Tips when handing the car hire back
In fact, getting the process right involves two stages, with the first coming even before you have driven away in it. The safe and secure handover of your hire car is important at the time of both collection and return:
- It is vital to establish and agree with the detailed condition of any hire car when you collect it from the rental company – this provides the baseline against which any subsequent damage might be measured.
- It is a check which you do not want to skip or perform superficially.
- Instead, look for any dent, scratch or ding and mark it on the handover paperwork you and the rental agent subsequently sign.
- In addition to the damage to the bodywork, the Citizen's Advice Bureau recommends that you pay particular attention to the brakes, lights, tyres, the petrol cap, seat belts and windscreen washers.
- For your own security and to back up the agreed paperwork you might also want to take photographs illustrating any damage or missing parts you spot.
- Your hire car is likely to come with an insurance policy against loss or damage, but do not rely on this as an excuse to skimp on the checks when you collect the vehicle.
- The insurance is almost certain to carry a hefty excess, and this is something you may be left paying even if the damage was caused before you collected the car but was not adequately recorded.
- At Bettersafe we provide standalone excess cover for your car hire insurance, but still, impress on our customers the importance of conducting a thorough check of the vehicle when you collect it.
- Finally, check whether the rental agreement refers to the car having a full tank of fuel on collection – if it does, make sure that the tank is indeed full.
- When you return your hire car, any loss or damage again needs to be recorded and compared with the baseline check when you collected it for evidence of your being responsible for that loss or damage.
- Once again, therefore, the inspection needs to be thorough and agreed with the rental company agent with whom you are making the return check-in.
- This is also the time to make a further photographic record of any visible damage and compare it with the one you made earlier.
- This is likely to be especially important if you are returning the vehicle after office hours and not in the presence of any agent with whom you might agree or dispute loss or damage for which you are responsible.
- Many hire companies to have a fuel policy requiring the return of the vehicle with an empty tank – to all intents and purpose this is impossible to achieve, although you have no way of recovering the cost of the fuel you have bought and left in the tank.
- If the rental company determines that you have been responsible for any loss or damage, they are in the happy position of being able to unilaterally charge the credit card you were asked to submit when you collected the car.
- On your arrival back home, therefore, it is important to check your credit card statement and if necessary, pursue any dispute with the hire car company.
Although you may want to return your hire car and quickly get on with the business of travelling back home, it is important to allow plenty of time to inspect the vehicle and carefully record any signs of loss or damage before you finally go.