Renting a car when you go on holiday, even if it’s just to another city in Australia, is a great way to add extra value to your trip.
However, for young drivers (and in the eyes of most car rental companies, ‘young’ means 24 or under), there are often extra fees youhave to pay.
Skyscanner Australia has had a look at which companies charge young drivers more and why.
Can young drivers rent a car in Australia?
So long as you hold a full driving licence and you’re aged 21 or over, you’re legally allowed to rent a car anywhere in Australia. If you’re on your Ls or Ps, you won’t be allowed to rent a car.
Until recently, the age limit was 25, but this has changed to allow more drivers the option to hire a car. However, this has come at an extra cost, with young driver surcharges regularly added on.
Why do car rental companies charge young drivers more?
The basic theory is that drivers aged 21 to 24 are involved in more accidents than older drivers, so the extra cost is there to cover the likelihood of car damage.
This goes against arguments that this should be covered by insurance or just charged to those drivers who actually are in accidents.
It also ignores factors such as other age groups that are safer/more dangerous than others or the fact that male drivers are much more dangerous than female drivers.
How much extra do young drivers get charged?
Skyscanner Australia checked with the major car rental companies in the country and found that each one had a fee for drivers under 25.
The table below shows the young driver surcharge based on renting a car from Sydney Airport (the cheapest model available) from 1 March to 8 March 2019.
Of these companies, the young driver surcharge was cheapest with Budget, Enterprise, Hertz and Redspot. It was most expensive with Europcar.
|Car rental company||Young driver surcharge|
The only exception we could find was when hiring a car with Jucy Rentals, as their underage surcharge is only applicable for drivers aged 18-20. Jucy’s policy is to charge $5 extra a day, which comes to $35 for the same search terms as the table above.
These fees were also applicable if the young driver was added on as an additional driver.
Being safe on the road
Even though you’re already being charged extra to hire a car, it will be even more costly if you end up in an accident (as well as dangerous for you, your passengers and other road users). To reduce the risk of car accidents, it’s important to practise safe driving habits.
Some of the most common ways young drivers can avoid accidents include:
- Never drink and drive
- Always stick to the speed limit (or slightly below it)
- Keep a safe distance between you and the car ahead of you
- In two- or three-lane traffic, don’t drive in the blindspot of cars beside you
- Take breaks every two hours
- Don’t use your phone in the car
The best road trips in Australia
If you’re looking for inspiration for where you should go for a drive, read Skyscanner’s list of the most epic road trips in Australia.
Meanwhile, if you are planning a vacation, get started with searching for flights with us, using the search controls below