Driver education is key to reducing rental damage chargesJoe Howick
Damage charges have been a highly contentious issue within the rental industry for many years. For companies with high rental volumes that deal directly with the rental suppliers, this can become an administrative and financial burden. So what can companies do to address this issue?
Driver education is key to reducing damage disputes. Make sure they understand what is expected of them in terms of inspecting the rental vehicle for damage and what to do in the case of damage occurring whilst the vehicle is on-hire.
Always carry out a thorough inspection of the vehicle’s tyres, alloys, interior and windows for damage as well as the bodywork. Any marks or dents need to be added to the rental provider’s pre- and post-rental inspection forms and a signature provided.
If the driver can’t be present for the inspections, they need to nominate a colleague or family member to do it for them, depending on the delivery and collection locations.
Don’t feel pressured into signing the forms if the rental staff are in a hurry – take your time and ensure all damage is noted. If the vehicle is delivered in low-light and/or wet conditions carry out an inspection as soon as the conditions allow for it. If you spot any damage that wasn’t noticed during the initial inspection, let the rental supplier know about it immediately.
Damage can often occur at the end of a hire when the vehicle is parked on a street or in a car park awaiting collection. Taking photos of the vehicle with your mobile phone after you’ve parked it can help to highlight any non-fault damage if it occurs during this time.
In terms of insuring the vehicle, most of FleetEurope’s customers (89%) prefer to use their company’s own insurance (COI). For corporate users that do not have COI available, rental suppliers normally provide comprehensive motor insurance with policy excesses that vary depending on the vehicle group chosen.
Weigh up the options carefully before deciding what’s best for your business and check the terms and conditions of rental thoroughly before signing the rental agreement. Confirm with the rental supplier everything that is included within your rental cover and, more importantly, what’s excluded.
During the last 12 months alone FleetEurope has seen a 3.9% damage rate, handling a substantial number of claims directly with rental suppliers on behalf of our customers. Seven out of 10 of those claims were valued at £500 or less to repair.