How Long Does A Rental Car Company Have To Charge You For Damages or Notify Of A Damage Claim Against You Before You’re Charged?

Patrick Oziegbe
Published On:

Are you still wondering how long rental car providers will charge you for damages and looking for first-hand knowledge of what to do in case of damage and how to avoid and deal with rental company?

There are numerous considerations to make while renting a car, including car damage. The vehicle may be damaged before you pick it up or after you drop it off—just before the car rental performs a final inspection. 

In this guide, I will share details about how long it takes for a rental car company to notify of a claim against you – the driver- and related information about Hertz and other major auto rentals.

While male fixing a car body
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Are you still wondering how long rental car providers will charge you for damages and looking for first-hand knowledge of what to do in case of damage and how to avoid and deal with rental company?

There are numerous considerations to make while renting a car, including car damage. The vehicle may be damaged before you pick it up or after you drop it off—just before the car rental performs a final inspection. 

In this guide, I will share details about how long it takes for a rental car company to notify of a claim against you – the driver- and related information about Hertz and other major auto rentals.

How Long Does Rental Car Service Have To Charge for Damages?

The duration specified in your rental car agreement determines how long the service provider will notify you of a claim against a driver. There is no specific time when a car rental company has to charge you for impairment.

Generally, individuals and companies are held to the same standard. It would help if you were notified by the firm about official billings when they inspect the returned rental car, along with evidence of your car before and after conditions. Read what to do if you scratch a rented car!

The timelines for charge claims by top rental car providers in the U.S. are provided below, and they are something you should take seriously with a lot of interest.

  • Avis: Avis rental car processes a claim between 30 and 60 days.
  • Budget: Claims are sent to clients within 30 days but can sometimes take up to 150 days.
  • Thrifty: A rental company with a timeline of 18 hours-30 days is used for making a damaged claim at Thrifty.
  • Hertz: Hertz rental car processes a claim immediately or within the first 28 days.
  • National: Notifying clients of damage claims can take up to 60 days.
  • Alamo: Alamo rental car processes a claim within 30 days.
Company Damage process timeline
Avis 30 – 60 days
Budget 30 – 150 days
Thrifty 18 hours – 30 days
Hertz Instantly – 28 days
National Up to 6 days
Alamo 30 days


What Period Will a Rental Company Notify of a Damage Charged Against You?

Most rental car companies typically take at least 15 days to notify customers of any claims to the rental car. This notification time can be shorter or longer depending on the severity of the impairment. 

Once notified, the driver is usually given a deadline to respond and explain the circumstances you destroyed the rental car. 

It is important to remember that providers reserve the right to assess damage charges when customers return their vehicles, even if the impairment wasn’t visible at pickup time. Moreover, you are safe if you have a Damage Waiver before returning the car rental.

How Does Hertz Demand Vehicle Claims?

Two cars crash into each other
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Hertz charges their customers an immediate fee for reported damage to the rental car, or they allow a 28-day inspection after the vehicle is returned and then issue a bill for any unreported impairment discovered. 

However, if you purchased a rental car Waiver from Hertz before returning the car, you will almost certainly not be charged anything.

This rental company has defined policies regarding charging customers for indemnification. In the event of an accident, Hertz customers must contact customer service and provide photos and a detailed description of the collision to avoid any unexpected charges.

What Happens if You Impaired a Car Rental Company Autos with Insurance?

If you cause damage to the insured rental car, a claim will be filed with your rental insurance provider for any repairs up to the hiring company’s policy limit. 

You may also be charged additional fees if the company determines that the collision exceeds the deductible of your insured policy. 

It is advised that you purchase a Loss DW to protect yourself from financial losses in the case of an incident.

Can a Rental Car Company Impose Damage After Return?

repair dent
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

A rental car service is within its legal rights to do so, as they protect their investment and guard against potential losses. You will be charged for any car damage, including missing parts, dents, scratches, and dirt accumulation.

 This bill is deducted from the credit card you provided to the provider or the rental agent at the time of your rental agreement. It is essential to remember that companies must follow certain rules when assessing and charging for damages. 

They cannot, for example, charge customers for pre-existing impairments before the agreement that cannot be attributed to them.

What are Thrifty Rental Damage Charges?

Thrifty terms and conditions only specify car insurance purchase at their location counter, where they offer a loss waiver of $20-$22 per day, $17 per day for additional liability excess, a personal accident insurance waiver of $17 per day, and a super waiver of $15 to $17 per day.

How Often Do Rental Cars Get Damaged?

There is no standard answer to this question because it depends on the customer’s level of care for the rental car and the type of motorcar being rented. Other factors contributing to this include road conditions, weather, and any other unexpected events.

Therefore, it is impossible to predict how often rented automobiles may be damaged accurately. However, the type of rentals can significantly play a role here. 

Suppose you rented a defective car or an older model. It is proven newer model cars are typically safer and more durable than older models.

Rental-Car Bumper-Damage Implications?

Car bumper damage is a type of common breakdown that is frequently caused by minor collisions. The implications of bumper impairment can be costly and inconvenient, especially when incurred while driving.

 Whether you are at fault or not, you are often held financially responsible when you return the car. This will make you liable for covering the costs of repair or replacement. As such, it is crucial to be aware of the potential implications of the bumper being destroyed.

Is there a Damage Waiver for Bumper Impairment?

