Author Topic: Car rental problem  (Read 2828 times)

Argyle

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Car rental problem
« on: September 05, 2015, 12:53:35 PM »
I am away from home and renting a car.  And to make a long story short, somebody keyed the car.  I am absolutely sure I didn't cause the damage (though I know that's actually irrelevant) it was parked in a place where no car could park next to it, and I came out to find two long deep scratches on the driver's side.

I did not pay the extra for the rental company's insurance.

So, okay.  I have the mininum of insurance on my own twenty-year-old car, but I made sure that my insurance does cover rental cars, since I'm in a situation where I have to rent several times a year.  However, I don't have access to my policy right now, and my agent's office is closed, it being the weekend.  Searching around on the web, all I can find are statements about collisions and theft, nothing about accidental non-collision damage to the car.  Is this covered under anything?  Is my own insurance likely to cover this?  Or my umbrella insurance?

I know how much these little niggly things cost to fix, so I'm a little bit worried about this, as you can tell, and I'd like some idea of what I'm dealing with before I return the car to the rental company.

Thanks for any thoughts.


DoubleDown

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Re: Car rental problem
« Reply #1 on: September 05, 2015, 02:07:01 PM »
If you carry comprehensive insurance on your policy, it will likely cover this kind of damage to the rental car (will have to check with your individual policy or agent to be sure, of course). You will have to pay your comprehensive deductible, which might be more than the damage, though! If you rented the car with a credit card, they may cover the damage as well or the part not covered by your primary insurance -- for example, they will cover the deductible, leaving you nothing out of pocket.

One thing I would check BEFORE calling your insurance company or telling the rental company is to call a local dealer for that car. Ask them if they have any touch-up paint in that exact color, which they will often give you for free. If the scratch isn't super deep into the metal or plastic, you may be able to repair the scratch so well that no one would ever know it was damaged. I think you just apply the paint, smooth it out, let it dry, buff, etc. Can't hurt to try, the damage is already done. Good luck.

Argyle

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Re: Car rental problem
« Reply #2 on: September 05, 2015, 02:41:24 PM »
I do not have comprehensive on my own car.  I talked over the options with the insurance agent for rental coverage, but it's so long ago that I don't remember what I decided.

Unfortunately the scratches are deep, I'm way out in the country miles from a town, and I have to return the car in less than 24 hours.  And to add to that, it's pouring with rain!  So I think I don't have time or a chance to try the DIY repair, sadly.

That's a great thought about the credit card coverage.  I went over to their site and it gives me a "check back later" message every time I try to get the details.  Not my day, I guess!  But thanks for the reminder that could definitely be a help.

One more question will the rental car company want me to pay money on the spot?  Or how do they handle this kind of thing?
« Last Edit: September 05, 2015, 02:43:44 PM by Argyle »

Dicey

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Re: Car rental problem
« Reply #3 on: September 05, 2015, 07:32:10 PM »
Sorry about this situation, Argyle. Call the CC company instead of surfing their website. If it's a platinum card, you're most likely covered. Lower levels, depends on the issuer. Number's usually on the back of the card.

Did you happen to take photos of the car with your phone when you picked it up? Any chance there were security cameras wherever your car was parked when it was keyed? Good luck and keep us posted.

clarkfan1979

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Re: Car rental problem
« Reply #4 on: September 05, 2015, 07:36:10 PM »
Unfortunately, stuff like this can happen. You will most likely be responsible for the deductible. My friend rented a car last summer for 3 days when he was having his car shipped. There ended up being a hail storm and he had to pay the $500 deductible. It sucks, but it shouldn't happen more than once in your lifetime.

lbmustache

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Re: Car rental problem
« Reply #5 on: September 06, 2015, 11:27:56 AM »
Your CC can probably cover the damage.

I made the mistake of once letting Enterprise deal with the damage on the car (wasn't caused by me). It was like a 1 inch chip on the bumper. They charge for the car being out of service ("lost income") AND diminished value which made the bill over $1100. NEVER AGAIN!

Argyle

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Re: Car rental problem
« Reply #6 on: September 06, 2015, 11:22:18 PM »
Update on what happened.  In bright sunlight the scratches practically jumped out from the side of the car.  But when I got the car back to the rental place, in a parking garage, I noticed that the scratches were invisible.  This made me wonder if they hadn't been there from the beginning, and I just didn't notice them when I inspected the car.  I mean you really could not see a thing.  Very surprising.  Something about the angle of light or something.  So I didn't mention them when I turned the car in, and the guy walked around the car and then said, "Great, looks good, here's your receipt."

Now maybe someone will inspect it further and the scratches will jump out again, in which case they have my credit card number.  But I'm cautiously optimistic that maybe they were old and they're just unnoticeable except in very particular conditions, and I'm in the clear.  Here's hoping!

lemanfan

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Re: Car rental problem
« Reply #7 on: September 06, 2015, 11:41:02 PM »
In my experience, the return inspection is very quick, and small scratches and dents are not to be bothered with.  Of course you can sometimes get a bad company or a person who has a bad day, but in general - if there are no big dents or broken lights - don't bother.

I've even returned a car with the front right parking light missing and they didn't say a word... (it was like that when I got the car, but it was on a big airport rental place so I doub't the staff would remember this particular car).

Even if you have to pay for the occational damage, over time you should save money by skipping insurance.

Dicey

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Re: Car rental problem
« Reply #8 on: September 06, 2015, 11:47:03 PM »
Glad there is a cautiously happy ending. Two things to add after the fact. One, it's always a good idea to use your phone to snap photos all around the car when you pick it up. Two, AMEX has a program that automatically bills you for supplemental coverage when you rent a car. IIRC, it's about $30 per rental, but worth it, should you ever encounter another situation like this. I believe it's available to anyone who has an AMEX, and it's an opt-in program that you can set and forget.