Maybe you are at fault, maybe the other driver is, but that doesn’t matter right now. What matters now is what happens when you damage your car. You just go and fix it right? 

What about rental cars, sometimes even a luxury Sedan? Well, the procedure is a little different since it’s not yours but the company's car.

In this article, we are going to cover what happens if you scratch a rental car, from some small scratches to severely damaged rental cars, and what to do.


The Initial Panic

Rental car scratch can be a really nerve-wracking experience especially if you rented a high end car. The first thing that comes to your mind after you notice the mark on the car is panic, and it's a normal human response, so try to calm down. 

When that happens and you are in a state of panic you might ask yourself a million questions. Questions like “Will I be charged a lot for this? How will I explain this to the car rental company? Will I get my security deposit back?” These are all valid fears, but fear not, we are going to cover the whole procedure.


Understanding Rental Car Insurance

First steps in navigating the aftermath of the incident you had in a rental car is to understand the rental car insurance policy that you have signed. Car rental companies offer a lot of different options and your credit card or personal car insurance provide some coverage as well.

Believe us, in these situations where there is damage to the car, we all want the most expensive insurance. So, better be safe than sorry.


Assessing the Damage

When the panic goes away and you are thinking straight, it’s time to assess the damages. It can be just a superficial scratch or it can be something that really did some damage on the vehicle. Whatever the situation is, it would be best to take pictures from a lot of angles. That can also be helpful documentation if you are planning to file an insurance claim.


Reporting the Incident

After all that, when you are calm and you have assessed and documented the incident it’s time to contact the company that rented out the vehicle to you and notify them about the incident.

Also, many car rental companies require you to notify them about any and all damage that occurs on the vehicle in order to protect their future renters and the interest of the car rental company. 

Remember that it’s for your best to be transparent and honest as the staff in those companies are also humans and we all make mistakes. But, if you lie and they found out it can be much worse for you financially and you’ll probably be banned from that car rental company. 


Rental Agency Response

Once you have reported the incident to the rental car company they will assess the damage that happened to the car and determine the appropriate course of action.

There are about three that are always happening, but it's their car and you have signed the papers so they might think of something else.

1. Minor Damage - No Additional Charges

If the scratch that has occurred is minor, you might find yourself walking out the establishment happy and without any charge. A lot of rental car companies are considerate and know that small accidents happen to everyone so they won’t charge you. 

That way they will get a customer that’s happy and will be back for a really small cost, and you’ll get the feeling of relief.

2. Paying for Repairs

If the scratch is deeper and it requires repairs, you’ll most likely be responsive to covering the costs. Rental car companies usually have their own repair shop and if not they are partners with some local repair shop. 

They will give you an estimate, and then you need to decide to either pay out of pocket or file an insurance claim.

3. Insurance Claim

If you have rental car insurance, you can file for an insurance claim. But, that might not be in your best interest as you can pay higher premiums in the future so it's best to consult someone in the insurance industry to help you out with that decision.


Impact on Your Deposit

One thing often concerns more than others and that’s impact on your car deposit. Car rental companies put a hold on your credit card for the amount of deposit and give it back when the car is returned.

But, if you are found to be liable for the damage they will take that money and fix the vehicle. Of course, if there is any left that is going back to you. 


Lessons Learned

Scratching a rental car is a really unpleasant experience but it’s not the end of the world if it happens. It can be an opportunity to grow and learn. Here are valuable lessons that you can learn:

Be Cautious: It’s always better to drive carefully than recklessly. Even if you are a professional driver you need to account for other drivers that might not know how to drive as well as you and might cause incidents. 

Read the Fine Print: Before you rent a car out, you need to sign some papers. Well, those papers are really important so you’ll need to read them. The most important aspect of that is reading and understanding the rental agreement and insurance terms.

Report Promptly: Never delay reporting damage to the rental agency. If you are honest and transparent about what happened you’ll be treated much more nicely and you’ll be perceived as a good person.

Consider Your Options: When accidents happen you’ll need to consider your options and find what’s best for you. Is it best to file an insurance claim and potentially increase your premium or just pay out of your pocket? There is no right answer, meaning that every situation is different.


Closing Thoughts 

Scratching the rental car can be a very nerve-wracking experience, but, believe us, it’s not the end of the world if it happens. Car rental companies like RealCar are very professional in these situations and you won’t have any problems if you are honest with them. We hope we answered your questions “What happens if you dent a rental car?” and “What happens when someone scratched your rental car”.