Today, we are answering the age-old question: “How Old Do You Have to be to Rent an RV”? It’s a question that is asked with increasing frequency as interest in RVing is exploding amongst millennials and Gen Zers in this new Post-COVID world.
Rather than beat around the trailer, we’ll jump right in by giving you the minimum age to rent an RV with some of America’s biggest RV rental companies.
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How Old to Rent an RV with Popular RV Rental Companies?
Most states allow you to operate an RV at 21 years of age with a valid driver’s license. However, it’s important to know that as private businesses RV rentals companies are permitted to be stricter with their rental rules than what is required by State law.
To make it easy for you, we combed through the Terms & Conditions of America’s largest and well-known RV rental agencies to find out the minimum age of rental.
How Old to Rent an RV: America’s Most Popular Agencies
|RENTAL AGENCY||MINIMUM AGE|
|ElMonte RV||21 (25 at some locations)|
* Note that information is up-to-date as of May, 2021
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Below you will find the language directly from the RV rental agency’s website with requirements on the minimum age to rent an RV. Note that some agencies, such as Lost Campers, require that 21-year old renters show that they’ve had a valid driver’s license for one year prior to renting.
All vehicles must be operated by properly licensed and authorized drivers, 21 years of age or over, who must be present at departure to sign Rental Agreement. All charges are payable in advance.
You must be at least 21 years of age (at the time of pickup) with a valid driver’s license to rent an Escape campervan. Unlike many other campervan companies, Escape does not charge a young driver fee.
The minimum age to rent an insured vehicle using the Services is 25 years old.
Rental services are further limited to those persons who are twenty-five (25) years of age and older in accordance with state and federal laws. Any access or use of the Services by anyone under those age restrictions is expressly prohibited.
Renter and all drivers must be a minimum of 21 years of age (25 years at some locations) with a permanent, valid driver’s license (temporary replacement or provisional license not accepted) from country of residence and and current identification (including passport for non-US residents).
Drivers must be at least 21 years of age and have had a motor vehicle, driver’s license for at least one year (For the Redwood Vans, 25 yrs is the required minimum age to rent that vehicle type).
The minimum age for the rental of an RV is 25.
Do I Need a Class C License to Rent an RV?
No matter your age, all RV rentals agencies will require you to have a valid and non-expired state drivers license. As long as you meet the minimum age and license requirements, you typically do not need a special license to operate a Class C RV rental – the most popular type of RV rental on the market.
We do recommend checking with your local DMV for definitive requirements as a few States will require a Commercial Drivers License (CDL) depending on the weight rating of your vehicle. For example, the State of Illinois requires a CDL for vehicles with a Gross Vehicle Weight Rating (GVWR) over 16,000 pounds.
The best resource for RV Driving License requirements can be found over at Changing Gears. They offer an excellent state-by-state run down of license requirements.
What About the “Young Driver Surcharge” for Drivers Under 25?
First off, congratulations if you are under 25. It’s the best time in your life … don’t let anyone tell you any different.
Traditionally, RV rental agencies that rent to customers between the ages of 21 and 25 have applied an additional daily “young driver surcharge” to the rental. The additional surcharge, often ranging between $15-30 a day, is viewed as extra insurance for the rental agency due to the higher risk profile of younger drivers.
As times change and rental companies are looking to attract more youthful clientele, most companies have dropped their “youth surcharge”. From our research, the four companies that permit 21 year-olds to rent, do not charge an additional surcharge for RV rentals.
What Else Do I Need to Know As a First Time RV Renter?
Age is just one small, albeit important, factor when renting an RV for the first time. If you are not familiar with how to operate an RV, it’s important to pay close attention at the dealer walk-through to understand how the vehicle operates.
If you are of rental age and you are a first-time RV renter, here are a few actionable tips you should consider when renting your first RV:
Ask Questions Prior to Renting
The devil is in the details when you are renting and RV. Both new and experienced RVers should ask the following questions when seeking out an RV rental:
- Does the RV have air conditioning and/or heat?
- Are pets permitted? If so, is there a surcharge?
- Does the RV come with a generator? If so, is there a surcharge to use?
- How many miles per gallon can I expect to get?
- How many does the RV sleep? (ask for number of beds)
- Does the rental come with supplies such as pillows, sheets, toilet paper, silverware?
- Is there a cancellation policy if I need to cut my trip short?
The more questions you ask up front, the less surprises you will have when picking up your RV. Trust us, there will always be a surprise … or two, but being prepared will not only help with your budget, but with your expectations for the vehicle.
Know About Insurance
All rental agencies will require you to carry automobile insurance for your RV rental. Many RV rental agencies will include insurance in the price of your rental or offer you a daily insurance rate at the time of the rental.
If you do not procure insurance from the dealer, you must check with your automobile insurance company whether or not your car insurance extends to your RV rental. If your insurance does not extend to the RV rental you must request a quote to extend coverage for the length of the trip you plan on taking.
Bottom line: you must carry insurance when renting an RV. Not only is it required by law and the rental agency, you could potentially be exposing yourself to tremendous liability should you damage the rental vehicle or get into an accident.
Read the Fine Print
RV rental contracts can be long – intentionally so. In your excitement to get on the road you may not read the rental contract carefully. Trust us, this is a BIG mistake. Everything you need to know about your RV rental will be in the terms and conditions of the contract you sign.
Some items to specifically pay attention to are:
- Daily rental charges;
- Charges for daily rental insurance;
- Mileage charges;
- Generator charges;
- Cleaning fees;
- Fuel surcharges if tank is not filled;
- How to get the return of deposit at the end of your trip.
Rental companies bank on you not carefully reading the terms and conditions before you sign. If you do book online, ask to see a full copy of the terms and conditions long before you pick up your vehicle. This can save you hundreds, and in some cases thousands of dollars in unexpected expenses.
While it might not seem like a big deal when you are renting, learning how to park a vehicle the size of an RV is not easy for beginners. Especially if you plan on taking your RV out in an urban setting, narrow streets and tight parking lots (hello, WholeFoods) are just not made to handle the size of an RV.
Our recommendation is that once you have possession of your rental RV, take it to a low traffic lot and practice parking for 15 minutes. You will be surprised at just how big and how different the vehicle feels when you are in the driver’s seat. Once you feel a bit more comfortable, you will be ready to hit the road where you can more confidently handle some tricky parking situations.
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Choose A Reputable Rental Agency
There’s an old adage in life: you pay for what you get. The same rings true when renting an RV. Do your research when searching for that first RV rental. Take any good reviews with a grain of salt, but pay attention to multiple negative reviews that mention the same issue over and over.
If you don’t want to use a national brand, there are plenty of great local RV dealerships that will rent RVs. Do your research online looking at Google Reviews, Yelp and Facebook to get an idea of the dealer’s reputation in the community.
The Final Word
My fellow campers, we hope we answered your burning question: How old do you have to be to rent an RV?
The bad news? If you’re under 21, you may be hard-pressed to find an RV rental.
The good news? You’re under 21 years old for the love of G-d! You have plenty of time to rent RVs in the future … and also worry about things like work, bills, children and all the other fun things that come along with the crushing weight of adulthood.
Really hope you enjoyed this article. We encourage you to share your comments, thoughts, inner fears and deepest desires in our comments section.