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United Kingdom (UK) - Car Rental

Renting a car in the United Kingdom requires that you meet car rental agency requirements and local driving laws. Anyone 17 years of age or older can take a driving test as long as they have completed a course. The provisional licence is a learner’s permit that is usable for 12 months. At 18, the person can then apply for a regular licence. Despite 17 being the minimum driving age, car rental agencies usually require a person to be a few years older than this. The standard age for driving a rental car is 25, however there are certain companies that may allow a driver between the ages of 21 and 25 to rent a vehicle. The age limit for car rental is not a legal regulation but is set by each individual agency.

If the rental agency allows a younger person to drive, the rates are usually higher. This additional fee is to cover the rental agency in the event of an accident.

Local Laws for Driving

In the United Kingdom, no driver can be on the road without insurance. Drivers are required to carry liability insurance at the very least. This insurance covers them in the event of an accident.

Car rental agencies sell this insurance to drivers, or if your current policy covers rental vehicles, you can use your own insurance. You must have an insurance policy that meets the minimum requirements of liability in the United Kingdom in order to drive.

You also need to have a valid passport and driver’s licence. An international driver’s licence will show that you have taken a test for different roadways and are licensed to drive.

Your licence must be at least twelve months old. If you have only just obtained your driver’s licence for the first time then you may encounter issues with car rentals. Most car rental agencies require that you have had a licence for at least a year. The licence and passport must also be valid for a further twelve months.

Booking a Rental Car

Obtaining a rental car from the major city airports in England, Wales, Scotland, and Northern Ireland is fairly easy. The websites of the major car rental companies will be able to tell you whether vehicles are provided in your area. Once you have booked a car, a reservation number will be sent to your email address. This confirmation number is what the desk agent will use to look up your rental and help you through the process upon arrival.

You will need to have your driver’s licence, passport, and insurance card readily available for the agent. If you do not have this documentation then you will not be able to rent a vehicle. You can buy insurance through the rental agency for UK roads, which you may need to do if you have forgotten your insurance card.

If there are multiple drivers in your party then they will also need to show their passports and driving licences. It is possible to rent the vehicle as long as there is one driver, age appropriate, with a valid driver’s licence.

Car rental agencies may charge you for putting more than one driver on record. This is usually called an additional driver’s fee on the receipt.

You can also elect to purchase petrol from the company if you do not wish to fill up the petrol tank before you take the car back. All rental agencies expect the tank to be full before it is returned to the parking lot.

Main Car Rentals

The list of car rental companies below represents the major companies available at airports in England, Scotland, Wales, and Northern Ireland:


National Car Rental

Enterprise Car Rental

+44(0) 800 261 7331


+44(0) 844 544 6006


+44(0) 843 309 3009

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