You always need to keep this possibility in mind. Cars are stolen, vandalized, and lost to natural calamities all over the world and if you are renting a vehicle you need to know what to do in the worst-case scenario. Before you rent out a vehicle you should talk to the owner of the vehicle about what kind of security systems the car has, if any, whether it has an onboard GPS tracker or any other kind of security solution that you should be aware of. Not only should you be aware of these systems but you should also know how to use them so you can secure your car when you park it.
At the least, your rented car should have a crook lock with which you can secure your steering wheel. Crook locks and other security systems which are visible from the outside help ward off potential criminals and make the car seem like a less attractive option as there is an additional layer of security they will have to break through.
However, in the unfortunate case that you find your car has been stolen, here are the immediate steps you should follow.
1. Call the Police
As soon as you realize that your car has fallen victim to theft, get in touch with the police and the concerned legal departments. In 2020 alone over 700.000 vehicles were reported stolen and this includes everything from automobiles, trucks, buses, motorcycles, and even snowmobiles. Whatever vehicle you are using there is always a chance of it being stolen especially if you don't have a good security system in place. As soon as you get in touch with the police, inform them that the vehicle is rental and provide them with all the documentation that you received from the rental company.
2. Call the Rental Company
A lot of people make the mistake of calling the rental company first and assuming that the rental company is responsible for filing a report with the police. If you don’t get in touch with the police, insurance companies or any other coverage provider will not be bound to give you coverage for the vehicle.
When you get in touch with the rental company they will ask for you the report number that you have received from the police. To make things easier, the folks from SATX Technologies recommend investing in a GPS tracker that will allow you to monitor the movement and location of the vehicle instantly. If you have access to the GPS dashboard then you can monitor it yourself, otherwise, the rental company can monitor the vehicle location. This is a very useful tool when trying to track down a vehicle.
3. Incident Report Form
You need to fill out an incident report form and provide it to the rental company along with the police report number and any other documentation that you receive from legal authorities. Moreover, if you have any paperwork from your insurance attach that to the documents you give to your rental company. The level of cover you have and whether or not you will be liable for the loss will depend on the kind of insurance cover you opted for when renting the vehicle. Some rental providers have their own insurance whereas others require the client to purchase insurance with the vehicle.
4. Contact Insurance
If you purchased insurance on your own with the vehicle you should get in touch with the insurance provider to discuss the problem. This will give you an idea of your standing in the position. If the vehicle was insured by the rental company then this does not concern you. In the latter case, you should discuss the problem with the rental company and try to reach a solution. The main concern is whether or not you will be responsible and this all depends on the kind of insurance that is in place, if there is any.
Generally, when you hire a vehicle from a rental company the agreement states that you (the renter) are responsible for returning the vehicle to the company/vehicle owner. However, the agreement doesn't always talk about the kind of insurance that is in play if the insurance has been bought separately by the rental company. In the case that you are purchasing insurance together with the vehicle, try to go for insurance that covers both damage and loss to the vehicle.
This will be a bit more expensive than the standard insurance options; however, in the case that the vehicle goes missing or is severely damaged in an accident, you are void of any responsibility and the rental company will pursue the matter with the insurance provider independently.