Rental car damage – How to claim damages successfully

We all have to rent a car for one reason or the other. However, when driving you get into an accident then you should know about rental car damage and how to claim them successfully. Whether you are traveling to a new place or want to have a hustle free driving, it is better to rent a car rather than buying one.

Rental cars are the services that you can get when you do not have access to your own car, especially when you are in another city, outside of your home, going for a vacation, or planning an occasion.

The question that arises here is:

When should you rent a car?

There can be different answers to this question. Cars can be rented for regular use, official visits, vacation, or moving home. Moreover, some people rent cars to save on maintenance fees as well.

Rented cars can be more reliable sometimes when you are planning to purchase your own. You can find whether you are ready to get your own car or not. There are many kinds of cars that can be considered for rental purposes. When you opt to rent a car, you must decide what kind of car you want to rent first.

So, here’s another question again,

What kind of cars can be rented out?

It totally depends on the number of passengers for which the car has to be rented. Rented cars are categorized into small, medium, and full sizes. If it’s a family vacation then a van is ideal but if you want to go on a long drive with your partner, then a compact car that offers comfort is ideal.

What to do when you get lost in a rental car?

Many rental car companies assist while you drive, for instance, if you are lost on a location while driving or if you want to avoid the dense traffic and need assistance then you can simply call the car rental company for help. Whether you are having an emergency or just want to avoid the hustle-bustle of the city, just calling the car rental companies with knowledge of all the routes will surely be helpful.

Why accidents generally happen?

But when you’re in urgency and driving a rental car, you mostly avoid slowing down for the speed bumps. You ignore engine lights sometimes to gain more speed and, in the process, you lose the productivity of a car. The same thing will happen even you are driving your own car and this can damage your vehicle. However, rental car damage is something you have to worry about as it’s not your property, unlike your own car.  The damage can be either of an engine stalling, odd odor, loss of power, decrease in gas mileage, etc. and most importantly high speed can cause an accident too.

According to the Florida Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles, in 2017 around 2,924 accidents were reported, over 4% of them say around 124 accidents were caused because of over speeding.

If you find yourself in the middle of an accident, then how will you claim the damage on rental cars and how will you explain yourself? Here’s what you can do.

Tips & tricks to claim the rental car damage

The first thing you should do is to prove that it was not your fault, is to take photos of the damaged rental car.

Secondly, prepare yourself for the answers the company is going to ask you about the accident/damage to their rental car.

You should repair the car yourself (obviously, if it is minor and can be repaired without getting any mechanic involved). But if it needs a mechanic, a minor dent will cost you $30, while repairing scratches can cost up to $75. And if you smoke then the rental company can cost you $300 for cleaning and detoxing of the car you rented out.

Other than this, call the rental car service providers and tell them about the incident. They will call the insurance company if it is insured, and if you had any road traffic accident and the car is not insured, then the rental company will itself contact the other driver’s insurance company (if he has). But keep in mind that it is illegal to drive an uninsured rental car. Claiming the damage to a rental car would require you to follow certain processes.

How to handle a car rental damage claim?

Let’s claim the damage done to a rental car.

Except for a handful of companies, no company will let any driver hit the road without a basic protection policy, for which they charge from the driver’s credit card. You will be more likely to get your rental car insured by means of protection. The rental company charges extra for mileage, fuel, extra seats, and GPS, etc.

If any of the damage is already done, you can also claim the damage online.

You can contact the person from the company to provide you any help for filing up the claim online or to give the documents and guide you on how to claim the damage.

If you have rented the car through your credit card, then you should contact your credit card company as well to ask how much they it cost you per day, and for the damages. They will investigate and can refund you if they find any doubt about your liability.

How to avoid being charged unfairly for the rented cars?

Don’t feel rushed

Firstly, don’t get super excited and in a hurry to sign a document, make sure that you have read and understood all the clauses before taking anything into your custody.

Check the car thoroughly

When you reach the car, check the car from all sides and if possible take the pictures as well so that you can prove later, if they put any false claim on you.

If you find any mark, scratch, or any other damage in the car you should mention it in the document before handing it to the counter staff.

The same practice should be followed when you are returning the car after your use. Take pictures, check everything before they claim about anything.

What happens when you do not return a rental car? 

If you have hired a car and do not return it to the company, then the owner of the car can call the police and report that the car has been stolen, then you could be charged with theft and will have to face legal action.

What happens when a rental car is stolen?

Having a car stolen can cause you tremendous inconvenience and ruin a nice holiday vacation otherwise.

Call the local police if the rental car is stolen, keep yourself calm, and explain everything that has happened to the car and the place where you left the car.

Explain to them if you have any possession in the car like any electronic equipment, laptop, mobile phone, wallet, or anything.

If a car is stolen and you have reported it properly to the service providers, the rental car company will trace it through their GPS tracking systems fitted in the cars, they can spot the location of the car at any point in time.

Who pays when a rental car is stolen?

If the car is damaged or stolen, you will be responsible to pay the first part of the cost, the rest of the cost will be covered by the rental company to repair or replace the car.

In most cases, you have to pay 100% for some repairs, but slight scratches and minor damages like small dents can be waived by the company if you handle the things properly.

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