The following was copy and pasted from a post I made on another forum that may or may not be useful for you. Tips
Note every defect on vehicle inspection form.
Take photos (or video) of exterior and interior of vehicle at pickup and return.
Read everything you can on Elliot.org about car rental in general so you know what to watch out for. http://elliott.org/frequently-asked-questions-about-car-rent
... http://elliott.org/tag/car-rental/ https://www.google.com.au/search?sourceid=chrome-psyapi2&ion=1&espv=2&ie=UTF-8&q=site%3Ael...69i57j69i58.9920j0j7
There is no such thing as zero excess. The following items (possibly only in USA) aren't covered by basic insurance or in some cases by any sort of insurance offered by the car rental companies:
Underbody damage including rocker panels
Overhead damage, ie roof
Tyres, wheels and wheel covers
Uninsured driver of other vehicle even if you have taken out basic cover. You have to get UMP - Uninsured Motorist Protection
Loss of value due to damage
Transport to and from repair centre
Loss of income while vehicle is off road being repaired
Recovery after accident. Even if you take out Recovery insurance it only offers USD1000. At $10/mile you have 100 miles of recovery which will barely get you out of LA. Because most car rental operations are franchises the damaged vehicle has to be returned to where it was rented. If the accident for example takes place in Seattle which is 1100 miles from LA even with their insurance it will cost $10,000 to return vehicle. You need to get third party unlimited distance recovery insurance.
Fee recovery fees (Not a joke)
The above list is written from memory. I have a document that lists all (that I know about) TLAs (three letter acronyms) used by car rental company insurance and what (I think) they mean plus all the additional fees and charges they can slug you with. It is a much longer list than the one above. You need to do your own very thorough research.
When you rent a car you are giving the car rental company unfettered access to your credit card.
When you are dealing with a, say $50,000, vehicle you need to be as sure as you can be that you are protected against losing a very large sum of money.
You can protect yourself to some extent by checking and photographing the vehicle at pickup and return and by researching what is and isn't covered by the insurance packages and taking out third party cover where needed to cover any (large) gaps but ultimately, unless you want to stay indoors forever, you have to accept that there is risk in life and get on with it.
Just don't think that car rental companies are altruistic organisations that are there to provide you with worry free access to a car. They are profit driven monsters that will do anything they can to gouge you.
------------------- Car Rental Check List
I have pasted my car rental check list below. Critical items that you may be charged for if they aren't noted on vehicle condition report are in bold. Pickup
Find out which make and model is being offered before allowing rental document to be produced. If you don’t like vehicle make and model see if you can get a different type. What isn’t covered by insurance? Take photos on pickup and return. Return fuel policy. Refuel immediately. Before Return
Refuel before you return vehicle as close to return location as possible. Take photos of location, odometer and before and after fuel gauge. You must get receipt.
If return is to be after dark take photos of vehicle in daylight. Return
Take photos of vehicle.
Get rental office to thoroughly check vehicle and sign that no further claim for damage will be made.
□ Bonnet release
□ Bonnet catch
□ Oil leaks
□ Battery fluid
□ Battery tie down
□ Windscreen washer fluid
□ Brake fluid
□ Automatic transmission fluid
□ Power steering fluid
□ Bonnet strut
□ Release in vehicle
□ Release in boot
□ Lock – keyhole and secure
□ Gas lift struts
□ Spare tyre inflated and lockdown
□ Tools – jack, handle and wheel brace
□ Carpet on floor and sides
□ Tyres – tread, same type
□ Wheel nuts
□ Wheel trims
□ Wheel arches
□ Under body
□ Paintwork on doors, bonnet, boot, roof and bumpers – look for chips, dents, scratches
□ Windscreen, side windows, rear window – look for chips and cracks
□ Windscreen wiper blades
□ Light lenses
□ Licence plates and sticker validity
□ Fuel door release and lock
□ Fuel cap
□ Door locks and door closing
□ Rear view mirrors and surround
□ Seat material and adjustment
□ Head restraints
□ Seat belts
□ Carpets in front and back
□ Ceiling lining
□ Starting and idling
□ Gear selector
□ Hand brake
□ Vehicle manual
□ Air conditioning
□ Fan and vents
□ Radio and CD player
□ Note mileage
□ Instrumentation lights
□ Warning lights
□ Fuel level
□ Window winders
□ Door handles and locks
□ Door lining
□ Windscreen wiper operation
□ Windscreen washers
□ Remote locking
□ Cruise control
□ Cigarette lighter
□ Ash tray
□ Cup holders
□ High beam
□ Low beam
□ Brake including high level
□ Front indicators
□ Rear indicators
□ Indicator repeaters
□ Number plate
□ Ceiling light – all positions, all doors
------------------------------------------------- More on Car leasing in France
- just a bit more detailed than what I posted here.
In Europe I lease Renault, Peugeot or Citroen vehicles that are 110% covered.
By that I mean:
None of the above fees / gotchas apply. A few years ago on my last day with the vehicle after driving for 4 months completely unscathed from Paris to the Syrian border in Turkey on the Mediterranean I drove up onto a very low concrete bollard in Chartres that I hadn't seen. The rocker panel was bent and the RHS doors wouldn't open. When I returned the vehicle to CDG the next day the check-in guy shrugged and that was that.
If repairs are required they will pay for accommodation and transport to the hotel while they are being carried out.
They will pay for a rental car IN YOUR NAME for the duration of the repairs. I didn't take up this offer a few years ago while I was waiting 2 days for a new wheel to arrive (low profile tyres, alloy wheels and potholes are a bad mix!) because I didn't have the French skills and time to be able to understand what the insurance would and wouldn't cover.
If the repairs will take longer than a specified time they will transport you back to Paris and give you a new vehicle.