If you are still lucky enough to be under the age of 25, life is probably treating you pretty well. Your 20s are your selfish years when having youth on your side, with little responsibility, means a time of experimentation, exploration and freedom, but it can also be stressful as the choices you make in your 20s can impact the rest of your life journey.

In your 20s, there are a plethora of opportunities just starting to open up to you, the world quite literally is your oyster and any money you earn at this point in your life, is often quite selfishly – yours alone. Let’s face it; life is not particularly tough under the age of 25, unless you are trying to hire a car with your own hard-earned money that is!

Even if you are the most responsible under 25-year-old in the country, car hire companies in South Africa and even Europe Car Hire operators just won’t believe you. And this is made quite evident when you see the hefty added fees and restrictions on car hire contracts if you are 25 or under.

Young drivers are considered to be a higher risk regardless of how well they do or don’t drive. And there seems to be no reliable or effective way to get car hire companies to realise that some under 25s (that is you) can actually be trusted to be a responsible and safe driver.

The proof is in the stats

Why are car hire companies so hard on young drivers?

The situation isn’t quite as bleak as it was years ago when car rental wasn’t available to any drivers under the age of 25, but history and experience is mostly to blame for car hire companies deeming young drivers irresponsible and risky. Unfortunately, the statistics tell a story, and the facts show that young drivers under the age of 25 years are the most likely to have an accident due to risky or negligent driving. It is the same reason why insurance companies view young drivers as “risky” and apply higher monthly premiums and excess fees.

So just what is the trick to renting a car without the hefty fees, scrutiny, and vehicle restrictions? There are a few things that you can do to keep those penalties and extra charges at bay. Below, we focus on two options that are useful to South African travellers.

  • Choose your car hire company wisely and avoid hefty fees

Where and which car rental company you hire your car from will determine just how hefty the young driver’s fee is. It might be tempting to go for the cheapest daily rate advertised on line, but once you make the booking, you are likely to be put off bythe hefty young driver’s fee attached.

Most car hire companies add a young driver surcharge for any drivers between the ages of 18 and 25 years. You can hire a car in South Africa from the age of 18, but it’s not always easy or affordable.

Of course, each car hire company is different and has its own surcharges in place. Europe Car Hire is known to offer only moderate surcharges for a young driver under 23. You can also find a variety of driving tips and advice on their website to ensure that you have a safe on-road experience in South Africa.

  • Don’t even consider renting a luxury vehicle between the ages of 18 and 25

For the most part, drivers between the ages of 18 and 19 will find it difficult to hire a car from almost any reliable car hire company. If you are 20 or older compare fees and restrictions at the various rental agencies where you will find that most offer car hire to anyone under 25 with a surcharge. Luxury vehicles, vans and SUVs are usually off limits to those under 25 and it’s best to avoid this category entirely if you are doing an online search.

  • Enquire about booking your Europe Car Hire through the company you work for

Another way to get around that pesky young driver surcharge is to ask your employer to make the car hire booking, on behalf of the company. Manycar hire companies are prepared to offer and negotiate corporate rates and deals with companies operating in South Africa. Corporate and organisational rates and contracts take into account that growing companies often hire professionals under the age of 25. These companies cannot afford be faced with inflated car hire rates every time they send an employee away on business.

As such, some contracts will include underage fee waivers that not only reduce the expected young driver fee, but also ensure reduced daily rental rates in general. If you work for a large corporation, you may benefit from the young driver’s fee being waived or could save a bit on the actual daily rental rate, which is usually a bit lower for corporates that frequently hire vehicles.

It is best to enquire with the various car hire companies about their young driver policy and how corporate bookings are impacted (or can benefit).

Book through a reliable car hire booking company

Importantly, when making any car hire bookings online you should ensure that you book through a reliable and responsible car hire company that allows you to view and manage your booking details before collection.With a company such as Europe Car Hire for example, you won’t be surprised by undisclosed surcharges based on your age and driving experience when you arrive to pick up your rental.

Avoid the surprise of young driver surcharges at the last minute and find the best possible daily car rental rates by making use of our car hire search feature above. Here you can search, compare, and securely pay for your car hire in just a few clicks. And best of all – the price you see is the price that you pay!