Rental Repair

Hi everyone. I have a rental car for about two weeks. Unfortunately I bumped the rear left corner, pretty minor. The tail light has a crack on it, and the paint is scuffed under it. Haven’t had the best of luck lately…

I know that taking it back to the car rental place as is could cost me quite a bit.

I took it to a local body shop and with paint, a new tail light, and labor it would come to $380. I’m good with that, and they can get it done in 2 days.

Thoughts? My objective is to get the done so as not to have a headache, not get hosed by the rental car company, and leave my insurance out of it.


Check out the law and your rental agreement. Are you allowed to repair their car without permission?

Good point. Its what I would do but I’d do it myself and not tell anyone. Otherwise you get stuck with the repair cost plus the rental for the downtime the car is out of commission.

As long as they do a fair job, no one will know or care. They use those cars up pretty fast and get rid of them quickly, no one will be the wiser.

If you rented it with a credit card, especially American Express, and possibly Visa, it might be automatically covered by your credit card company. Contact your credit card company if you used a credit card to rent the car.

This should serve as an example of why it is often a good idea to pay extra for insurance when you rent a car. Even if you don’t have an accident, rental companies often try to stick you with damage that was there previously, which is why I am careful to note all damage before I leave the lot, and take pictures of previous damage with my cell phone, even something as minor as scratches.

Sounds like you refused the comprehensive insurance they offered you…I don’t blame you, it can cost almost as much as the rental itself…So yeah, for $380, go for it…Be SURE the repair shop can do it in the stated time…

Some of the less reputable companies have been known to charge the rental fee for days of service lost during vehicle repair. If you call anonymously and ask about your what if situation you might get some insight in the best course of action.

“If you call anonymously and ask about your what if situation you might get some insight in the best course of action.”

Just remember that many businesses have caller I.D., so it is possible that the OP couldn’t actually remain anonymous. Personally, I would just go ahead with those repairs. More than likely, nobody will ever notice the repairs–especially if they are done well.

Check with your credit-card company - you may be covered with them. I do a lot of rentals (10+ a year)…and any accidents is covered under my credit card…or the companies credit card.

Can the rental car company find out via VIN number look up? I’m not familiar with VIN numbers and if that’s possible
Thanks so much for all the replies!!

I’d tell the rental company and see if they’ll work with you.
Tell them your offer to have it repaired.
ask them how much they’d charge you.
It could be that their charge may be less due to their having a standing agreement with their bodyshop for all of their damaged vehicles over time.
It also could be that, due to a multi vehicle repair schedule , they don’t want if fixed at this time.

I’d take the offer from the body shop and keep my mouth shut.