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Old 06.07.2018, 11:46
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Car rental: damage liability and excess insurance coverage

Sorry in advance for the long post. Iím looking for advice and felt details were necessary.

In May, I rented a car in Bern to drive to the Netherlands for a week. It was a great trip with no incidents. Since I was working, the car mostly sat in an underground garage across from my hotel.

A week after returning the car, I got an email notice claiming damage to the rims. The message linked to a questionnaire about the damage, and I filled it out honestly saying I was not aware of damage to the rims. Nothing had happened during the rental. Now, two months later, I get a new email with a repair invoice for over 1000chf. Included was also the estimate from an auto body shop with photos of the damage. On front and rear rims of one side of the vehicle, photos (attached) show a series of dinks in the rim.

I basically drove to and from Eindhoven only stopping for gas in each direction and parked off the street, so I'm sure I didn't scrape against a curb. Iím wondering if they were there all the time, and I never noticed them. I should have check the car better on check out, but I was running late and the rental agent didnít do a once over like usual with me. The damage is minor enough it is hard for me to see clearly on the pictures, so we might have missed them even if we checked more closely. I urge others to learn from my mistake because looking around online I see others complaining about charges from similar damage.

Even if they weren't there when I picked up, there were two other times when the car was not under my control. First on pick up, my car was waiting outside the office but when the agent came out to show me the car, we found drips from the overhanging roof of the office had dripped into an open window and birds had pooped on the car too. He drove it away in a rush to have someone take care of it and came back fifteen minutes later. Second, I returned on a Sunday, so per arrangement I left the car in the unattended lot across from their office. Presumably, someone checked the car in on Monday.

I plan to write an answer to Sixt detailing the above once more and refusing to pay. Then what happen? Iíve read on some sites that the fine print on the agreement makes me liable for anything that happens during the rental period. Some sites warn against returning cars when the office is closed because of this. Is it really possible if I took this all the way to court that a judge would make me pay for minor damages not caused by me that would not effect the rental price or ability of Sixt to rent this car? Differences in consumer protection laws between countries are not clear in web articles I've found on the subject, but Switzerland, in my experience, has never been impressive in this regard which makes me a bit nervous.

I realize Iím also not so clear on the insurance end of this. I thought rentals in Europe included base coverage for accidents unlike in the US, and the additional coverage offered here was more like bumper to bumper. In this belief, I have a worldwide ďexcess coverageĒ from a third party insurer. Am I right or wrong on this? The coverage is a reimbursement policy, so I'll only claim if somehow legally forced to pay (for something I didnít do). I thought I was covered, but now I'm getting nervous about it all.

Anyway, if anyone has experience or expertise they want to share on this topic, I am all ears. Thanks in advance!
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Old 06.07.2018, 11:51
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Re: Car rental: damage liability and excess insurance coverage

full waiver (so you would pay nothing regardless of who or what caused the damage) is an option, so you'd know if you paid it.

sorry, but you'll have to suck this one up, when picking the car up you should go over it with a fine tooth comb and mark all the damage.

When returning the car, if the office is shut, take pictures.

Its a fairly standard 'scam' hire companies use, it was in the press recently too.

And yes, if you took it all the way to court you would more then likely lose, plus they have your credit card info anyway so you're going to be charged one way or the other.

ETA I've owned a mini with those wheels, are they are incredibly easy to damage, the tire offers no protection at all to the side of the wheel
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Old 06.07.2018, 13:14
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Re: Car rental: damage liability and excess insurance coverage

Always take pictures, and if possible let them see you taking pictures.
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Old 06.07.2018, 13:22
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Re: Car rental: damage liability and excess insurance coverage

most credit cards off insurance against rental car damage automatically. buying the insurance from the rental car company is a complete rip off.

i don't even bother to wait for the check in report or take photos any more. about 1 in 20 rentals i get dinged with a charge for a chipped windscreen or damaged wheel. sometimes legitimately and sometimes not. either way, all i need to do is click once on the credit card charge and dispute it and the credit card company takes it from there. usually they end up settling for much less or the rental company drops it, but whatever the result, i'm never out of pocket.

check with your credit card....
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Old 06.07.2018, 14:39
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Re: Car rental: damage liability and excess insurance coverage

Ah, good to know, but in this case, I don't think they will charge my card unless I agree to it. As far as I know, I haven't authorized charges for damage. I don't think I can authorize it then take it back, so I will continue to press them and work my way up the executive ladder as suggested by this forum:
https://forum.elliott.org/threads/ho...ge-claim.1514/
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Old 06.07.2018, 15:01
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Re: Car rental: damage liability and excess insurance coverage

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Ah, good to know, but in this case, I don't think they will charge my card unless I agree to it. As far as I know, I haven't authorized charges for damage. I don't think I can authorize it then take it back, so I will continue to press them and work my way up the executive ladder as suggested by this forum:
https://forum.elliott.org/threads/ho...ge-claim.1514/
I doubt you'd be able to rent a car without authorising them to do so.
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Old 06.07.2018, 15:49
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Re: Car rental: damage liability and excess insurance coverage

That's interesting you say this. Maybe things have changed, but in my lifetime, I've had major and minor accidents in rental cars with and without bumper to bumper coverage. Not once has a rental company charged my cc without explicit authorization. I actually hope they do, so I can ask it to be taken off via my cc company. I can also file a claim with the 3rd party excess insurer to see if they cover it.
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