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The car rental business provides an alternative transportation for individuals without the methods to do so. To secure a one, car rental companies prepare a Car Rental Contract that pretty much outlines the do’s and don’ts to renting a car. In this article, you will be reading more about what this contract means and the usual terms and conditions you must be on the lookout for! With our 7+ car rental contract samples, you can start drafting one of your own or familiarize its structure and content to understand better what it is comprised of and how it must be composed.
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What is a Car Rental Contract?
A Car Rental Contract is any written legally binding mutual agreement between the car renter and the rental agent from a car rental company that explains the terms and conditions a renter should agree to comply with when renting the vehicle and what must be done throughout the duration the car is rented. The contract is more so intended for the renter as they are ones in need of the car for hire service provided by the car rental company and have to succumb to the conditions before they are eligible for car rental so it is of utmost importance that the renter reads, understands, and agrees to all the conditions that they will be getting themselves into and should thus pay attention to the policies of the rental as stated in the contract. Be sure to ask all sorts of questions that you feel are necessary to be disclosed and to get rid of your doubt and worries because once your signature is affixed, it will serve as proof that you have confirmed and accepted the conditions required by the car rental company to be complied, one of which is agreeing to be responsible for the car during the duration of the rental and denying it will be hard to prove if push comes to shove.
A Car Rental Contract is there to make sure that the renter understands how the car renting experience should be best performed, one that avoids accidents and damages. In a car rental contract, the section that discusses car insurance should be paid closer attention to in the case that the worst scenario happens and an accident occurs.
How Do I Rent a Car?
A car rental otherwise also known as car for hire service, allows for cars to be rented for a limited period of time ranging from an hour or to a few weeks. It’s a kind of business that allows renters to temporarily own a car. These renters could either be travelers or families on a vacation trip in an unfamiliar country or for those who simply do not see the need to own a car but will face limited situations where they would need one temporarily. In order to avail this service, all renters must go through a process or take into consideration different factors before renting a car. We list down a few things to take in mind during the whole process of renting a car below:
What is Inside a Car Rental Contract?
Car rental companies have the freedom to secure their own agreements with their own particular terms and conditions depending on the car rental period. While tweaking is possible, there are universal features shared by all car rental contracts that you, as a renter, should dive straight into as we understand that you do not necessarily have the time to read through the whole contract especially when you are in a hurry or there are other customers waiting in line that are as desperate as you are to rush to their destinations. Some of these features that are considered to be a must haves in a car rental agreement are the following:
1. Basic Information of the Renter
This mainly wants to document that the renter is at least 21 years old with a year worth of experience driving a car. In addition to extracting the information from the renter in order to ensure that they meet the basic requirements for a car rental, this section in the contract has to be explicit in explaining that only the renter whose information is logged in the contract is authorized to drive the leased car unless the renter wants to register additional drivers who need to provide the required documents as well.
2. Conditions of the Car
The contract must provide the details regarding the car to see to it that the renter understands that should the conditions alter or the car itself faces damages, the renter is responsible for making payments to cover the damages. If the car itself has pre existing damages, it is important that the car rental company disclose them. It also pays to personally examine the car to make sure that existing damages are accounted for.
3. Rental Period
The rental contract shall indicate the total length of the car rental and for how long the contract will be effective. This section can also add a clause for an extension of the initial rental period if the car rental allows it and if so, how this extension shall be granted and take effect. However, if no extension was stipulated and the renter fails to return the car in the agreed upon time, the contract shall also underline the fees that would have to be paid by the renter for failing to comply with the agreement.
4. Rental Fee and Payment Details
The contract shall, without a doubt, briefly detail the basic rental fee or provide a breakdown of the rental fee and any additional charges. In most circumstances, a deposit would have to be made via the preferred medium of payment.
5. General Conditions of Use of Vehicle
As the heading suggests, this section in your contract shall outline the conditions that shall govern the renter during the rental period to properly execute the rental and vice versa, what the renter shall face and the penalty fees that will have to be incurred if they ever refuse to execute the rental contract. This shall reiterate the qualifications of the driver which goes on to say that the driver and registered drivers shall not be under the influence of alcohol, drugs and other substances, not too tired that reflexes are delayed and have existing health conditions that may impede proper driving. This section shall also define the situations in which the vehicle is forbidden to be used.
6. Liability of the Renter
The contract should also be clear that during the duration of the rental period, the renter is fully responsible for anything that happens to the car such as minor accidents that result with damages, theft and loss of the vehicle and its parts; however, it is also important to come into an agreement of the limitation of respective liability.
7. Fuel and Mileage Limit
It should also be clear who pays for the fuel consumed by the period which is of course, the renter and how the car should be returned in terms of fuel capacity because in some cases, the car rental company will ask to return the vehicle with a full fuel tank assuming that they rent the car with the same fuel level unless stated otherwise. Additional charges will have to be paid by the renter if they fail to observe the mileage limit which is dependent on every excess kilometer.
