How Long Does A Rental Car Company Have To Charge You For Damages?

To begin your journey, you sign a rental car contract and pick up your car keys, only to discover that there was some prior damage that you hadn’t noticed. It’s time to return the car but the question arises How Long Does A Rental Car Company Have To Charge You For Damages? What happens if the Rental Automobile is damaged after you drop it off but before the Rental Car Company performs a final inspection?

How Long Does A Rental Car Company Have To Charge You For Damages?

If they have documentation of a before and after (typically they point out on the contract existing damage), the corporation can charge you for the excess. Whenever or what was indicated on your rental agreement.

If they don’t check the automobile before renting it out, they’re unlikely to charge you because more individuals are involved. When my friend returned a damaged rental automobile, they reported it. The owner shrugged and demanded a box of beers.

Rental Car Company Have To Charge You For Damages

How To Protect Yourself From Rental Car Damage Claims?

If you choose the CDW option while renting a car, you will be insured for any damage to the vehicle. If you deny the CDW, you should take certain safeguards just in case. Before driving away after picking up your car, take a few minutes to inspect it.

Get your phone out of your pocket. Turn on the timestamp function on your camera if it has one. Take photos of every dent ding and scratch on the outside and interior of the vehicle.

Photograph the wheels as well as the windscreen. There is no such thing as a minor pucker, crack, or scratch that should go unnoticed. Don’t believe the rental agent when he says minor dings or scratches one inch or smaller aren’t considered.

You could be held liable for those dings in the future. Unless the car is completely new, there will very certainly be some damage to the document. Request a different vehicle if there are major dents or a lot of obvious damage.

Before you drive away, make a written record of all scrapes and dents. The rental firm should provide you with a document on which you can record the vehicle’s condition.

There will be a diagram of an automobile on which you can mark any dents or damage you find. Do not leave without having an employee sign it, and make a copy for you. When returning the car, don’t just hand the keys over to the agent and walk away.

Take more shots of the vehicles outside and inside. Cover the same ground as when you first picked up the car, and keep an eye on the windscreen. When comparing before and after photos, it’s preferable if they’re almost identical. Request that the Automobile Rental Agent Accompany you on a walk around the vehicle.

Request that the employee sign off on the inspection form you filled out when you picked up the car, indicating that it was returned in the same condition as when you picked it up.

If you’re returning a car and notice any new damage or damage that wasn’t visible before, resist the urge to imply it’s conceivable you caused it. When the corporation evaluates you for the damages, the company may interpret your remarks as an acknowledgment.

Mechanical difficulties, such as if the car overheats and the engine is damaged, are the same. If the staff asks if you were speeding, even if it was only a little, or if you were driving erratically, don’t say anything.

In any case, the automobile shouldn’t have failed in that way even if you were only a few miles over the speed limit or weren’t driving like Grandma. However, if you acknowledge doing anything that even somewhat contributed to the problem, the corporation may be able to sue you for damages.

The same is true if they inquire whether there were any early warning signals of potential issues, which may not have seemed significant at the time but which they can use to bill you for.

If you wish to say something, simply state that you were driving regularly when the vehicle developed an unexpected or unforeseen technical problem. Who doesn’t own a smartphone these days? Take yours out and make a note of the vehicle’s condition before and after you rent it.

Take a close look at the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) and keep track of the miles and fuel level. Do you detect any unusual odors? Say it loud and clear in the video. Don’t be scared to say the automobile stinks like smoke or that it’s filthy. If someone else attempts to pin it on you, that’s your documentation.

Make sure the video isn’t divided up into chunks and is one continuous piece. If the video is broken up into sections, the corporation can claim that the sections that don’t show the car mileage or VIN were shot at a different time or with a different vehicle.

Consult your product’s manufacturer. Keeping a note of the damage before you drive away and the lack of additional damage when you drop it off will help you protect yourself later.

This is especially useful if you need to drop off the vehicle after business hours and no one is available to accompany you on the walk around. It might also save you money on fuel refills if the firm claims you returned the vehicle with inadequate fuel. Are you renting from Hertz? You might be able to repair minor problems right away.

When you have an opportunity, save your images to your computer or upload them to a cloud service like DropBox. Don’t toss these images out until six months after you’ve returned the car. After six months, car rental firms rarely, if ever, submit a claim.

What To Do If A Rental Car Repair Claim Is Unreasonably High?

Just because you’re not informed of damage to the car before you return it, the car rental company may make an excessively high claim. Rental car firms have been known to try to charge you for damage for which they have little or no evidence.

Request a full explanation of the damage as well as photographic evidence. Request a copy of the repair bill. Did the rental business tell you of the damage claim months later?

Request a copy of the vehicle’s utilization log, which contains a record of every rental for that vehicle since you rented it. If the company has rented the car several times since you left it, demand proof that the alleged damage was caused by you and not another driver.

Gather all evidence, images, and letters before asking your own auto insurance or credit card company to handle the claim on your behalf, and preserve a copy for yourself.


Unfair damage fees for chips, dings, dents, odors, and spills cause most consumers to incur unexpected costs. But How Long Does A Rental Car Company Have To Charge You For Damages?  Even if the other driver is at fault and pays for the repairs, the damage is almost always your responsibility and you could be on the hook for the expenditures.

You could still be charged for administrative costs, loss of usage, and value loss. If you’re concerned about these difficulties, the rental car firm may offer supplementary insurance or damage waivers.

Frequently Asked Questions

What happens if I damage a rental automobile and return it?

But what if something goes wrong while you’re renting it? Even if the other driver is at fault and pays for the repairs, the damage is almost always your responsibility and you could be on the hook for the expenditures. You could still be charged for administrative costs, loss of usage, and value loss.

What happens if my rented car is damaged?

Your Collision Damage Waiver will cover any damage to the rental car’s bodywork during your rental. However, it will not cover damage to other elements of the vehicle, and you will be responsible for the cost. Usually, they’ll deduct this from the deposit you left when you picked up the car.

Do I have to pay for any damage to the rental car?

The insurance policy for the rental automobile should cover any damage to your vehicle. If you are at fault, your car insurance will cover rental car damage, or if you are uninsured, the rental company’s insurance will try to recuperate the repair costs from you.

When a rental car breaks down, who is responsible?

Damage caused by the renter is the responsibility of the renter, according to rental agreements. You’ll be insured if you have damage and accident coverage from the rental business or from an independent insurance firm like Sure. You’ll either have to file claims with your insurer or pay out of pocket if you don’t.

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