Do You Take 1 Minute to Possibly Save Yourself Thousands & Potentially Hours of Headaches?

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Hopefully you are pro active when it comes to renting cars. That is, you carefully check to make sure of what coverage your credit card offers (i.e. primary or secondary etc.). You also check if your personal policy covers you. If you get an upgrade (like a mega one) you check if the retail price of this upgrade exceeds the coverage limitations as you may need to decline the upgrade otherwise (seriously, consider this). But there is one more step we all should take and you can do it in under 1 minute. Let me show you:

It really only takes under 1 minute to video around the car and zoom in on anything that you may be charged for after the fact when a rental company says “you” did this to the car. The only mistake I made was not panning the camera up to show I was still at the airport and the slot the car was in (will make sure I do that next time).

Insurance is great but the headaches of dealing with hours of paperwork if a company comes after you is just not worth it and if you can produce a video proving the condition of the car, one would hope they would drop any claim against you they may have dreamed up. – René



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  1. Rene
    Good advice. Will do it at next rental. Additionally, I love the American Express Car Rental Insurance Program. If you sign up and rent using AMEX, auto insurance is covered for super cheap for up to 30 days (some countries not covered! – mostly left side driving). Check it out.

  2. Rene – when I return a car, I take photos of sides and the top with a closeup of the front valance. Why? Have you seen how those car jockies drive the car that you just returned? I’m not paying for their screw-ups.

  3. @Steve – You know what, photos or video on return is smart too. I will do this also. Only takes 1 minute again. Thanks!

  4. When we arrived in Anchorage, Alaska a couple of weeks ago, of course Enterprise didn’t have the small SUV I reserved 4 months in advance. My choice was now an “upgrade” to a minivan or a big beautiful full-sized 4×4 Chevy SUV. Quickly checking the secondary insurance coverage offered on the Amex Reserve card, I discovered they do NOT cover full size SUVs. I took my lumps and drove the minivan.

  5. @René,

    First off great idea. Second, if there was a problem with your vehicle that was on your video, you should have been able to show them the time/date stamp on the file to show that it was videoed before the car left the premises.

    I had a problem years ago with Hertz in Toronto. I got in very late and it was dark, they upgraded me to a Volvo and I took a quick look around and didn’t see anything wrong. When I returned it they pointed out some damage to the bottom of the front bumper. Luckily for me, the company I worked for always had us take the supplemental insurance when renting outside the US and I didn’t take a hit for it.

    An another note, I picked up a Hertz car this morning at the dealership where my Mustang is being serviced, and they videoed the car and took pictures, including some additional ones where there were scuff marks and emailed me a “check-out summary report”. It contained a PDF with all the pictures as well as my signature accepting the car.

  6. If you don’t pan a video to show you’re still in the lot, remember most mobile phone shots are geo-tagged pretty accurately. Also time coded. I think that would save you in a dispute.

  7. How about when u have to pick up your car midnight and its dark outside…? I couldnt see a thing until next morning

  8. Great advice.
    I got hit with $1300 charge. The car was fine but I was in a hurry and did not walk around it with the employee. 4 weeks later I get the bill. Thankfully AMEX stepped up. I didn’t pay a thing and I’m sure they did, but I LOVE my Delta Reserve Card and the folks at AMEX. I do have the special insurance where AMEX charges me $24.99 (total) for each rental if I use the AMEX Card. That is what covered this. In the future I will check the car better when I return it.

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