special SUV, Premium Special and Luxury SUV ranges must be at least 30 years old.

East Coast Car Rentals Age Limits

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East Coast Car Rentals allow those aged between 21 and 80 to hire a vehicle, with those aged between 21 and 24 subject to a few restrictions. A daily surcharge of $9.90 will be added to the final bill for young drivers and provisional driver license holders, with provisional licenses required to be held for at least 12 months prior to hiring.

Firefly Age Limits

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Drivers must be aged at least 20 to hire a vehicle from Firefly, with young drivers aged between 20 and 24 subject to a $16.50 surcharge per driver, which is capped at seven days per 30-day rental period. All drivers must have held a valid license for at least one year before hiring.

Ace Rental Cars Age Limits

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Ace Rental Cars allows those aged over 18 with a full license to hire a car, although those aged under 21 will be subject to a young driver surcharge, which is priced at $9 per day. Those on a provisional license are not permitted to hire a vehicle from Ace Rental Cars.

Alamo Age Limits

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To rent a vehicle from Alamo, drivers must be 21 years of age and have held their license (including provisional licenses) for over 12 months. Those aged between 21 and 25 are also subject to a young driver surcharge, which will set you back $23.50 (plus GST) per day, with those on a provisional license to pay $28 (plus GST) per day. Young drivers are also limited on what vehicles they can rent, although this will depend on each individual provider.

Sunny Cars Age Limits

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Sunny Cars says drivers must be aged at least 21 to hire a vehicle, although this will vary depending on location and provider. Drivers must have held a valid license for a minimum of one year, in addition to a valid passport if travelling from overseas. Young drivers will also be charged an additional fee, although this will be dependent on each provider.

Sixt Age Limits

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Sixt states that those aged between 21 and 80 are able to hire a car, although those aged between 21 and 25 are limited to the C, E, F, I and S vehicle categories. There is also a young driver surcharge that needs to be paid, although this will be dependent on each provider.

National Age Limits

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National states that drivers must be at least 21 years old to hire a car, with drivers to have held their license for a minimum of one year before hiring. There is also a daily surcharge of $23.50 for drivers aged under 25 and they are only able to drive from the Mini MCMR, Economy ECMR, ECAR, Compact CDAR, Compact SUV CFAR, Compact Commercial Van CKAR, Intermediate IDAR, Intermediate pickup IPAR and Standard SDAR ranges. National also states that those aged under 25 can only reduce their damage liability to $330, and that those on a provisional license will incur an additional $28 daily fee.

Jucy Age Limits

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Jucy will rent vehicles to those aged over 18, provided that they hold either a P2 Provisional license, a full driver’s license that is printed in English, an International Driver Permit, or Certified Translation of their driver’s license from their home country. Drivers aged between 18 and 20 will be charged a young driver surcharge, with a quote determined and given by each provider or location.

Bayswater Car Rental (No Birds) Age Limits

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Bayswater Car Rental allows drivers aged over 18 to hire a vehicle, as long as they have a minimum of a P1 driver’s license. Those aged between 18 to 20 will incur a $20 per day surcharge, although there are no limitations on what vehicles they can hire, or the insurance excess.

Alpha Age Limits

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Alpha will rent vehicles to those aged over 21 with a full driver’s license, with those aged between 21 and 25 subject to a young driver surcharge, which is billed as a $28 daily charge. Drivers under 25 will also have their standard excess set at $1,100.

Koala Car Rentals Age Limits

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Koala Car Rentals requires all drivers to be over 21 years old, and hold a current driver’s license. Those aged between 21 and 24 will be subject to a young driver surcharge of $15 per day, with no limitations on what vehicles they can hire, and no limitations on the excess.

Access Rent a Car Age Limits

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All drivers must be aged at least 21 years old to hire a car from Access, with those aged between 21 and 24 not permitted to hire from the SUV, People Mover or Van ranges, with young drivers also not offered the Reduced Insurance Option. Access Rent a Car’s young driver surcharge will cost $16.50 per day.

Sunset Rent a Car Age Limits

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Sunset Rent a Car does not offer rentals to those aged between 18 and 20, with those under 25 charged a young driver surcharge, costing $20 per day, with no option to reduce excess.

