Car rental - Disputed claim

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If you’re renting a car, you will most likely have to take out insurance to cover any accidents that may happen. Most car rental firms offer their own insurance policies.

While the level of protection you’ll get depends on the policy you take out, here is some general advice that you should always consider:

  • Take an inventory, making note of any existing damage. Photograph everything where possible – this will help if you need to make an insurance claim.
  • Always get a signed copy of an inventory from the rental company. This will avoid any nasty surprises that may occur when you go to bring back the car.
  • Be careful when you leave any valuables in your car. If thieves break in without leaving any visible signs of forced entry, the insurance company may think that you left the car unlocked – and this has been known to cause problems for consumers in the past.
  • Always read through the terms and conditions of your insurance to check exactly what it covers. Some insurance policies may feature exclusions that might come as a nasty surprise when problems occur.

Based on Resolver’s experience to date, if you feel that the conclusion of your disputed claim is inaccurate you should contact your insurer and ask for an address for customer services, and write giving clear details of your case - such as what happened, when, and why you think you think the conclusion is inaccurate. Send this letter by registered mail, and keep a copy of it for your records. Resolver can assist you in submitting this complaint, and in escalating matters further if it becomes necessary.

You should know

Car rental companies have to give clear terms and conditions, transparent pricing info, and a full explanation of their liability and waiver cover. In fact, all charges should be made clear to you upfront.

You should always take a full inventory and get the car hire company to sign off on everything – even if the company tells you it isn’t necessary.

If you decide to take out extra cover, it’s best to make sure that the cover is in the same name as the lead driver. This could avoid a number of potential pitfalls in the future.

Car hire companies should invoice you for any charges incurred. In some cases, they may debit money directly from your account – they should make efforts to notify you beforehand.

If you do have to dispute a charge, you should always try to do it within 14 days.

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