With Britons looking forward to summer holidays in the approaching weeks, recent research has highlighted the importance of being extra vigilant when collecting the keys to rent cars at airports.
A survey of 1,000 individuals who rented a vehicle in recent months revealed that just about a fifth had found scratches, dents or kerbed wheels on collection that weren’t noted on the handover document given to them at first of their holiday.
Failure to boost these issues with rental company staff before driving off puts you vulnerable to picking up a big repair bill for damage you have not caused to a hire automobile.
Keep your wits about you whenever you collect a rental automobile: A fifth of hirers say the find damage on a vehicle after they are given the keys – but not raising this with staff could end in big bills
The poll conducted on behalf of insurance provider iCarhireinsurance found that greater than half of those surveyed imagine rental firms often charge customers for damage to cars that was already there before they collected the keys.
Meanwhile 13 per cent said that they had previously received unexpected charges after they returned a automobile at the tip of their rental period, with 9 per cent also receiving unexpected charges on their card.
One in 20 claimed they have been charged tons of of kilos for what they considered to be a small amount of harm to a vehicle, for example single bodywork scratches or chips within the windscreen.
Yet the findings of the report suggest some holidaymakers aren’t going to adequate lengths to guard themselves from big repair bills from rental firms.
On average, only half of motorists said they check every panel of a hire automobile thoroughly, searching for anything from big scratches and dents to small marks and interior wear and tear.
Older motorists are likely to be more eagle-eyed, with 61 per cent of over 55s saying they meticulously check for any signs of external damage before driving away. That compares to only 27 per cent under the age of 34, the report found.
Every handover document issued to a hirer after they collect a automobile could have a damage record documented in a diagram just like the one pictured above. Make sure that you check all itemised records thoroughly – and ensure any prangs not noted on the shape are raised with staff
Some take the identical approach on the within the vehicle, too, with a median of 46 per cent checking seats, plastics and the condition of the carpets.
Almost two in five also check the tyres – rising to half in terms of hirers over 55 years of age.
Worryingly, almost 1 / 4 admit to only searching for major or obvious damage before driving the automobile for the primary time.
This leaves them vulnerable, with rental firms capable of claim that any small mark could mean an entire panel must be resprayed or a wheel replaced – and it’s going to be the last person to rent the automobile who’s responsible to cough up for the repair bill.
When you find damage, make it known
Also concerning is that 57 per cent of those that do detect damage not listed on the handover documentation provided by the rental firm make an observation of it or raise it with a member of staff before driving away from the airport.
Again, drivers over 55 usually tend to do that (73 per cent), while just one in three younger drivers under 34 say they’ll make a record of pre-existing damage they’ve identified.
It is strongly recommended that any motorists who does hire a vehicle take photos of the front, back and sides of the automobile on collection and before driving it – and the identical when dropping it back to prove there isn’t a recent damage during their rental period.
Nonetheless, just 43 per cent do that on pick up – and even fewer on drop off (41 per cent).
Taking photos and videos of a hire automobile before you drive away is very advisable. This might change into your evidence when disputing a damage claim at a later date
Almost one in five (17 per cent) says additionally they take a video of the automobile after they first get the keys and before they hand them back.
It’s value keeping these images and videos in your device for a number of weeks after you have returned the automobile in case the provider gets in contact at a later date chasing for damage costs that weren’t your fault.
Of the 1,000 people polled, 7 per cent said they’ve successfully used photographic or video evidence to prove to a rental firm that they didn’t cause damage on the automobile.
Take what staff let you know with a pinch of salt
In addition to highlighting all the extra checks drivers ought to be undertaking, icarhireinsurance says motorists also have to be wary of what rental firms tell them.
Worryingly, 13 per cent claimed a member of staff on the hire desk told them it wasn’t mandatory to notice down ‘minor’ damage on the handover paperwork at pick-up, and almost a fifth (17 per cent) returned their automobile without it being checked for damage by a rental company representative because nobody was available on the time.
Some rental firms have also began offering faster ways of conducting damage assessments before driving away that would cause issues for some drivers.
As an illustration, EuropCar now provides the choice at some locations for purchasers to send photos of scrapes and dents not on the handover sheet to them via email inside 12 hours of leaving the depot.
It says that is to ‘save time in returning to the rental desk to report any previously undocumented damage’. The corporate adds that that is ‘particularly relevant when the situation of car collection and the rental desk are a distance away from one another’.
While this might prevent a number of minutes, those that don’t own a smartphone – or usually are not accustom to send photos via email to a recent address using one – should avoid this selection entirely.
