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What Happens If There Is Damage to My Rental Car?

Checking for damage

If you damage the car while it is in your possession, ensure that you notify the car rental provider as soon as possible. Unfortunately, regardless if the damage was your fault or not, you will be charged. You can purchase rental vehicle excess insurance to avoid this from happening. If you purchase insurance, you will be covered for the cost of damage to the vehicle up the excess amount. You will first need to pay the cost, however, you will be reimbursed.

When You Pick Up the Vehicle

When you first pick up your rental car ensure that you check the car for any damage. You will be given a vehicle condition report where you can list any damage on the vehicle. By doing this, you are notifying the car rental company of any issues before you have driven the car which means you will not be charged for that damage. You can also take photos of any damage so you have proof.

When You Return the Vehicle

Once the vehicle has been returned, the car rental company will assess the car for any damage. If there is anything wrong with the vehicle, the estimated cost will be charged to your credit card. If the cost changes, you may be reimbursed for any excess. If you are unable to be there for the inspection, the car rental company will let you know about any damage with images. You will then be charged on your credit card for the cost to fix the car. Keep in mind that if you had taken the car to any areas that are prohibited, any insurance policies will be void and you will be liable for any cost to fix the car.

Read more about the process of picking up a rental car.

For example:

John Damaged His Rental Car...

John picked up his car rental from a depot in Auckland. Once he was given the keys, he made his way to the car. In the parking lot, John was reversing his car to leave the car park until he accidentally reversed into a concrete wall. He had broken the back bumper and rear headlights. He immediately went back to the car rental desk and told them what had happened. The cost of the damage was assessed to be $3,000. John's car rental excess was $4,500 which was stated in his car rental agreement. Because he did not purchase insurance, he had to pay the full $3,000 to fix the damage.