How Old Do You Have to Be to Hire a Car in the UK?

By Fairview Vehicle Hire on May 15th, 2024

Are you planning a staycation in the UK? Or perhaps you’re going to a remote place where public transport is not accessible. Either way, there are many reasons to rent a car, but it’s not as straightforward as choosing a car and driving off into the sunset. Typically, you need to consider age limit, the type of car, dates, insurance, location, and pick-up and drop-off.

What is the Minimum Age to Hire a Car in the UK?

While the legal age limit to drive is 17, the minimum age to hire a car in the UK is 21. However, the majority of companies set 25 as their minimum age because of the ‘young driver risk’ surcharge. In addition, you must present a valid driving licence held for 1 or more years, and the less penalty points and accidents, the better.

At Fairview Vehicle Hire, our minimum car hire age is 23 with a surcharge, and 25 without. We request no more than 6 penalty points and no bans under 5 years, and no more than 1 accident within the last 3 years. To reduce this risk, we ask that you present a valid driving licence held no less than 2 years.

What is the Age Limit for Car Hire?

There isn’t a set upper-age limit for car hire in the UK. While some insurance companies cover up to age 99, most rental companies set 70-75 as their maximum age. However, our age limit for car hires is 69, where anyone 65-69 will require insurance clearance.

How Old Do You Have to Be to Hire a Car in the UK?

What if You’re Not From the UK?

If you’re a European citizen, you can rent a car in the UK as long as you fit our criteria, such as the age range, driving licence policy, and having insurance. However, instead of a UK driving licence, you must have a valid EU or EAA licence. There was a short time during Brexit where a green card was needed to drive in Europe, but this is no longer necessary.

You can still rent a car in the UK if you’re not an EU citizen, but you’ll require more documentation. If your driving licence is printed in non-roman text, you’ll need a certified translation alongside it. You may also need an international driving permit (IDP), and proof of identity, address and previous travel dates. Eg, a passport, utility bill and flight tickets.

What Insurance Will You Need

Without insurance, you won’t be able to rent a car in the UK. Insurance covers you within your contract, but if damages occur due to negligence and breach the agreement, you likely won’t be covered.

You’ll need third party insurance to cover damage caused by accidents to people or things outside of the car. Then you’ll need vehicle damage and theft insurance separately to cover vehicle damage, such as tire changes and paint chips, and theft of the entire car or parts. 

Lastly, excess insurance is not a legal requirement, but useful as you can still be expected to pay toward damages, but excess insurance will reimburse this to you. Some agreements may not state damage fees, so be vigilant when reviewing any contract.

What if you Want to Drive to Europe?

It’s possible to rent a car in the UK and drive to Europe, such as France or Spain. However, this could be a big cost where it could be cheaper to fly or take the train, and then rent a car in the country you’re in instead.

Also, every country has different driving laws and car layouts. If you take a left-sided car to a right-sided road, it may be a little difficult remembering what way you’re supposed to go or seeing oncoming traffic. We recommend you search what side of the road the country drives on and see what that might look like.


At Fairview Vehicle Hire, we offer car hires for up to five people. Want to steal some wedding thunder and arrive in a prestige Mercedes? We also offer a small electric range and a large general car hire range for any occasion, from brands like Kia to Vauxhall in an array of colours from yellow to grey.

Now that you’ve got the inside scoop on renting a car in the UK, you’re ready to start your journey! Contact us today to enquire about a car you like, or call us with any questions and a member of our team will be happy to help.

Fairview Vehicle Hire