We also recommend that you simply at all times raise issues with a member of staff before leaving for full protection.
Worryingly, 13% of individuals responding to the poll claimed a member of staff on the hire desk told them it wasn’t mandatory to notice down ‘minor’ damage on the handover paperwork
Do not get stung with excess waiver cover at a hire desk
When you are one billed for damage you have got – or haven’t – caused to a hire automobile, how much it’s going to cost is dependent upon the extent of insurance you have taken out.
Hire firms should at all times provide basic insurance for damage, theft and third-party liability. Nonetheless, you may still be hit with big fees if this doesn’t cover particular parts of the automobile – and the hirer might want to pay the surplus charge, which may range from £100 to over £2,000.
Excess-cancelling policies for damage, theft and even tyre and windscreen issues will most certainly be sprung on you whenever you reach the hire desk as staff lay it on thick in regards to the dangerous of not taking out this kind of cover.
The hire automobile insurance company says the typical cost of a ‘super damage waiver’ offered on the rental desk is £137, while waivers for theft and tyre and windscreen excess brings the whole to £189.
Nonetheless, you should buy your personal excess cover from a 3rd party provider – like iCarhireinsurance – before travelling, with a week-long European policy costing £35.50. Annual cover for multiple European trips is just £45.
Ernesto Suarez, founding father of iCarhireinsurance.com, said: ‘While you pick up a hire automobile it’s essential to envision it over thoroughly and note every mark, irrespective of how insignificant, on the checkout sheet, including any damage and scuffs to the wheels.
‘We see plenty of individuals getting charged for minor wheel damage or scratches on the bumper which they know were on the automobile after they picked it up but unfortunately weren’t noted on the paperwork after they collected the vehicle.
‘Sadly, that is tantamount to writing a blank check to the rental desk.’
He added: ‘Holiday makers ought to be concentrating on having time, not worrying about additional costs being levied on them at the tip of their holiday, particularly in the event that they are charged for damage they didn’t even cause.’
Our 10 top suggestions when checking a hire automobile for damage
Our first top tip when collecting a hire automobile will not be to rush the handover phase – especially the part whenever you check the vehicle for damage before you allow the airport
1. Don’t rush: Many individuals hiring a automobile will probably be enthusiastic about their trip ahead and wish to get on the road as soon as possible. This will be result in disaster in the event you’re too hasty when checking for damage and miss anything that may later come back to haunt you.
2. Grab a coffee first: When you’ve flown through the night or had a very long journey, you will inevitably be drained. A coffee, energy drink or sugary snack before heading to the rental desk should perk you up before having to conduct vehicle damage checks thoroughly.
3. Make the damage sheet be just right for you: All the time check the vehicle damage sheet on the handover document. Each piece of existing damage ought to be itemised on the diagram of the automobile.
4. Get snap blissful immediately: Before entering or moving the automobile, take a walk-around video or a photograph of the front, back and sides of the vehicle within the automobile parking space. This will later be used as evidence to prove any existing damage was there before you touched it.
Even when damage is recorded on the documentation you have got, take a photograph of it. This may enable you to fight any later accusations that you simply made the damage worse during your period with the vehicle
5. Take pictures even of harm that’s recorded on the document: Take photos of the damage that’s listed on the handover document diagram. A rental firm can still accuse you of adding to an existing scratch or dent with an incident of your personal.
6. Remember to envision for damage inside: Make sure that you check the automobile thoroughly in and out – including the boot. Take photos of any damage that may not listed on the documentation.
7. Found something? ALWAYS raise it before you drive away: All the time make a member of staff aware of any pre-existing damage you have found that may not on the handover document. Ensure they make a record on each your and their copy of the paperwork stating the whereabouts and severity of the damage not previously listed. We recommend avoiding using services where you may email pictures of harm to the rental firm after collecting the keys.
8. Make sure that the automobile is well-lit if it’s dark: When you’re collecting the automobile from a dark automobile park or at night, ask for the vehicle to be moved in order that it’s under a lamppost or street light – this can permit you to conduct your damage inspection in additional detail. When you know you will probably be collecting or dropping back the automobile within the early hours or late at night, a small torch to complement the sunshine in your smartphone may also are available use.
Don’t just take photos of the automobile before you’re taking it away – snap some on return…
9. Take more pictures whenever you bring the motor back: Take photos and videos of the automobile whenever you return it. A member of staff could by chance damage a vehicle when moving it after you have left – these images and videos will act as your protection from any accusations.
10. Don’t delete the photos yet: Keep all photos and videos in your device for a month or two so you have got evidence at hand if the rental firm approaches you with a repair bill at a later date.
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