Damages on the car you rented, scratches on the vehicle, what are the direct consequences on your wallet? Can the rental agency retain the entire deposit? Will you have additional fees to pay? A quick tour of the question in a few essential points.
1) Stripes on a rental car: before or after the departure of the agency
Case #1: you notice scratches on the vehicle when it is taken in hand
Any scratches must be mentioned on the contract before leaving the agency, at the risk of bearing the responsibility at the time of the return.
– The day of the withdrawal be vigilant, scan the slightest trace on the body of the car, made the turn and observe it as scrupulously as if you intended to buy it!
– Take the time to take some pictures of the outside parts of the car without forgetting the rims!
Case #2: the bodywork was scratched during the rental
Be aware that damage to the vehicle during the rental is your responsibility.
– If you had a collision with another vehicle, be careful, write down the accident report carefully. It is the insurance of the responsible driver that will pay the repair costs.
– If no third party is identified: you will be held responsible for the scratches and their repair. You will then be required to pay the repair costs up to the amount of the deductible. If the repair costs are higher than the deductible, the insurance will cover the difference.
2) The different types of scratches on a rental car
Case #1: “I slightly scratched the vehicle”.
In this case, if the repair costs are less than the amount of the deductible, it will be up to you to honor them.
Case # 2: “I made significant scratches on the rental car”.
In this case, if the repair costs are higher than the deductible amount: you will have to pay the total amount of the deductible. The damage allowance is usually between € 700 and € 3,000 depending on the type of vehicle. Beyond this amount, the insurer will take over.
Case #3: “I damaged the underbody or roof of the vehicle”.
These parts of the vehicle are excluded from the insurance included in the rental. The deductible will not apply and you will have to pay for the full repairs.
Case #4: “I damaged the bodywork of a utility”.
In the case of a utility, the logic remains the same except for one case. Indeed, if you have scratched the upper part of the vehicle, above the windshield and / or on the roof, the agency may charge you additional fees that may be added to the non-return of the deposit.
3) How much will the deposit be debited?
Theoretically, and unless your contract has specific clauses, the rental agency will charge you the repairs and will return your deposit once they are paid.
However, be careful, the agency must provide you with quotes for repairs. If you think that the bill is abusive, you have the possibility to call an expert.
4) Stripes on a rental car: what insurance to take to avoid unpleasant surprises?
Extended warranty damage: it offers you an optimal guarantee in case of damage on the vehicle, especially on the bodywork. It covers, among other things, the damage done under the body of the car or on the roof.
Collision insurance: it covers all the damage committed on the vehicle except those caused on the top or the bottom of the vehicle.
Franchise Redemption: This additional insurance allows you to reduce the amount of the deductible remaining at your expense in case of damage to the vehicle, including scratches. This additional insurance is billed by the renter in the form of an additional sum on the rental price (for example 7 euros per day and more on the rental price).
Payment by Prestige credit card: some prestigious cards such as Visa Premier, Gold or American Express bear the franchise redemption fee.
Our advice: If you pay for the car rental with a “Prestige” credit card (Gold, Premier, American Express …) it will be useless to take out additional insurance offered by your renter! Ask your bank about the warranty conditions it offers. Attention, the number of claims supported is limited to 2 per calendar year for a Visa Premier for example!