I recently wrote an in-depth article about the perils of renting a rent car.
Let me recap. . .
1. If you don’t purchase the damage waiver, beware.
2. Make sure your insurance will really cover “contract” liability. There are some newer policies that specifically exclude coverage for rental car damages under contract language.
3. If you didn’t purchase the damage waiver, insist upon a written inspection report on the vehicle to be rented prior to leaving in the vehicle.
4. Be meticulous in documenting any damages on the vehicle. Do not forget to make note of windshield chips, minor scratches, stains, radio functions, antennae function, wheel scuffs, etc. . .
5. No matter how insistent the rental company is that minor issues do not need to be noted, note them anyway.
The point of this advice is that it is very difficult for you to prove that you did not cause the damages if you don’t have evidence to the contrary. It is common for a rental car company to file a claim with your insurance company for minor damages and inflate the costs related to repairing them and then negotiate for a settlement and make extra money. They sometimes don’t even fix the vehicle and then file the same type of claim over and over again on customers insurance policies. If this happens to you, the best advice I can give is to make sure your adjuster asks the rental company for the historical records on the rental car in question, including the prior inspection forms that were completed on the vehicle. Many times, if the rental company can’t produce evidence that the damages weren’t there when you rented the vehicle, they will give up the fight for free money. It is amazing how many adjusters fail to ask for this type of documentation when being presented with a damage claim from a rental company.
Don’t be tricked by a rental company! It could affect your insurance premiums and your credit, depending on how persistent the rental company is. Sadly, some of the bigger names in rental companies use this tactic often. I guess this is why they “bigger”.