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Rental Cars - Responsibility for Break-downs?

Rental Cars - Responsibility for Break-downs?

Dec 16th, 2013, 05:51 AM
Original Poster
Join Date: Oct 2007
Posts: 417
Rental Cars - Responsibility for Break-downs?

When I rented a car recently from Thrify at MCO, I asked for the # to call if the car broke down. I was advised that I was totally responsible for the car.

I took the car anyway, but upon returning home, I posted on another travel site & questioned the remark. On that site I was advised that the customer is responsible for the towing & repairs & the company would not bring them another car - unless I took out the rental car company's roadside maintenance. Really?????

I trust Fodorites for the best info. Is this really true? I've never been asked to take out the maintenance pkg & have never heard of anyone doing so. How can someone rent a car & expect the renter to maintain (except for accidents, of course)? Why would the companies ever maintain the cars - just make the customer do it!!!

I'm freaked out by this - I could not afford large towing & repair costs, but will be traveling again & will need to rent a car. I'm sure the company's pkg is expensive. Is this the same as the "insurance" they try to sell that is about the daily cost of the car? I never get it because my ins agent said I am covered & my credit card covers for "loss of use" - which my agent said the car company would not legally get anyway.
JulieAgain is offline  
Dec 16th, 2013, 08:14 AM
Join Date: Oct 2005
Posts: 64,991
Don't you belong to AAA or another roadside recovery plan? What would you do w/ your own car?

But IME whether a rental has roadside recovery depends on the company. I haven't bothered checking Stateside in several years since I have AAA and most of my other car rentals are in the UK where roadside assistance is invariably included.
janisj is online now  
Dec 16th, 2013, 06:09 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
So if the car burns out a headlight, or the AC quits working, you are responsible for the fix cost?

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 16th, 2013, 06:13 PM
Join Date: Apr 2005
Posts: 5,215
(USA) My wife recently had a Hertz rental and it blew a tire. She had to pay for a new one. (Our AAA took care of the towing).

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 03:24 AM
Join Date: Nov 2005
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Windshield and tires are not covered by CDW insurance, you might be able to pay extra to cover those.
Odin is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 05:38 AM
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cary999, did your wife pay for the Hertz insurance & that insurance just didn't cover "tires", or did she not pay for it at all? I would be real upset if I had to return a rental car with a brand new tire that I paid for!!! Shouldn't their original tire be in good enough condition to repair, rather than replace?

janisj, yes, we have AAA. But once AAA tows the rental car, my concern is whether we have to pay for the repairs - according to the Thrifty agent, we do - that seems bizarre to me. People rent a car & pay for a working vehicle, but then if it doesn't work that person has to pay thousands of dollars for repairs - an engine, transmission, etc.???? Like I said, why would the rental companies even bother to service the cars - just let them break down on a customer!

Plus, I'm paying for a working car, but must do without one while it is waiting to be repaired (who knows how long that will be) - maybe missing my hotel reservation arrival requirement, & definitely missing out on some of my trip?

Odin, what is CDW insurance? Is that what the rental companies sell? If so, do you know what else is excluded?

I wonder if the credit card companies' coverage takes care of these repair charges?

I don't like playing Russian roulette with my money! But then, I need rental cars! I imagine most customers are not aware of this issue & the risks they are taking.
JulieAgain is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 06:14 AM
Join Date: Jul 2007
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CDW = Collision Damage Waiver - it covers physical damage to the vehicle you rent whether that damage is caused by you or others. And, yes, you can purchase it from the car rental company. FYI - CDW is different from Liability Insurance which insures you against injury or damage to other people or property.

As for your question "Shouldn't their original tire be in good enough condition to repair, rather than replace?" - the answer depends on what caused the tire to fail and where on the tire the problem occurred. For instance a nail that pierces the sidewall of tire is sometimes not repairable since the "patch or repair" may not be able to hold up to the strain/temperatures generated during normal driving. I've had that happen to brand new tires on my car.
RoamsAround is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 10:40 AM
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Posts: 1,535
I rented a car with Enterprise once and got a nail in the tire.

