Here’s a scenario: You get into a car accident and your car is out of commission for a couple of weeks. Good thing you have rental coverage on your insurance policy.
So you go to the car rental company that the insurance company contracts with (which just so happens to be the same car rental company just about every insurance company contracts with). They don’t even have any vehicles comparable to your own vehicle which is a SUV. So they stick you in a Chevy Malibu. The rental car employee inspects the car in your presence and supposedly finds no dings or scratches on the car. You don’t notice any either but then again, you’re not looking on the roof or on the window. Then again, you don’t notice the employee looking on the roof of the car either.
Two weeks later you finally get your vehicle back. Upon returning the rental you start to get the run around from the rental agent that “your insurance hasn’t authorized payment on the rental” and “we haven’t been able to get in touch with your insurance company”. Then they begin pointing out all these scratches all over the vehicle, which supposedly weren’t there when you rented it. There’s even a scratch on the roof of the car. The employee actually has the nerve to ask if you have taken a shovel to the roof of the car to remove snow. Why would you do that? You don’t even do that to your own car. This guy’s an ass for even accusing you of doing such a thing.
You’re asked what happened to the car. How the hell would you know? You’ve had the damn car for two weeks and have gone back and forth to work, to the store, to other various places. If any of this damage they’re accusing you of occurred while in your possession, how could you possibly know exactly where and when and how it happened? The rental company forces you to file a claim with your insurance company right then and there. More money gone from your pocket into theirs. This is how these rental companies work.
As someone who worked within the insurance industry for many years, this scenario is very common. Both insurance companies and rental car companies may say they hark on good customer service but mainly what they’re interested in is making money. And when they see an opportunity to make money, they will do it. If I had a dollar for every person who is forced to file an insurance claim with their company for damage to a rental that was allegedly discovered upon return, I’d be sitting on a beach somewhere sipping Mai Tai’s.
A solution to the problem? Something a friend of mine did once. She rented a car. After they went over the details of the car and noted there were no damages, she took pictures of the car with her cell phone while still in their parking lot. The pictures were dated and timed. Sure enough upon returning the car they began accusing her of causing all kinds of damage to the car. A scratch here. A ding there. When they demanded she call her insurance company, she whipped out her phone and showed them the pictures she took. With the date and the time stamped on them. In their parking lot. Guess what? The scratches and the dings that they accused her of causing had already been there. She not only proved them to be crooks but she also saved herself the cost of her deductible and having to file an insurance claim.
So why do rental car companies pull this shit? I believe it’s because they don’t make as much money off a rental set up through an insurance company as they do from someone going on vacation. So they have to make up for the difference somewhere.
Basically it all comes down to money.