Posted by: chlost | June 28, 2012

Sixty-five is the new twenty

There is a small deli just down the street from my office. There are several outdoor tables for customers to eat their lunch in the midst of a beautiful and aromatic garden patio.

Today as I crossed the patio to the entrance, the conversations at several of the tables hung in the air. Most of the conversations were merely a hum-I could hear the voices, but couldn’t understand the words.

However, as I passed one table where two couples sat and chatted over their panini sandwiches , one gentleman’s voice rose like a plume of smoke over the crowd and his words went straight into my ears.  “Because you know they won’t rent you a car if you are over 70 years old,” he commented to his friends at the table.

No, I did not know that.

Car Rental

Car Rental (Photo credit: yum9me)

In fact, I couldn’t believe that it could be true. I knew that the car rental
companies won’t rent to anyone under 21, and that it is difficult for anyone under 25 to rent a car. We had to deal with that with our kids. Our son was married, employed and a father, but could not rent a car a few years ago.

But I had never heard that you could not rent a car at an older age.

When I got back to the office, I decided to do some checking on this man’s statement.

Sure enough, he was right. At least in some foreign countries, the rental car companies will not rent a vehicle to someone who is over age 65 or 70. I did not see any reference to companies who have this restriction for cars rented in the United States, however. Perhaps our age discrimination laws have prevented that.

I found a very interesting article explaining the problems that seniors face renting vehicles in some European, African and South Pacific countries. Click here to read that article. Apparently, even the more well-known rental companies have this policy in some areas, and there are many unsuspecting travelers who find themselves unable to rent a car while traveling overseas.

English: Global Aero Car Rental Parking for re...

English: Global Aero Car Rental Parking for rental car (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Now I am several years away from turning 65. However, I am getting closer every day. I used to think of 65 as being decrepit, unbearably old. It is amazing how your perspective changes as you inch closer to that age each year.

Merle and I plan to work at least five more years. Then we hope to be able to retire and travel. This is one thing we truly enjoy. We have dreams of traveling again to Europe. We also love to rent a car and drive on our own. We usually see so much and meet so many interesting people that way.

Apparently, we may not be able to do that. No matter how good a driver we may be, no matter our health or status of our license. This is something we had never even considered as an issue. If you are planning a trip where you will be renting a car, be sure to check out the company’s rental policy for “seniors”.

Because a 65-year-old driver is apparently just as risky a car rental customer as a 20-year-old.




  1. I did not know that either. I will be 67 next week and just went in to renew my driver’s license today. In my old DL photo my hair is still dark (I’ve been able to renew it online for years – hence, no new photo.) In my new photo, my hair is almost white… and yes, I look “old”. Do I care? Not sure… But thanks for the rental car info.

    • We aren’t able to renew licenses online yet. So, I guess my picture keeps up with me a little better. There has never been a good photo, though.

      • I love being able to renew things online. Gosh, if it weren’t for the Internet, I might actually have to leave the house. No… I’m kidding. I don’t like to be house-bound, but I don’t especially like going to the DPS… always long lines. Thank goodness for iphones, ereaders, and the old fashioned ‘book’!

  2. Then we’ll just have to resort to the tricks of a 20 year old, a fake I.D.! This could be a great business for selling doctored identifications or driver’s licenses to boomers to show how young we are! If they look at you funny when you show your new “I.D.” just tell them you’ve been sick lately. Of course we would only do this for auto rental purposes in foreign countries.

    • I think this is a great idea. I may have to consider that as a business as I get older. There might be a big profit margin there!

  3. Who knew? Not me. I wonder if the auto insurance companies are behind that choice.

    • That is probably what it is. The insurance companies control almost everything else.

  4. Yikes!!!!! I just turned 65!!!!!

    • And now you are 20 again! 🙂

  5. This is news to me – wow! I better let my husband know he’s only got a few years left to rent a car. It seems to me that if you have a license you should be able to rent one. As long as they test people periodically before renewing licenses, to keep those who become a danger to themsleves and others off the road completely. I rarely drive anymore – I’m just too nervous and get confused too easily…

    • It sounds as though some places do rent to 65 and older drivers, but it pays to check to be sure.

  6. Reminds me of the Jerry Seinfeld routine about renting a car; he was so pissed, he asked for the “extra” insurance coverage… he was going to beat the hell out of that car!

    Until recently airline pilots were forced to retire at age 60, I think they extended that mandatory retirement age.

    • That was a good one. I miss having a really good show like that each week.

  7. A few years ago a cousin and her husband who were well over 65, took a trip to Italy and they did rent a car. I’ll have to check and see if they have since..
    Meanwhile if you are on FB..friend me I couldn’t find that posy on Nancy S. page 🙂
    I have been very lax about posting on my blog since they changed their format..

    • Done. Request sent. Think cool thoughts.

      • I will 🙂

  8. Wow, I haven’t heard about this. It’s rather ironic (sad) that it’s harder to rent a car when you’re more able to travel (i.e., before kids and after retirement.) Life really isn’t fair.

    • Exactly. I think you can rent cars, but just have to know to be sure to ask if it is going to be a problem. As more of the boomers start to retire and travel overseas, they may have to rethink that policy if they want to keep business.

  9. I think most of us are getting closer to 65 every day, except for those who are getting farther away. And I strongly believe someone should think about taking my license away right now. I can’t seem to focus on what I’m doing. Is there a GPS for just plain addled?

    • So that’s the thing….getting closer to 65 is actually the same as getting closer to 20. So…..are we growing older or getting younger???? It is sooooo confusing!! 🙂

  10. I’ve decided to reverse
    my numbers which means I will be 57 in August :0

  11. I didn’t know about this age limit on car rentals. This totally upends some plans I’ve had in mind, so guess I’d best check out the U.S. situation in some cities before I leap. Perhaps there’ll be an increased market for I.D.s adjusted to show numbers that agree with the individual’s age appearance i.e. I’m constantly thought to be younger than my chronological years. Hm-m-m!

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