They paid to replace the tire (and told me which tire store to take it to; the store billed them directly) even though I didn't take their insurance.
Cranachin is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 05:59 PM
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re my wife's flat tire on a Hertz rental, no she did not take any additional Hertz insurance. That can double the price of rental!! Her credit card and regular car insurance covered her for usual property liability stuff.

I think the tire should have been covered by Hertz. What if the transmission blew, who's responsible for that? The rental cost should cover car bumper-to-bumper.

regards - tom
cary999 is offline  
Dec 17th, 2013, 09:38 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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Thrifty is just trying to get you to buy their insurance - it is a major revenue stream for them. If damage occurs because of something you did or neglected to do, of course you would be responsible. But if the car has a mechanical failure they are responsible to fix it.

As to your original question - if you should encounter a problem with a rental car just call the main national 800 number and they will route you appropriately.
Seamus is offline  
Dec 18th, 2013, 12:41 PM
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Thanks everyone for your help. My mind is eased. I am back to renting cars with some piece of mind.

Besides what you guys shared, I talked with the Roadside Assist dept at Thrifty & a counter person at Hertz.

If I don't buy rental car company's insurance & the car has a mechanical problem, not damage due to customer or accident -

1. Call # on rental docs (as mentioned in above posts).
2. They will tow another car to me, get me on my way, & then tow back the "broken" car.
3. I am responsible for roadside assist for a battery jump start, & tire change.

It is possible I must pay for tire replacement if it is damaged due to nail, hitting a curb, in other words the result of driving, not a defective tire (as mentioned in above posts).

So, regarding our (DH & I) buying insurance from the rental company, we will not -
1. Our insurance covers the rental car/liability, etc. same as covers our car. There is a deductible, but we can cover that IF would ever happen.

2. Our credit card (Visa) covers "Loss of Use" charges by the rental car company.

3. Our AAA membership covers roadside assist, including the battery & tire issues.

Thanks so much to everyone for the help.

JulieAgain is offline  
Dec 27th, 2013, 08:27 AM
Join Date: Apr 2003
Posts: 12,105
If you have an Amex card, you can purchase "premium" coverage for car rentals....it ranges from $18 to $23 PER RENTAL (not per day). They cover most situations other than the driver putting the wrong gasoline into the car or being negligent in other ways. They cover "fees" that the rental company includes that other credit cards do not consider "damage". (For instance your Visa may cover damage to the car but not the $150 'administrative fee' that Avis tacks on). Some credit cards cover "damage" to the car, but not the "7 days out of service charge" that the car company tacks on.

Also, with the standard Visa or Amex "collision" coverage, you must first go through your own car insurance , pay the deductible etc, and possibly have your rates go up because of your accident. Not so with the premium Amex coverage.

If you happen to take a long vacation.... note that some credit cards only cover rentals of 15 or 21 days. Regular Amex cards cover rentals up to 30 days, and "premium" Amex coverage goes up to 42 days, I believe.
clarkgriswold is offline  
Aug 12th, 2014, 08:58 AM
Join Date: Aug 2014
Posts: 1
I can tell you what will happen if the transmission goes out... you will be stranded in the woods outside of Houston for four hours, in June, then 6 weeks later Hertz will send you a bill for $1500 saying you are responsible.

They will NOT automatically send you a replacement car. In fact, the first tow truck they sent me thought he was there to do a jump start, even though I very clearly started the car with the customer service rep on the phone with me. I was only when I went into major snark mode that they sent a replacement out to me. I nearly missed a flight because of their shenanigans.

Take lots of pictures of the interior and exterior of your car before and after your rental. Apparently, I should have also crawled underneath and taken pictures...

There are infinite stories on the internet of people being charged for damages months later. I wonder how many people are being charged for the same damages?
jackobanzi is offline  
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