Car theft has been in the news a lot recently as criminals have learnt to defeat modern security devices and whilst this is generally a problem for higher end and more valuable cars which typically represent only small percentage of rental car fleets, the problem doesn’t seem to be getting any better. Whilst thinking about what happens if your rental cars is stolen is one of the last things that should concern you whilst on holiday, it’s wise to have an understanding of your responsibility and liabilities should this happen.
What to do if your rental car is stolen?
- Call the local local police and report the vehicle stolen, give as much detail as possible including time / location and any personal possessions that may have been in the car, request a crime reference number. Explain that it is a rental car.
- Call the car rental company and report the car stolen, providing the crime reference number. The rental agent my contact the police with the vehicle details (registration / VIN number), or you may need to do this, you’ll need to discuss this with the rental agent.
- Check what level of insurance cover you have and any excesses likely to be liable.
- Arrange a replacement car with the rental agent, this should not incur a cost to you.
- Complete theft form / paperwork with the rental agent, providing all the necessary police / crime references numbers / contact details.
- Contact your travel insurance provider if any personal belongings were stolen.
- Try to enjoy the rest of your holiday.
What is Car Rental Theft Protection?
You’ll no doubt have noticed there are various sections in the ‘Insurance’ terms and conditions of a rental car agreement and Theft Protection is one of them. This is usually included as standard with any rental (subject to your residency / location of rental – if it is not, we will advise), however as with a domestic car insurance policy it’ll come with an excess, so whilst you will not be liable for the total cost of the stolen rental car, you will be liable for an element of it, in Europe this can typically be around 1,000 EUR (check terms and conditions as this amount varies per rental).
Theft Protection is however linked to the general terms and conditions and use restrictions. If you do not comply with the terms and conditions, you may be liable for the entire cost of a replacement vehicle, much like for a domestic car insurance policy, if you left the keys in the car and it was stolen you are unlikely to be covered. Theft protection only covers the car itself and not any personal belongings, your travel insurance should cover personal possessions whilst you are on holiday / travelling. It does however cover damage caused to the car by attempted theft even if the thieves did not actually steal the car.
Car rental theft if thankfully very rare and shouldn’t be something to concern you. So long as you treat your rental car the same way you would your own car, you’d be very unlikely to have a rental car stolen, a few simple tips to keep your rental car safe;
- Always lock the car when unattended
- Park in well lit / visible locations
- Take notice of local warnings / signs around car crime
- Keep keys safe/ out of reach in your holiday villa / home
- Don’t leave valuables on display
Car rental crime in Tenerife
was widely reported in 2016 where it was suggested that criminal groups were targeting rental cars in ‘smash and grab’ attacks or indeed vehicle theft as holiday makers were seen as soft targets. Read the full story here