Hire car customers urged to be vigilant over damage

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If you're planning on renting a car on your holidays this year, be sure to thoroughly check the vehicle for damage before you sign on the dotted line; a new survey commissioned by rental car insurance provider icarhireinsurance.com found that 25 per cent of customers have found damage to the car that was not recorded on its collection check-out document.

This can leave hirers liable for anything that happens to the vehicle, from a minor car park scratch to a full loss, meaning they have to shell out an excess which can be as much as £1,500.

An excess insurance policy can be bought to guard against this, but can cost as much as £27 per day if bought through a car rental company.

The survey found that only four in ten people will check the wheels and tyres – the areas most likely to sustain minor damage – before signing for a vehicle.

Customers are also urged to check the roof, windows and undercarriage of rental cars, where damage is not so easily spotted, as these areas are often not covered by rental desk excess waivers.

Also ensure that your car is inspected on return. 33 per cent of customers had simply dropped of the keys without having the car checked over as their wasn't a member of staff available. This leaves them open to being wrongly accused of damaging the car, something that 6 per cent of rental customers said they've experienced.

"When you pick up a hire car it's essential to check it over thoroughly and note every mark, no matter how insignificant on the checkout sheet, including any damage and scuffs to the wheels," said Ernesto Suarez, founder and CEO of icarhireinsurance.com

"We see plenty of people getting charged for minor wheel damage or scratches on the bumper which they know were on the car when they picked it up but unfortunately were not noted on the paperwork when they collected the vehicle.

"Sadly in the modern world of vehicle rental this is tantamount to writing a blank check to the rental desk."