My son Jeremy attends college out of state and does not have a vehicle on campus. A few of his high school friends were planning to visit him and would need to find a ride to and from the airport. Traveling around the area was going to be a highlight of the trip so they also needed transportation during their stay.  Their proposed itinerary consisted of a college tour, seeing some local sights, a hiking trip, and more.   

The airport provided shuttle services to campus and Uber was also an option, however, both proved to be cost-prohibitive.  They discovered their age presented some significant challenges for renting a car and I was asked to help them find a solution. I’ll share with you what I learned in the process and provide some insurance advice for young adults renting vehicles.

After extensive research, I identified two local rental companies that would rent to a 19-year-old. In addition to the standard rental fee, there were surcharges for drivers under 25 and drivers under 21. If paying with a credit card, the cardholder MUST be the same person as the one renting the vehicle.   

Some college students may not yet have a credit card, but this is a good reason to consider one.  Just make sure that it has a high enough credit limit to cover the rental fees and the security deposit. Also, check to see if anyone else is permitted to drive the rental; it may be that the renter and cardholder are the only approved drivers. 

Paying with a debit card?  Unfortunately, a debit card is not accepted for any renter under the age of 21.  Paying cash?  Think again.  The companies that I inquired with would only accept cash payments from non-US citizens with proof of inbound and outbound flight info. 

As for insurance and what options to choose on the rental agreement, this is where I highly recommend purchasing the additional Loss Damage Waiver. If a son or daughter has an accident with the rental car, it could be the cheapest peace of mind you’ve ever purchased because any damage to the rented vehicle would be covered, no questions asked. 

Also, consider the liability exposures at play.  Despite purchasing the Loss Damage Waiver, your personal auto policy is still providing the primary liability and first-party benefits protection.  This is assuming that your son or daughter is still considered an insured on your policy and does not have their own insurance.  If this is the case, the renter should be cautious not to list additional drivers without a parent’s consent.  Whoever signs the rental agreement ultimately accepts responsibility for the car and the liability associated with driving it.

If you anticipate your daughter or son being in a similar scenario or if you have questions, please contact us to discuss your insurance options and considerations.