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I know it will most likely depend on the specific rules of the rental company, but is it generally possible in the U.S. for a 23 year old person with a german driver's license to either

  1. rent a car themselves or
  2. drive a car, that a friend of the age 25 or older rented

Furthermore, I read that additional surcharges may be applied, if a driver is under the age of 25. So is it allowed, to let a friend who is over the age of 25 rent the car, but then let someone drive who is under the age of 25, to get around the surcharges? If so, what would that mean regarding insurance of the car for the duration of the rental?

tl;dr:

Basically, my question is: Is someone else other than the renter usually also allowed to drive the car and if so, regarding the surcharges is the driver or the renter the relevant party here?

Furthermore, would I need an international driver's license for renting and/or driving or would the german one suffice?

Thanks in advance for your help.

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  • 5
    I don't know why people ask questions like "Can I commit fraud?", what answer do you expect.
    – meego
    Sep 19, 2023 at 11:37
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    Everyone who's going to drive the car has to be listed on the rental contract.
    – mkennedy
    Sep 19, 2023 at 11:49
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    The age limit pertains to the driver of the car, so a +25 person cannot rent the car and you drive it unless you pay the surcharge. I myself have rented a car in California at age 23 (being Norwegian) and that was no issue. The surcharge was not particularly expensive. As for the international license, I am not certain so do check properly yourself, but in my case a Norwegian license sufficed
    – Erik
    Sep 19, 2023 at 11:51
  • @meego That was not really my intention, and I don't really think I did that. I merely wanted to know if it would be a legal workaround, to just let somebody else drive. Perhaps this would be perfectly fine with the company, but just not insured or something like that. But I guess I was 95% expecting, that it's neither possible nor insured to do so. I asked because of the 5% ;)
    – s137
    Sep 19, 2023 at 12:07

1 Answer 1

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rent a car themselves or

Yes. Every rental website will ask for your age and in most cases they will give you car. They may charge you extra for it, but that's it. I had no problem finding cars for a 23 year old on Avis (which was the only one I tried)

drive a car, that a friend of the age 25 or older rented

Any additional driver will have to be registered and almost all rental companies charge extra for a second driver. That charge may depend on the age of the driver. Put your info in the website and see what you get.

Furthermore, would I need an international driver's license for renting and/or driving or would the german one suffice?

The german one is fine.

to get around the surcharges?

You can not get around the surcharge since all driver must be listed and paid for. Keep in mind the official renter is typically the ONLY person that is allowed to pick and drop off the car, so the 25-year old has to be show up in person (with their credit card).

... what would that mean regarding insurance of the car for the duration of the rental?

Insurance is good topic to research carefully. It's one of the biggest money makers for rental car companies and they try to sneak it in at the last minute at extortionary prices. This can easily double your rental price ! Rules around this are quite complicated and I recommend reading terms and conditions very carefully. Often you are covered through your primary insurance in Germany (if you have one) and/or through the credit card but that depends a lot on the details.

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  • What kind of German "primary insurance" covers risks related to drivng a rented car in the US? Sep 19, 2023 at 13:46
  • In the UK you can buy insurance which means that you do not have to take out the rental firm's collision damage waiver. It is significantly cheaper. Not sure if the OP can do that for the US as a German.
    – mdewey
    Sep 19, 2023 at 14:27
  • But does the insurance bought in the UK cover driving in the US? I'd be surprised. Sep 19, 2023 at 14:50
  • My main rental company allows any driver (>24 years old) in my family to drive my rental. On the corporate side, any licensed corporate folks accompanying me can drive the rental. In neither case is explicit listing of those drivers needed.
    – Jon Custer
    Sep 19, 2023 at 17:10
  • @JonCuster that would seem to be the exception to the norm. I've always had to list drivers (although not always had to pay extra - at least for the first additional driver)
    – Midavalo
    Sep 19, 2023 at 17:22

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