I came across this article today with tips for Car Rentals. I usually take photographs of my luggage before I fly just in case the airlines loose my luggage but never have thought about taking a photograph of a Rental Car.
Actually pretty good advice in this article but, If I had a rental car with lots of dings and damage as described in this article, etc, I would refuse it. In addition, I always walk the exterior of the car and make sure a RENTAL AGENT documents any damages or blemishes on the vehicle and initials them.
I also take a picture of my car I parked in a parking ramp, showing the location number, when I go on a trip more than a day or two. I have trying to remember where I left the car when I get back. That picture has saved me a lot of walking and frustration, a couple of times!
also good for accidents too. People have been very argumentitive with me after hitting me. I take out my camera for pictures and they change their tune. Even used it once in WDC at the 4th of July celebration when some local teens were throwing firecrackers at us. They ran away [and it was dark out, and no film in the camera].
About five years ago in Kalamazoo, I had a rental car for only three days and Michigan is a no-fault state with no opportunity to call police unless there is personal injury or property damage. I did everything right. Both me and the other guy were on opposite sides parking in a convenience store. I looked and saw and all clear -- he didn't which was obvious when he raced out of his car to ask if I was all right (because his friends had said OMG). I said I was and asked him for his insurance. My rental car back fender was only scuffed, but I didn't want to have to pay for it. I took photos, and provided them to my insurance company and was honest when I checked the car back in.
However, I got screwed because his insurance company called my insurance company after getting my info from the car rental company (I had not given him any of my info since I was not at fault). Then his company called my company; GEICO waived about $110 for me, but I still had to pay about $100. On the phone I asked my insurance agent honestly what I should have done since I thought I had done everything -- until his company suddenly had my info, which he'd never asked for.
The agent admitted I did everything right, but said for a short rental in a no-fault state, you are truly better off with the insurance. While I never need to do so in Europe (personal is included; your credit cards pay for the rest if you refuse any extra coverage), this is good advice for anyone renting for a very short time (mine was 3 days) in the US.
This is a very useful post, vaboywnder. We generally travel to the USA once a year (live in the UK) and seem to get screwed on the car hire fairly often. I have now decided to stick with Hertz and, depending upon the length of hire, take an 'appropriate' level of insurance. After reading all these responses, I may have to rethink my 'appropriate' views.
depending on the state, I have been getting great deals though not from Hertz. Have been back to MI for 2 weekends in a row to celebrate father's day and had a car for $12/day. At that price I hate to ask anyone in the family to come pick me up, as they are probably spending more on gas then what it costs me to get a car. Last week I lucked out with an upgrade to a Prius, so I drove hundreds of miles [family is split at either ends of DTW] and only put 1 gallon of gas into the car....made sure to drive surface streets and not highway.
We rarely seem to be lucky with an upgrade ... if there is one available, it is generally something huge ... we were given a Lincoln Navigator once! I keep booking a Dodge Charger or 'something similar' ... in the words of the rental company. We always get 'something similar' and never the model that we book.
On the bright side, we never have an issue with gas prices in the USA ... we currently pay nearly $10 a gallon in the UK!! Just think, that would have nearly doubled the cost of your rental ...
My 2nd trip back I was stuck in the queue of all the frequent travelers who had been upgraded on the board to Lincoln's but didn't want them because of the cost of gas. I seem to have better luck coming in late at night. They are always out of cars, and checking the inventory to see what is left. In this case I heard them mention the prius which they really hadn't intended on giving me as it was a couple of classes higher, but after explaining I always wanted to drive one to see if I wanted to buy it, and that I am in their frequent traveler program, and using my corporate account, suddenly they were able to process this one time upgrade. During the day, its too busy, with queue's of frequent travelers with higher statuses than me, and they have too many cars in my $12 category so they are not inclined to give it, and I am tired of wasting time hanging out at the car rental lot
We didn't enjoy the Lincoln ... it seemed to wallow and was a nightmare to park. However, our worst rental was in Munich. The car was covered with dents and scratches ... when we complained, we were offered another that was pretty much the same. As tef stated ... I made the agent walk around the car and mark everything on the agreement before we left. When we got back the returns agent took one look at the agreement and just signed us off. I'm not sure how they would have spotted a new dent.
My Frankfurt rental was my nightmare. Paid extra for an automatic as I don't drive a manual. When I got there they had none. Tried offering all sorts of options, all of course manual, and were complaining about me in German, which worked great cause we could understand them but they didn't realize this. Reminded them that I did pay extra, and arranged well in advance. Finally offered me the BMW roadster, also a manual. So I told therm sure, I learn to drive a manual while driving through the mountains in Switzerland and Northern Italy and refuse to be responsible for the state of the vehicle when I return it. More confering, and amazingly they found an automatic Mercedes. It was a hideous fire engine red color but at least we had a vehicle we could share the driving.
No other option. Did take a bit of time, and it was a car company where I am frequent travler, corporate account, etc, etc, so they couldn't just ignore [which is also a possibilty oversea]. Also happened in the South of France, and the people I was traveling with didn't want to wait while I did my song and dance, so I said, okay, but you will be doing all the driving, and they said fine, and off we went. Half way through the trip the complaints started, and I reminded them of their decision, and also offered to go back to the airport and switch the car, and that was the last of the complaining.
We had a rental in Munich many years ago and rented a Mercedes. Paid extra to get the Mercedes. When we got to the rental place, they pulled up an Opel....uh, not gonna happen. After many go rounds back and forth (when my wife yelled at them and she NEVER gets upset or involved in the travel stuff) they fiigured that they better come up with the goods. They brought out a brand new dark green Mercedes with 4 kilometers on it! Of course, in Europe we have to take the insurance (and it's a good idea). Glad we had it because we stayed at the Beau Rivage Hotel on Lake Geneva at the end of the trip and there was no place left to park except under this one HUGE tree on the property. Well, there were a lot of birds that frequented that tree and well, birds will be birds, so let's say they left a few (hundreds!) droppings. Now, we had the car washed (had to, couldn't see) and remember it was dark green and brand new....well it was polka dotted now. Like I said....glad we had the insurance......