City Centre Car Rentals Age Limits

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City Centre Car Rentals requires those hiring to be at least 21 years of age, with drivers to have held their license (either P2 or full) for at least one full year. Those aged between 21 and 25 will be subject to a young driver surcharge, which will cost $10 per day, with no limitation on what vehicles they can hire, with excess also not affected.

Burswood Car Rentals Age Limits

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Burswood Car Rentals allows those aged between 19 and 75 to hire a vehicle, with a P2 license being the minimum requirement. Burswood Car Rentals will charge a $5 daily surcharge for drivers aged under 25, with no limitations on what vehicle they can hire.

Hire Car Providers with No Young Driver Surcharges

While there are plenty of providers that do charge young drivers, which providers don’t add extra fees to the bill? We only found one provider who didn’t add extra fees for young drivers: Apex Car Rentals.

Apex Car Rentals Age Limits

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Drivers must be at least 21 years old to hire from Apex, and must have held a full license for at least 12 consecutive months prior to hiring, although Apex does not charge a young driver fee. Apex additionally does not have any limitations on vehicle types for young drivers, with young drivers also not charged a different excess to those aged over 25.

Hire Car Providers that are unclear about Young Driver Surcharges

While some providers state quite clearly whether you’ll have to pay extra as a young driver, some providers aren’t as clear. Advance Car and Truck Rentals, Auz Rental Cars and Got2Go all have no mention of a young driver surcharge in their terms and conditions or website – although that doesn’t mean they still won’t potentially charge you! As a result, it’s best to check with your local provider to avoid any nasty surprises behind the wheel.

Advance Car and Truck Rental Age Limits

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To hire from Advance Car and Truck Rental, drivers must have had a license for over two years, with no cancellations or suspensions in the past three years. Those aged between 21 and 24 will pay more for reduced liability and will not be able to hire a six-cylinder model. There is no mention of a young driver surcharge on the Advance Car and Truck Rental website, although it’s best to clarify before booking.

Auz Rental Cars Age Limits

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Auz Rental Cars requires those looking to hire to be at least 21 and have held a full driver’s license for the past 12 months, and must not have had their license cancelled or suspended in the last three years. There is no mention of a young driver surcharge in the terms and conditions, although it’s best to check when you book to avoid any additional costs.

Got2Go Age Limits

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Drivers over 21 can hire from Got2Go, although those under 25 will incur a young driver surcharge. However, there’s no mention of how much the surcharge will cost you. As a result, it’s best to contact your local provider before you book to find out how much your car hire will cost you.

Australian Driving Age & Requirements

All drivers in Australia must have a current C Class license to operate a motor vehicle, which includes vehicles up to 4.5 tonnes GVM (Gross Vehicle Mass). However, each state and territory have their own legislation as to when drivers can begin learning to drive, with other areas such as fines and speed limits also varying from state to state, meaning if you’re looking to travel interstate, it may be best to check the finer details before setting out across state lines.

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Australian Hire Car Requirements

In addition to age, there are a number of rules that you’ll have to abide by if you want to get the keys to a rental car. These include the proper driver’s license or an English-translation of your passport, along with abiding to other rules which are generally outlined in each provider’s terms and conditions. This may include listing all additional drivers, abiding by Australian road rules, keeping to sealed roads and returning your rental car with a full tank of petrol. Most providers will outline their terms and conditions online, although some requirements will differ from location to location, so it’s always best to ask the provider to clarify any questions you may have before you sign any documents.

Should I hire a car if I’m under 25?

Hiring a car is an easy way to see the country if you can’t take your own wheels with you, with plenty of providers available to help you get you on your way. However, with plenty of options comes plenty of decisions to make, with all providers seemingly blending in together, making car hire a difficult market to navigate.

There aren’t many providers out there who don’t add a surcharge for drivers under 25, but even then, you may still be paying extra through other areas such as insurance, meaning it’s always best to read the fine print beforehand. After all, nothing spoils a holiday than a bigger bill than you were expecting, and you don’t want to be driving blindly into any surcharges.

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Picture credits: Lopolo/shutterstock.com, Matushchak Anton/shutterstock.com, AXL/shutterstock.com, Flamingo Images/shutterstock.com

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