Car Hire – Out of reach if you’re under 25?

Unless you’re over the age of 25, car hire can be a really expensive business.

A survey organized by the Institute of Advanced Motorists (IAM) in September 2014, found that most vehicle rental organisations had strict conditions or outright bans on younger drivers wanting to hire even the smallest cars.

Interestingly enough, current statistics show that even though teenagers are a well-known high-risk insurance group when it comes to accidents, the risk actually decreases significantly after six months of driving experience and even more so, for drivers in their early 20’s.

The Department for Transport figures taken from a Road Accident Statistics Factsheet, also reflect that accidents involving young car drivers where people were reported killed or seriously injured, have also decreased at a steady rate since 2000.

Neil Greig, IAM Director of Policy and Research feels that those with a proven driving record in their early 20’s, that have taken documented additional training or have membership with a reputable motoring body, should be allowed car hire at more affordable rates. He commented that: “We are not suggesting that inexperienced or teenage drivers should be let loose with a powerful hire car. But younger 20-somethings shouldn’t be penalised to such a degree with expensive premium charges; Safe young drivers could be a potential fruitful market as the economy picks up. The risk in the popularity of City Car Clubs which do allow 19 year olds to driver show that demand is out there.”
“Car hire companies should be commissioning research and looking at their real world claims history to see if the age limit can be reduced. It’s a small part of the overall traffic mix on our roads but reviewing the age limit would remove what appears to be a fundamental unfairness for safe young people in their early twenties.”

According to the IAM’s survey, age 25 was the typical minimum age that vehicle hire companies were prepared to offer car rental. A few companies would hire to those under the age of 25, but at a very hefty premium.

Swaying car hire companies to reconsider their rates

A recent survey carried out for the RAC Foundation, discovered that two-thirds of British adults (68%) would like to see the introduction of a Graduated Driver Licencing Scheme (GDL) for newly qualified drivers. However, just 41% of those aged under 24 favoured the introduction of the scheme. This could be due to the temporary restrictions typically placed on newly qualified drivers in the first few months, after they pass their test. For example, these can include late night curfews or how many passengers a young driver can carry.

However, the aim of GDL is to limit young drivers’ risk exposure until they have gained the relative driving experience. This, in turn may reduce serious traffic accidents, reduce younger driver vehicle premiums and perhaps make car hire companies reconsider their premiums.