9

I am a 21 year old British citizen who has a full driving license for cars in the United Kingdom. I am planning on going to the USA (Florida) next week and I want to hire a car for one week.

Am I able to drive the car over there legally or do I have to meet certain requirements and be over a certain age limit?

  • Definitely talk to your own insurance company to see whether they would cover the rental. When you get there they will push you hard to buy insurance that costs about $30 or so per day (coverage for damage to the car, coverage for injury caused to others, coverage for contents of the car). – Joel Aug 13 '16 at 22:58
  • Be very careful about having to drive on the opposite side of the road! That would be dangerous for a driver at any age. Personally I would be kind of scard to actually go anywhere by car in your situation before I've had a couple of days to practice in a parking lot and on roads with few cars going slowly. – einpoklum Aug 14 '16 at 8:49
  • 1
    Yes, you can do it but being aged 21 it may be expensive. As a British citizen I don't have any problem with driving in the US. Speed limits are generally slightly lower than the UK and drivers tend to stick to them better. Things to remember: You can turn right at a red traffic light if the road is clear. We don't have four-way stops in the UK. If you find yourself at one in the US and nobody is moving, that's because it is your turn to go. There are few roundabouts in the US and drivers there appear to be confused by them. – Vince O'Sullivan Aug 14 '16 at 10:17
  • There will be a surcharge of at least $10/Day for driver younger than 25. This surcharge varies from one company to another, probably by more than the base rate does. My experience is that an online search (Kayak, carrentals.com, priceline) in advance gets much better pricing that showing up. Make sure to put your age in the search inquiry. For Hawaii, by the way, I found a Hawaii-only aggregator with better deals; Florida may have something similar. – Andrew Lazarus Aug 15 '16 at 20:26
15

Many companies will rent you a car, but charge you more because you are young. Being a tourist does not appear to be relevant.

  • Budget will rent (in some cities at least) to those between 21 and 24, but charge quite a bit more.
  • Avis is the same (can't link directly to the FAQ, use the dropdowns to search for rental requirements.
  • I can't find the FAQ for Hertz, but they have a dropdown on the reserving page for age, and there are choices for those under 25.

Be sure to check the specific company you have in mind.

  • 14
    oh, it plays a part. There are places that won't rent to under 25's. And the rest will charge you a lot more - $30 a day! if you are underage. – Kate Gregory Aug 13 '16 at 13:21
5

To answer the specific question, yes, you can drive in the US legally with your UK Driver License.

As for rending a car, you just have to find an agency that will rent you a car.

2

This adds to what others have said.
This may not apply to UK driver / USA rental but is well worth looking at.

Summary:

  • Taking out rental cover in your own country on a vehicle being rented in a foreign country BEFORE commencing the actual rental may result in far more favourable terms very substantially lower potential liabilities and/or lower charges.

  • This may or may not apply to your UK/USA situation but in the case of a New Zealand driver hiring a rental car in Australia, vastly superior terms and lower costs may be achieved by insuring prior to the rental commencing through either NZ insurance companies in NZ or through NZ branches of Australian insurance companies.

__________________________________

I'm "older" (or, my body is). I live in NZ and wished to insure a rental car in Australia in addition to the basic "cover' offered by the rental companies, as it left me with potentially very large liabilities. I am a scrupulous reader of insurance fine print, due to the major costs that may be hidden in policies. I found that rental vehicle insurance from Australian companies, whether taken out through the vehicle hire company, or Australian 3rd party vendors or directly from Australian insurance companies ALL contained extremely onerous terms and exclusions. Even in the 'best' polices there were worst case situations that could leave the hirer liable for most or even all of the rental vehicles value, even in situations where the cause of the loss was outside their direct control. [One extreme case - road collapse causing vehicle submersion or submersion at a "ford". Full vehicle value may be payable. Less extreme: Drive under truck-tray or overhanging ledge, or barrier arm.]

I then looked at the terms offered by NZ insurance companies for insuring the vehicle while I was in Australia. To my surprise, not only did NZ insurance companies not include the hidden super-onerous terms, neither did the NZ branches of the Australian companies. This applied only if I took out the insurance prior to the rental having commenced. Once the rental period commenced the NZ branches of the Australian companies would no longer offer the superior conditions. I assume this relates to anti-poaching arrangements between branches of the same company in different countries or even maybe within the industry,It MAY also relate to what degree the legislation in each country allows the companies to gouge their customers.

As a bonus, the NZ paid & arranged insurance for the policies with superior terms cost less in all cases than using Australian channels.

______________________________________________

Crucial: Be super certain about what your potential liabilities are. Even if terms like "full cover" and "peace of mind total cover" are used in the 'large print' the fine print may contain (and in Australia does contain) far more onerous conditions.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.