If you open the travel section of your local newspaper, you will likely find an article on rental car claims. Individual stories include complaints about hidden fine print, inadequately prepared damage slips, falsely attributed damage reports, and, ultimately, a bill — often months after the car has been returned.
If you need to rent a car, keep in mind the following tips:
1. Insist on detailed damage reports and take pictures
One of the most frequent complaints about rental car companies is that employees dismiss damage report slips as ‘unnecessary’ or give vague answers to ‘not worry.’
When renting a car, always insist on detailed damage report slips at check-out and at check-in. In addition, use your smartphone to take pictures or video of the vehicle from all angles (don’t forget the interior and the car’s mileage, and don’t hesitate to hold your phone under the front and rear bumpers to snap a picture of what’s below.
The more ‘proof’ you have of the car’s condition, the more material you’ll have in case you need it. Hold on to your documentation for at least a year after you return the car: Rental car companies, often, aren’t known for their ‘promptness’ in submitting claims.
2. Your car insurance doesn’t automatically extend to cover a rental car
You may have heard that your auto insurance policy will extend to cover a rental car. While this might be true for some policies, it can also leave you with serious gaps.
The bottom line is: Don’t rely on your personal car insurance to cover a rental vehicle.
3. Purchase the rental car company’s Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)
You will be offered the option to purchase a “Loss Damage Waiver” (LDW) from the rental car company. If purchased, this waiver relieves you from financial liability for the loss of, or damage to the rental car. We recommend that you purchase the LDW when you rent a car.