car accident

When returning the vehicle, you are instructed to park the vehicle and deposit the keys in a mailbox because the agency is closed. It is at your own risk because if the vehicle is degraded later, you will have a hard time proving that you are not responsible.



If you have no other choice, it is better to have taken out the complementary accident insurance (CDW) which guarantees you the “redemption of franchise” you will not be out of your pocket in case of degradation. A good precaution: when putting the vehicle back down, photograph it from every angle and the mileage displayed. You can thus prove that you are not at fault in the event of a dispute on the part of the rental company from the car accident attorney.

The breakdown of your rental vehicle

Your vehicle is malfunctioning or breaks down, if the problem is attributable to the condition of the vehicle, the rental company must take care of major repairs or reimburse you if you had to pay the invoice. You can also request that a replacement vehicle be provided to you. In the event of a breakdown, immediately call the assistance number on the rental contract.

You could not be repaired quickly and you were obliged to incur costs (for example a hotel room, a return ticket by train or plane): the rental company must reimburse your expenses. You can even demand compensation for the damage suffered.

Accident or theft of your rental car

When you have an accident with a rental vehicle, you must make an amicable report with the driver of the other vehicle. The lessor must be notified within 5 days of the date of the incident and receive a copy of the report.

If the accident is your fault, check in the rental contract the conditions under which your responsibility is engaged. Also check the amount of the excess of the vehicle: you will only have to pay the cost of repairs up to the amount of this excess.

If the responsibility for the accident lies with another motorist, their insurance will cover the payment of your bodily injury and property damage to the vehicle.

In the event of theft or attempted theft of the vehicle, you must file a complaint with a police station within 48 hours and promptly inform the rental agency.

TIP: Get a quote from a professional in case of significant deterioration

If you are responsible for an accident which has caused significant damage to the vehicle, it is preferable to make an estimate yourself with a bodybuilder before returning it. Indeed, some unscrupulous rental companies do not hesitate to overcharge the repair of a vehicle to make you pay the full excess.

The ticket or the flashing by a radar

Your vehicle has been flashed or has been the subject of a ticket: it is the car rental agency which will receive the report or the fine. The rental company will communicate your contact details to the authorities as driver and you will receive the report with the fine payable. Useless to hope to contest, you will have to pay the fine under penalty of increase!

The delay in returning the vehicle to the car rental agency

Be careful: the exact day and time of return of the vehicle are always indicated on the rental contract. There is a tolerance of one hour late. If you return the vehicle several hours late, the whole day may be due, unless the lessor is very generous.

The fuel level on arrival is lower than that on departure

The most common practice is to return the vehicle with a fuel level identical to that displayed at the start. If the fuel level is lower, the agency will bill you for fuel at a rate often much higher than the local price.

Good To Know: Fuel: how to navigate between the options "in state-in-state", "Full-Empty" and "Full-Full"

The "in condition-in-condition" option is the most common: you must return the vehicle with the same amount of fuel as that noted at the time of rental.

With the "Full-Empty" option, the car is delivered to you with a full tank and you must make it empty. You will be charged for this full tank, as well as a service tax. If the tank is not empty, you will not be reimbursed for the fuel. This option is especially advantageous for the car rental agency.

In the "Full-Full" option, the car is delivered to you with a full tank and you must return it with full. It is convenient to start a long journey. However, as in the "in condition-in-condition" option, be sure to return the vehicle with full fuel, otherwise the invoice risks being salted.

Car rental between individuals

More and more owners are renting their cars on collaborative sites (OuiCar, Drivy, etc.). You will get several advantages: the rental rates are attractive; you can often find a vehicle near your home (they are geolocated on a map).