How Long Does It Take for A Rental Car Company To Notify Of A Damage Claim Against You?

Author: Rohan Paulos
Updated On:

Are you still wondering how long does a rental car company have to charge you for damages and looking to have first hand knowledge what to do in case of damage, how to avoid and deals with rental company?

There are numerous considerations to make while renting a car, one of which is car damages. The vehicle may be damaged before you pick it up or after you return it—just before the rental company performs a final inspection. 

In this guide we not only share details about how long does it take for a rental car company to notify of a damage claim against you, but related information about Hertz and other major auto rentals.

While male fixing a car body

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

The duration specified in the rental agreement determines how long does it take for a rental car company to notify of a damage claim against you.

Generally, individuals and rental car companies are held to the same standard. As a result, they must notify clients of damage and billings as soon as they inspect the returned rental, along with evidence of the rental car’s before and after conditions. Read what to do if you scratch a rental car!

The timelines for charge claims of top rental companies in the US are provided below.

  • Avis: Avis processes a damage claim in between 30 and 60 days.
  • Budget: Damage claims are sent to clients within 30 days, but can sometimes take up to 150 days.
  • Thrifty: A timeline of at 18 hours-30 days is used for making a damaged claim at Thrifty.
  • Hertz: Hertz processes a damage claim immediately or within the first 28 days.
  • National: Notifying clients of damage claims can take up to 60 days.
  • Alamo: Alamo processes a damage 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

How Long Does it Take For a Rental Car Company to Notify of a Damage Claim Against You?

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

Once notified, the customer is usually given a deadline to respond and explain the circumstances of the damage.

It is important to remember that rental companies reserve the right to assess any damage charges when a customer returns their vehicle, even if the damage wasn’t visible at the time of pickup. Moreover, if you purchased a damage waiver from the rental company before returning the car, you are safe.

Two cars crash into each other

How Long Does Hertz Have to Charge You for Damages?

Hertz charges their customers an immediate fee for reported damage, or they allow a 28-day inspection after the vehicle is returned and then issue a bill for any unreported damage discovered. However, if you purchased a damage waiver from Hertz before returning the car, you will almost certainly not be charged anything.

This company, like other rental companies, has defined policies when it comes to charging customers for damage. In the event of an accident or damage to the car, Hertz customers must contact customer service and provide photos and/or a detailed description of the damage to avoid any unexpected charges.

What Happens if You Damage a Rental Car with Insurance?

If you cause damage to a rental car that is insured, a claim will be filed with your auto insurance provider for the cost of any repairs up to the rental company’s policy limit. You may also be charged additional fees if the rental company determines that the damage exceeds the deductible of your insured policy.

It is advised that you purchase a loss damage waiver to protect yourself from financial losses in the case of an incident or damage to the rental car.

repair dent

Can a Rental Car Company Charge for Damage After Return?

A rental car company is certainly within its legal rights to do so, as they are protecting their investment and guarding against potential losses. You will be charged for any damage to the car, including any missing parts, dents, scratches, and dirt accumulation.

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

They cannot, for example, charge customers for pre-existing damage prior to the rental agreement or damages that cannot be attributed to them.

What are Thrifty Car Rental Damage Charges?

Thrifty terms and conditions only specify insurance purchase at their location counter, where they offer a loss damage 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 damage waiver of $15 to $17 per day.

small scratch

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 vehicle as well as the type of car being rented. Other factors that may contribute to this include road conditions, weather factors, and any other unexpected events.

It is, therefore, impossible to accurately predict how often a rental car may be damaged. However, the type of rental car can significantly play a role here. If you rented a defective car or an older model car. This is due to the fact that newer model cars are typically safer and more durable than older model cars.

Rental Car Bumper Damage Implications?

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

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 bumper damage when renting a car.

Are there Rental Car Damage Cost Waiver for Bumper Damage?

Yes, rental damage cost waivers are available for bumper damage. Many rental car companies provide CDWs – Collision Damage Waiver, which cover rental 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 damage.

Man feeling his car

Reasons Rental Companies May Charge For Damages

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

  • Dent

A dent is considered a 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 rental businesses rigorously adhere to the 2-inch guideline. Some rental companies may charge you for dents less than 2 inches. 

  • Scratches

Any scratch larger than 1.9 inches, and not noted on the current vehicle condition report when you pick up the rental car, is deemed a damage 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 fees of $200 and $481 respectively for scratches.

  • Wear and tear

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

The rental company would issue a document outlining reasonable wear and tear restrictions that correspond to generally accepted standards. This includes tire, bumper, window damage, 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 damages in fact, but charge renters based on the degree of the damage. However, clients that purchased a loss damage waiver won’t pay for damages. 

Need serious repairs

  • Cracks

Cracks are most commonly found on mirrors and windscreens. For top rental companies, the cost of crack damages is dependent on its extent. It should be noted, however, that insurance does not cover windscreen cracks.

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


FAQ about rental car damage fees and claims:

What is budget car rental damage dispute?

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

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

How much does Enterprise charge for scratches?

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

What are Avis damage charges?

Avis damage fees are flexible, with the amount depending on the type and severity of damage sustained. They also provide a collision damage waiver that starts at $9 per day and covers minor damage up to a specific limit, with additional fees charged for substantial damage.

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

What do Enterprise damage charges entails?

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

damaged car parts

What Happen If I Refuse To Pay Rental Car Damage?

The rental company will submit a claim against your insurance if you choose not to cover the rental car 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 damage if you did not get damage waiver protection. If you are uncooperative, they may blacklist you, which would prevent you from renting from them or any of their partner or subsidiary rental companies until you make amends.

What is door ding rental car? Does it attract charges?

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, for door dings, some rental companies, like Avis, charge as much as $833.

How To Dispute Rental Car Charges Considered Unfair?

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

  • Online claim

Get in touch with the rental company’s online customer service and submit a claim with supporting documents and photos.

The customer service team will probably inquire more and investigate by contacting the location you used. This option is best if you booked your car 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. If you wish to take the matter to court, you might also consider speaking with a lawyer. This is typically the last option for challenging unreasonable rental charges.

Fixing wheels base


Rental car damages can cost you a lot of money and cause stress; some rental companies have stricter damage policies than others. And we’re happy to equipped you with credible answers to how long does a rental car company have to charge you for damages as well how long it takes to have notified in case of serious scratch and damage claim against you.


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