What to Expect in a Car Rental Contract

When someone rents a car, the automobile rental companies hold the renter accountable under the rental agreement for damage to their car. They offer a Damage Waiver at an extra cost. This Damage Waiver is not insurance, but a contractual agreement between the renter and rental company. If a waiver is not purchased, it is important to review your own automobile policy to determine if any extension of coverage applies. Also, establish how the liability coverage afforded by your policy applies in the event you are at fault in an accident with the rented vehicle. In California, you are required to have auto insurance regardless of whether you are driving your own car or if you are renting one.

Rental car agencies do provide wide range of auto insurance coverage and it would not be prudent to blindly select rental car insurance as every policy offers its individual advantages under particular situations. You should examine each policy so offered and judge it against the requirements you have. It would be prudent to discuss the policy with the car rental agent, rather than just read the summary over the website.

Sometimes you are not required to purchase any car rental insurance because you are already covered by your car insurance. Usually, your coverage does remain the same with a rented car as it would if you would be driving your own vehicle. Also, you could be covered by auto insurance coverage under your credit cards. You should check with your credit card company about the coverage to which you are entitled.

Before you rent a vehicle, check the financial and insurance obligation you will face, and find out how these would be covered by your own auto insurance. In case you do need to exercise your insurance policy and realize that certain aspect is not currently covered, you should check if it would be covered under other insurance policies.

While each rental company will have its own contract, there are some standards that cover the basic areas of every car rental agreement. If the contract has anything different in it, the company is obligated to point this out to you, though it is still a good idea to look through any paperwork before signing it.
A car rental agreement is basically a contract between the lender of the car and the renter who will be using it. These usually favor the lender, but if you pay attention to the extras, you’ll be able to keep things pretty fair.
Standard Requirements from the Renter
Every car rental contract will require the presentation of a valid driver’s license. This is standard. Only drivers whose names are actually on the rental agreement can drive the vehicle . . . if someone else is driving and has an accident, you`ll be liable
for everything, even if you purchased insurance.
Age is another issue. While you can drive at 16, you can’t rent a car at this age. Most states require drivers to be 21 or older before they can legally sign a contract and rent a vehicle. This does vary somewhat, though and if you are traveling outside the country, you will want to find out what the standard age is.
Contract Sections Dealing with Potential Problems
There is always the risk that a vehicle will get dinged or even destroyed while in the renter’s hands. For this reason, there is usually an optional insurance that you can purchase at the same time as you rent. Many people actually have this covered under their usual auto insurance, so check this first, before buying extra insurance.
Any tickets, speeding, parking or otherwise, that are incurred during the lease of the vehicle will need to be paid by the renter. Any damage is usually fined, so it pays to take a walk around the vehicle and point out any damages that are already in existence. Be sure these are marked and signed on the contract so you have proof that they didn’t occur while you were driving.
There should also be well laid out consequences for things like returning the vehicle late or with an empty gas tank. Returning the car to a different location than where you rented it is something that often comes with a fee, as well. Be sure to read this part carefully, since you can save quite a bit of money by paying attention and making sure that you bring the vehicle back in
the proper condition.
Possible Restrictions of Use
Every contract will tell you how you can use the vehicle that you are renting. Most won’t allow you to cross a border or go off-roading. Some areas will have very specific rules, while others will depend on the type of vehicle that you are renting. Some companies will allow you to use only up to a certain number of kilometers or miles within the time period specified. If you go over this limit, you`ll end up paying premium prices. This makes it cheaper to stay in the area.
It’s important to always read through the
contract before you sign it, just in case there are any surprises. You won’t have any defense if you just don`t read it. Most rental forms are fairly short, so you don’t need to waste too much time checking it and learning about what your responsibilities are. This also prepares you for the possibility of problems, since you will already know how these are commonly dealt with. Car rentals are a great convenience and it helps to understand the contract.