Should I Report Scratch or Dent on My Rented Car or Hide It?

How Long Does A Rental Car Company Have To Charge You For Damages?

A scratch on a personal car can cause headaches, not to mention a rented one.

While these are somewhat inevitable, it is important to learn various ways to hide such scratches and avoid unnecessary expenses by taking the proper rental steps.

Hand scratching a car with a metal

Returning Rental Car With Hidden Body Scratch? What The Law Says?

If you ever get your rental car scratched, fixing or hiding it before returning carries a certain amount of risk. Legally, it would be a violation and subsequent breach of the rental contract, which could result in a civil suit.

The rental company may refuse the repair, and you will be responsible for the damage costs. As a result, it is preferable to report the scratch from a legal perspective.

However, these are all dependent on the severity of the scratch. In most cases, the rental company will overlook minor scratches.

Hidden significant dents and scratches are unlikely to elicit the rental company’s backlash if the repairs are done correctly.

Nevertheless, it is best to report the hidden scratch as soon as possible to avoid legal complications.

Scratched body of a car

How To Deal With Rental Car Scratches I Did Not Cause?

When renting a car, it is essential and highly advised that you take the Damage Waiver Protection before taking control of the vehicle.

Failure to do so would make you contractually liable for any scratch or damage. 

As a precaution, before driving the car off the lot, point out any scratches and take a picture of it from every angle with your phone. When you turn it in, do the same.

If a third-party motorist caused the scratches while the vehicle was in your possession, notify the rental agency immediately.

Implications Of Scratched Rental Car Without Insurance

The type of scratch determines the implications of returning a rented car without insurance.

Barely visible scratches would elicit no response from the rental company, while major scratches that reach the metal parts will almost certainly provoke a reaction from the company and subject you to repair charges.

Theoretically, the scratch must not be larger than a dollar coin or longer than a foot.

There is a policy known as Unlimited Non-Owned Car Coverage (UNOC) for rental car drivers that provides an additional layer of insurance protection.

Moreover, getting car insurance coverage is always a good idea to avoid complicated circumstances and massive repair costs.

Man inspect scratch on a car

Are There Charges If I Scratch or Dent My Rented Car?

A scratched or dented vehicle has a lower resale value. Damaged cars mean the rental company will lose money by not renting them out while they are being repaired, and you will be charged for this.

The cost is usually subsidized if you fix it yourself but consult the company first.

How Much Does It Cost To Fix A Scratch On A Rental Car?

The cost of repairing rental car scratches is determined by the spot and severity of the blemish.

It also depends on the car model and the location of the repair. The average prices are what would be evaluated here.

Scuffs (surface scratches) typically cost $150-$300 to repair. A deeper one could cost you between $1,000 and $2,500 if you fix it yourself.

Rental companies are notorious for charging a higher rate because they charge you for the cost of initial repairs and time out of service due to damage.

Fuel tank and rare light view

7 Ways To Fix Scratches On Your Rental Car

Follow these 7 simple steps to remove minor scratches from your rented car quickly:

  •  Conceal scratches with shoe polish

Car scratches can be easily concealed with shoe polish. For minor scratches on your rental car, shoe polish works similarly to toothpaste.

This item will only benefit vehicles with darker paint colors. Lighter colors, such as cream and tan, are available in some auto-markets. 

  • Cover up with duct tape

Duct tape is handy when the scratch on the rental car is small and shallow. Its versatility can make surface scratches invisible.

Simply find a close match in color and use duct tape to cover the scratch as evenly as possible. While being smooth, try to avoid wrinkles and other airy lines.

  • You can also make use of nail polish

This can be used in place of shoe polish, and unlike the former, it comes in various color hues. It is worth noting that many nail paints produce a significantly different color after drying, necessitating a brief test before application.

  • Utilize scratch removal pens

Scratch removal pens help fix minor scratches on your rental cars, and they can match any paint color to cover the scratches at a cheaper cost.

These magic pens have no paint as they are designed to restore the clear lacquer applied over the top of the paint on car bodies.

Man fixing a scratched car body

  • Try spray painting 

Spray paint is an excellent choice for covering significant scratches because it is readily available and simple to apply.

However, make sure that the paint color matches the scratch on your rental car. Before spray painting, thoroughly clean the surface and sand it perfectly with fine sandpaper.

After that, you can apply the car spray paint to coax and wax the scratch.

  • Use a sticker or artwork

This technique leans towards the creative side, but hey, it works! If you’re dealing with small dents or scratches, you can easily use a sticker to cover them up.

And for bigger scratches you can make use of a small artwork or painting. 

  • Apply touch-up paints

Finally, and perhaps most notably on this list, are touch-up paints. Touch-up paints come with a color guide for precise color matching.

Your car dealer should be able to recommend a specific color based on your rental car’s VIN, which can be found in the lower-left corner of the dashboard, in front of the steering wheel.

Dented car body

FAQ About Dent on Car I Rented!

How to deal with scratch on rental car Hertz?

Hertz provides a choice for speedy claim resolution at the time of return. Hertz has a Low-Cost Damage Claim Policy through which you can resolve car rental damage claims instantly and is available in rentals nationwide except in New York.

Most of the damage fees tallied by Hertz are far less expensive than any substitute and are remedied on the spot.

What is scratch on rental car Enterprise policy?

Enterprise car policies include a Damage Waiver that covers minor dings, dents, and windshield chips and can be added as an extra layer of insurance to your rental car contract.

If you choose not to obtain the Damage Waiver, you will be personally liable for any necessary repairs.

Would I pay on scratch on rental car Avis?

You most certainly will. The terms and conditions of your Avis rental car contract state that you must return the vehicle in one piece and without blemishes.

Failure to do so would subject you to repair charges, either through the Loss Damage Waiver or out of your pocket.


Every vehicle is susceptible to scratches, and rental cars are no exception. By following the instructions in this guide, you can hide car scratches and avoid unexpected costs when returning your rented vehicle.

Panel beater fixing a scratch car