Know about car rental age limits before you book

by , SmarterTravel Staff
Editor's Note: This story was originally published on November 21, 2006. To see the most recent SmarterTravel articles on related topics, please click on any of the following links: Alamo, Auto Europe, Avis, Budget, car rental, Dollar, Hertz, Molly Feltner, National, Payless, senior travel.

As editor of SmarterTravel.com's Senior Travel section, I'm frequently asked about age limits for seniors on rental cars. Overall, maximum age limits are not a problem in the U.S., but it's a different story in some foreign countries, including several European countries popular with senior travelers.

Luckily for seniors renting in the U.S., none of the major agencies—including Alamo, Avis, Budget, Dollar, Hertz, National, and Payless—list a company-wide maximum age cutoff for U.S. rentals. However, some of the rental agency websites do note that individual franchise owners may apply their own age rules, and that prospective renters may be denied if they appear unable to "handle road rules and conditions."

Advertisement

Outside the U.S., renting cars in certain foreign countries can be problematic. Individual rental companies and franchise owners may impose different restrictions, so you'll need to ask each location about its rules before booking. However, some guidelines can be found online. According to Auto Europe, a company that arranges car rentals at more than 4,000 locations worldwide, certain countries impose a strict maximum age cutoff, while individual locations in other countries may apply their own limits or restrict seniors from renting certain car classes.

The Auto Europe website notes that:

  • Some locations in Australia have a maximum rental age of 75.
  • Some locations in the Czech Republic have a maximum rental age of 70.
  • Some locations in Denmark have a maximum rental age of 80.
  • Some locations in Greece have a maximum rental age of 70.
  • Ireland has a maximum rental age of 75; drivers older than 70 may be charged an additional fee.
  • Israel has a maximum rental age of 75.
  • Malta has maximum rental age of 70.
  • Some locations in Northern Ireland have a maximum rental age of 69; other locations may charge drivers older than 70 an extra fee.
  • Some car classes in Poland have a maximum rental age of 70.
  • Romania has a maximum rental age of 70.
  • Some car classes in Slovakia have a maximum rental age of 70.
  • Some car classes in Turkey have a maximum rental age of 70.
  • Some locations in the U.K. have a maximum rental age of 69.

You can read more about driver requirements at Auto Europe locations by visiting the company's online car rental driving guide.

The major U.S. agencies with overseas locations may also apply age restrictions and age penalties. For example, Dollar locations in Ireland require drivers ages 71 to 74 to purchase additional insurance at a cost of about $13 per day.

For both U.S. and overseas car rentals, it's best to call the rental location directly to find out what its restrictions are before booking if you're concerned your age may be an issue. If one agency turns you down, try another, as different locations follow different sets of rules. Whatever the case, it's much better to know ahead of time rather than crossing your fingers and hoping that the person at the desk doesn't deny you. That way, you can plan other transportation options or pick a new destination rather than have your vacation ruined.

Read comments or add your own insight!
Please enable JavaScript to properly view and use this web site.