Advantages of Renting a Car
Most times, a person opts to rent a car when they are away for vacation or live in a city with high quality public transportation as in there is no need to buy a car to reach your destination because it’s services are top notch. Besides that, we list down a few more reasons why renting a car has a better advantage than owning one.
1. COVID-19 free transportation alternative
A major advantage to renting a car was significantly visible when the pandemic hit the world that has prohibited social gatherings and implemented strict social distancing guidelines which naturally rendered everyone immobile and most especially public transportation due to its communal nature that gathers all folks from all walks of life. In New York City, car ownership is not as high compared to its neighboring cities in the United States because of the efficiency of mass transportations. However, due to the pandemic, there seemed to be a spike in a desire to own one to avoid the risk of virus contamination while still managing to perform daily activities. For cities like New York who have long embraced the culture of car independence, a 40% increase in car ownership was collected from August and October of the year 2020. While car ownership is one viable option, it is not an option most people, especially from the working class earning minimum wage, can take, which is why there was a massive demand for rental cars as it’s the next best alternative transportation medium that can prevent individuals from contracting the virus especially because rigorous measures and health protocols were conducted to ensure the cleanliness of the leased cars with an additional measure that includes immediate isolation and quarantine for any vehicle if need be.
2. It’s relatively cheaper.
Owning a car undergoes a tedious process which includes a lot of payments to be made and circumstances to take into consideration such as parking spaces, traffic congestion, parking tickets, parking meters and so much more especially if you live in a big city. It’s costly nature is already discouraging enough which is why people would still very much prefer public transportations or renting a car occasionally as it creates a resemblance of personally owning a car minus the financial burden of having to commit to monthly payments for car insurance, damage repairs, depreciation loss, and maintenance fees.
Renting a car could also help you save up for that family trip that is dependent on the travel budget. Car rental companies offer budget rentals that provide better car fuel mileage and do not charge refuelling fees with advanced inclusions such as energy-saving technologies which can help the family save up on gas. Car rental companies also offer a replacement of the leased car when it breaks down in the middle of the trip which is by far less costly and hassle free than having to repair the damages on your own and from your own pocket. In summary, renting a car for a long single trip or for when you do not necessarily have to use one is a much cheaper mode of transport.
3. It offers security.
Some reported accidents don’t necessarily have to do with the driver but the quality of the performance of the car. While mechanical parts are more reliable and have longer lifespans, it does not immediately mean that they do not get weary, in fact, even the best-kept vehicles are susceptible to engine damages that inevitably will slow down or impede the car’s performance. This supports the notion that renting a car is less cheaper than owning one because to personally own a car means you have to budget for maintenance costs and repair fees. Car rental companies offer the best performing cars equipped with quicker deploying airbags, side airbags, better handling and brakes and advanced technology such as blind spot monitoring and rearview cameras. They also offer a wide variety of models giving renters the opportunity to pick on what they are best familiar with that despite not being familiar with the location as well, a good control with the rented car can help a renter maneuver the city and avoid them from getting into accidents. In the case the leased car breaks down while on the road, rental companies provide roadside assistance which is another layer of protection that helps you in dire situations.
Rental companies ensure that the cars they make available for lease are in much better shape and offer protection conditions so as to ensure the safety of the whole drive otherwise, it will reflect poorly on the company and affect the business as a whole.
4. It offers convenience.
As previously mentioned, most individuals do not necessarily need to own a car if they live in a city that offers the best high-functioning public transportation; however, for convenience sake, it would feel better to own a car albeit temporarily just to carry out a few errands from your to-do lists that you want to be in control of without having the need to jump from one mass transit to another. Fortunately, for individuals who simply want to get tasks done, especially tasks that would require having to purchase groceries, rental companies like Enterprise offer a car-share program that allows you to rent a car by the hour.
Do you Need Insurance To Rent a Car?
Rental insurances may vary that prioritize the coverage for liabilities, damage to the rented car and accidents. This can be provided by your auto insurance policy which you will have to ensure if you have sufficient coverage. However, renting a car without insurance is still possible for as long as you are aware and can decide on which coverages to accept or decline in the process of renting a car at the rental desk. Be sure that your rental agent has communicated that coverage is optional but not a necessary requirement for renting. Some of these coverages could be: Liability Coverage and Supplemental Liability Coverage Damage Theft Coverage
What does a Car Renal Contract Include?
A Car Rental Contract, while varied depending on the car rental company, all have common features shared. These are:
- Basic Information of the Renter
- Conditions of the Car
- Rental Period
- Rental Fee and Payment Details
- General Conditions of Use of Vehicle
- Liability of the Renter
- Fuel and Mileage Limit
Are Car Rentals Refundable?
As far as most car rental contracts are concerned, car rentals are non refundable.