Returning to a wrecked rental car after a good day is any renter’s worst nightmare, but hopefully, it never happens to you. But if it does, what can you do to avoid paying for damage like broken doors, broken windows or unnecessary graffiti? What to do if your rental car is damaged.
The best way to prevent vandalism is to prevent theft and damage. Although you can never be sure that an unattended vehicle is safe, there are several ways to reduce the chance of vandalism.
Firstly, make sure your car is parked in a well-lit garage or car park with cameras and security guards, especially if you plan to leave it for an extended period of time. While free street parking is always tempting, you can park in a secure space or garage. Camera footage can be useful if you need to make a police report.
Wherever you leave your car, keep all valuables in the boot and don’t leave things like shopping bags, GPS systems or luggage in plain sight. Also, make sure the doors are locked and the windows are closed. These details may seem obvious, but they are easy to forget when driving a rental car.
Before you leave your car parked unattended, take a picture of it in good condition, which can be useful if you need to make a vandalism claim.
VANDALISED | CLAIM FOR DAMAGES
If your rental car is damaged or destroyed, make a report to the police as soon as possible. Then contact your rental car company to report the incident. You should also contact your insurance company or Credit Card Company and file a claim.
Gather the following documents and information before you make your claim:
- The car rental agreement and license information.
- Name and address of the nearest garage, car park or on-street car park.
- The length of time the vandalism may have taken place.
- Information from the police report
- Photographs of the damage and photographs taken before the incident. Again, it is very helpful to have photographed before and after the inspection. If your camera or smartphone has a timestamp feature, use it.
READ THE FINE PRINT
Although it may seem unfair, without proper planning you may have to cover losses due to theft or vandalism.
The easiest way to avoid liability is to buy commercial insurance, which usually covers vandalism and theft in addition to a collision. Budget customers who do not buy a liability waiver will be liable for damages including theft and vandalism.
If you have not purchased an LDW from a car rental company, you will need to make a claim with your personal car insurance company, Credit Card Company or possibly both, depending on your coverage. To avoid problems, always read the terms of your insurance policy before you drive your rental car.