Yes, cost waivers are available for bumper vandalization. Many services provide CDWs – Collision-Damage-Waiver- covering damages such as the car’s bodywork, including the doors, bumper, bonnet, back, side panels, and wing mirror housings.

This is a great way to save money when renting a car. It not only reduces out-of-pocket costs, but it can also alleviate stress for renters who are concerned about being billed for bumper damages.

Reasons Rental Companies May Demand Indemnification 

Dents and scratches are the most typical types of damage. However, some are not covered by insurance. The following are common types of rental damage and the penalty fees of top rental companies in the U.S.

  • Dent

A dent is considered car damage if it is larger than 2 inches and was not marked on the pick-up statement. Alamo charges an excess fee of $481 for dents, and Enterprise charges range from $495 to $500. 

However, no dent should be taken for granted because not all businesses rigorously adhere to the 2-inch guideline. Some companies may charge you for dents less than 2 inches. 

  • Scratches

Any scratch larger than 1.9 inches not noted on the current vehicle condition report when you pick up the car is deemed damaged and must be paid for. 

It’s considered a scratch if it goes through the paint of the vehicle’s outside surface, including the top, sides, rail, and tailgate. Rental companies like Hertz and Alamo charge $200 and $481, respectively, for scratches.

  • Wear and tear

Wear and tear refers to any significant vehicle deterioration during everyday use during the contract period. 

The service provider would issue a document outlining reasonable wear and tear restrictions corresponding to generally accepted standards, including tire, bumper, window, and any interior faults. 

Top companies such as Budget and National don’t specify charges for wear and tear in their terms and conditions or any damage but charge renters based on the degree of the impairment. Clients that purchased a loss waiver won’t pay for damages. 

  • Cracks

Cracks are most commonly found on mirrors and windscreens. Top rent providers’ cost of crack damage depends on its extent. It should be noted, however, that insurance does not cover windscreen cracks.

Company Damage Type Charges
Alamo Scratch or dent  $481
Enterprise Dent  $495-$500
Budget Loss or damage Loss waiver starting from $9 per day
Avis Loss or damage Collision waiver  starting from $9 daily
Thrifty Damage apart from the underside $20 per 24 hours
Hertz Scratch $200
National Loss or damage Loss waiver of $10.99-$500 per day


FAQ about rental fees and claims:

What is a Budget rental collision dispute?

Renters can use this opportunity to contest damage costs that they believe are unfair or inaccurate. This is accomplished by filing a claim and providing evidence of discrepancies between the vehicle’s condition at pick-up and return. 

You can also request that Budget provide you with the car’s history before and after your rental agreement to ensure you are not charged for something you did not do.

How much does the Enterprise car rental company bill for scratches?

As a high-priced rental company, Enterprise car rental charges customers a premium fee for scratches, dents, and other vehicle damage. The cost is approximately $500 for minor impairments and up to $2,500 for significant ones, which the customer pays when the vehicle is returned.

What are Avis charges?

Avis fees are flexible, with the amount depending on the type and severity of damage sustained. Avis also provides a collision waiver starting at $9 per day and covers minor issues up to a specific limit, with additional fees for substantial impairment.

Moreover, extra costs can be incurred for Avis’s employee roadside assistance, towing and storage charges if the auto-car needs to be transported after an accident.

What do Enterprise charges entail?

The cost of Enterprise damage varies according to the degree and nature of the vandalization. Dents and dings cost as much as $495. However, there is a waiver that, when purchased, protects you from paying exorbitant fees.

What Happens If I Refuse To Pay Charged Imposed?

The service provider will submit a claim against your insurance if you choose not to cover the damage. When you pay with a debit card or cash, your insurance carrier and number are typically provided as part of the application process for the rental in the beginning. 

After that, your insurance is notified of the damage so it can be taken up. In general, whether you damaged the car or not, you will be responsible for the billed claim if you did not get Waiver Protection.

If you are uncooperative, they may blocklist you, preventing you from renting from them or any of their partner or subsidiary until you make amends.

What is door ding? Does it attract charges?

Man feeling his car
©Photo Credit: Deposit Photos

Similar to dents, rental door dings happen when a door hits the side panel of another car. A ding is typically a small-diameter scratch that doesn’t harm the paint or expose any vulnerable metal to rust. However, some rental entities, like Avis, charge as much as $833 for door dings.

Simple Way to Dispute Charges Considered Unfair?

It can be challenging to dispute unfair charges because it’s your word against theirs. Here are some useful strategies for challenging unjust rental car fees.

  • Online claim

Contact the rental company’s online customer service and submit a claim with supporting documents and photographs. 

The customer service team will inquire and investigate by contacting your used location. This option is best if you booked your automobile online.

  • Contact your credit card company.

If your online claim is rejected, you can file a “chargeback” with your credit card company. They will look into the charge and ensure a refund if there is a doubt about your liability.

  • Legal complaint

You can complain to an Ombudsman or the helpline for a consumer rights organization. Consider speaking with a lawyer if you wish to take the matter to court. This is typically the last option for challenging unreasonable rental charges.

Summary of rental claims!

Rental damage can cost you a lot of money and cause stress; some entities have stricter damage policies than others. 

And we’re happy to equip you with credible answers to rental motorcar company claims for auto impairment and how long it takes to have someone notified in case of a serious scratch and damage claim against you.


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