What happens if my rental car is stolen?

Stolen rental car
Nobody wants to think about their rental car being damaged or stolen, and their holiday being cut short. However, it is important to understand what happens if your rental car is stolen. This way you can be sure to insure your rental vehicle. You will need to do some research before you begin your journey to make sure you properly understand the terms and conditions of your rental. You also need to find out if there are any restrictions laid out in your rental agreement. VroomVroomVroom has put together a quick guide to help you. 

Steps to take if your rental car is stolen

  • Firstly, you need to report the theft to the police. Let them know if any of your personal belongings were in the car when it was taken.
  • You will also need to contact the car rental company as soon as possible to inform them that the car has been stolen. Let them know that you have notified the police.
  • The rental company can charge you based on the liability or excess amount specified in your rental agreement. Make sure you keep a copy of any receipts or incident reports. Your financial liability will depend on whether you had purchased insurance for your rental car

Does insurance cover you for theft?

A lot of insurance companies will not cover you for theft of a rental vehicle if the theft was a result of negligence, or a breaking of the rental agreement conditions. If your insurance company does cover theft of a rental car, they will most likely need you to provide a copy of the police report.

Will I have to pay for the full cost of my rental car if it is stolen?

Your financial liability depends on where you are hiring your vehicle, and from which supplier.
If you are hiring a car in Australia and New Zealand, you will be liable to pay for the excess amount specified in your rental agreement. Your financial liability is capped at this amount, so you will not have to pay for the full cost of a replacement vehicle
In the United States and Canada this may be slightly different. If you are visiting the US from another country, it is important to specify your country of residence. This may affect the pricing, but it also affects the insurance as Loss Damage Waiver is generally mandatory for some inbound travellers.
For American citizens hiring a car in the US, the purchase of insurance is optional. This means if you do not have any sort of car insurance, credit card insurance or rental vehicle insurance than you could be liable to pay the full cost of a replacement vehicle.
Car insurance form

The importance of Loss Damage Waiver 

The cost of loss damage waiver differs between car types and suppliers. Loss damage waiver reduces the financial liability of the renter. It is important to still comply with the terms and conditions of the rental agreement.

Make sure you are covered

Have you filled out your details accurately when reserving your car? Make sure you specify your country of origin to make sure you are looking at an accurate rate.
Do you have a travel insurance policy? Many policies also include coverage for rental vehicles up to a specified amount. At the rental counter you can also purchase coverage for any personal effects you will have in the car.
Familiarize yourself with the terms and conditions of your rental agreement. For example, if you take your car off sealed roads in many cases this may void your insurance. In Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom you can purchase excess reduction products at the counter. This way you can reduce your liability. It allows you to limit the amount of money you have to pay, in some cases to zero. Be sure to check the exclusions for certain kinds of damage. 
American and Canadian citizens can purchase optional Loss Damage Waiver. This means they will not be liable to pay the full cost of a replacement vehicle. If you are relying on your credit card or existing car insurance, make sure you know what exactly you are covered for. Check if there is any limitations to your policy. 

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