Have you ever had a car rental company claim you damaged your car and demand a large payment from you? It can be a frustrating experience, especially if you aren’t the one responsible. Here is a simple trick I use to make sure I will never be liable for this type of scam.
When I rent a car, the first thing I do is pull out my smart phone and video tape it. It is standard practice to walk around the car to see if there are any dents or scratches, but I think it is a good idea to video tape it.
How to video tape your rental car
To video tape your car, start at one corner of the car and start taping with your smart phone. You should be close enough that the camera can see all the scratches. Then you systematically move around the car video taping every single inch of the vehicle. I would also make sure at some point in the video you get a shot showing you are in the car rental company’s parking lot to help prove the video was taken before you could have possibly done any damage to it.
If there are any scratches on the car, be sure to video those extra well. Get a good close up so you have video evidence of how large the scratches are. I would also recommend making sure you get a good shot of the license plate, just so there is absolutely no confusion about which car you are looking at.
Finally, I would recommend narrating the video just a little bit. While you are taking your video you should describe what you are doing just a little bit. When you come across any dents or scratches you should tell the video what you are looking at. You should also tell the video where you are, what the date is, and state that you just picked up the car.
It is as simple as that. Just in case you would like to see an example of one of these videos, I pretended my car was a rental car and video taped it below. Don’t feel like you have to watch this video if you get the idea already, because the video is pretty dull.
Take one more video at the end of your trip
Finally, be sure to take another video in the exact same manner right before you drop your car off. This way, if anybody ever accuses you of damaging their car you have proof that the car was in the same condition when you dropped it off as when you picked it up. Once more, I would recommend narrating the video just a bit to explain where you are, what day it is, and that you are dropping the car off in the same state you found it in.
Finally, you will need to store your video somewhere just in case it is ever needed. Smartphones get lost all the time, so make sure your video is backed up either to the cloud or to your computer at home. If your rental car company ever contacts you letting you know they think you damaged their car and owe them a bunch of money just send them the proof that you aren’t the one who was responsible.
Other times you might want to take this kind of video evidence
Can you think of other times this kind of video would be a good idea? Here are some other ideas I came up with.
Before and after moving into a rental– As a landlord, I take a video before a tenant moves in and immediately after they move out just in case there is any dispute over a security deposit.
Your own house and possessions for insurance purposes- If there were ever a theft or fire at your house, how would you prove to the insurance company what you owned? I took a video of my house, furniture, and possessions in case I ever have to prove how much the insurance company owes me. You should narrate this video quite a bit to explain what your furniture is, how old it is, and how much you paid for it if you remember all that information.
Your suitcase before checking it on an airplane– If you fly very much, and usually check a bag then you can be assured that before too long the airline will lose your bag. Why not take a video or picture of the all the contents of your bag right before you zip it up and leave on your trip?