Why You Need To Check Your Next Rental Car For Damage More Carefully


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New Survey Suggests We Need To Be Much More Thorough Before Checking Out With A Vehicle 

Renting a car can be an excellent way of gaining a little extra independence on a vacation. Forgoing the tour buses, keeping to your own schedule, and the ability to make unplanned stops can transform a trip. But it’s important to remember that we’re often still at the mercy of the rental centers.

rental car inspection

Unfortunately, a new survey suggests that we need to be even more careful than we thought when dealing with hiring companies, especially during the checking-out process. According to the survey, recorded by iCarhireinsurance.com, almost a fifth of all car hirers find existing damage to the vehicle not listed on the check-out sheet.

For those unaccustomed to renting a car, just before receiving the keys and driving off, customers are typically shown around the vehicle by an employee. The worker should have a checkout sheet with any known damage to the car records clearly. This could be anything from a small chip in the paint to broken handles inside the car. The customer can check the sheet and compare the damage as they go to ensure there isn’t anything else not listed.

rental car with view

This is important for the customer, as any problems seen when they return the car that are not listed on the checkout sheet may be attributed to them. This could mean charges, insurance, claims, and even legal action in the worst cases.

According to the survey, around a quarter of car hire customers only check for major damage instead of thoroughly inspecting the vehicle, while 43% don’t list any of the damage they see. In some instances, people have reported damage but not listed it on the checkout sheet. If a different employee deals with the customer upon their return, liability becomes hard to prove. 

rental car inspection

It is strongly advised that anyone hiring a car check the vehicle completely, comparing all damage to the checkout sheet and ensuring that everything is listed. It’s also strongly recommended that customers take photos or video of the car both at pickup and return. Having as much evidence as possible is always beneficial should a case emerge down the line. Just under 10% of customers have been able to prove they were not liable for damage by using photos or videos taken of the vehicle.

rental car keys

Older generations are generally better at being more thorough. The figure for checking the car rises to 61% for over 55s, while those renting cars under the age of 34 are only doing so a shocking 27% of the time.

A worrying statistic that may foster distrust in the car rental industry is that 13% of those surveyed said an employee had told them they didn’t need to list any damage to the car on the checkout sheet, and a further 17% were able to return their car without an inspection as an employee was not available.

rental offices

Never return your rental without having it checked first. If circumstances arise where it is not possible, as for it to be noted that no inspection was given but take pictures and video of the vehicle. Evidence is always key.

Over ten percent of those surveyed said they had received unexpected charges on their card after returning the vehicle, while others were charged large sums of money for seemingly small cosmetic damages. 

rentsal agreement

Insurance goes a long way in these situations. Most car rental companies will offer insurance throughout the rental, but it’s often cheaper and safer to buy third-party insurance that has more coverage. These are often cheaper than those offered by the rental companies and can cover damage on often missed spots like the windshield or tires.

signing rental form

Make sure on your next rental that you check everything before leaving the lot. It could save you a lot of money and hassle when you return.

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