As we’ve mentioned before on this blog, it’s very important to take a few minutes to inspect your rental car before you drive off the lot. You don’t need to go over every inch of the car with a magnifying glass, but you do need to do a bit more than just take a quick glance. It’s a good idea to take a slow walk all the way around the car, looking for scratches, dents and dings. Also pay attention to the roof and the trunk area, as those can often get scratched up by a previous renter’s luggage. If you do see any damage, even if it seems insignificant, go back to the counter and make sure it’s noted on your rental agreement.
When you return the car, make sure you give it another inspection to make sure there’s no damage you were not aware of. You never know what might have happened when the car was parked and you were not around. Because of that, it’s also a good idea to avoid tight parking spots or anywhere else that might result in a ding or scratch, even if you that means you need to park a little further away and walk.
If you do end up with damage to the car, whether it was your fault or not, make sure you fully understand anything you sign to acknowledge the damage. For some additional tips, check out this article on the topic from The Seattle Times.