How to Act in the Event of Damage

In the run-up to this article, we dealt with the vehicle pick-up and showed which documents are required and looked deeper into the question of how to check the vehicle for any defects before starting your trip.

But what if an event of damage occurs during your travels with your camper or motorhome?

And what should you do in the event of an accident so that the insurance coverage is valid?

1. Defects on the vehicle during the trip:

If defects occur on the vehicle during your trip, it is important that you react immediately. If you report a list of defects to the rental company after your trip has already ended your chance of reimbursement sinks radically. And rightly so! If the damage or defect is reported immediately, the rental company has the opportunity to react to the problem and solve it appropriately. Normally everything can continue as desired after a few hours of maintenance and repair. The rental company is then aware of what costs have arisen due to the defect and can consequently decide how and where something is being repaired. If the company is not trying to find a quick solution, we will surely be happy to assist you. Defects reported and repaired this way do not incur any costs for the tenant unless they caused them negligently.

As an agent, our task is to place a vehicle and hand over the booking documents. In contrast to many other agent platforms on the market, we are glad to help our customers if there are any difficulties with the camper/motorhome on the way.

Nevertheless, the first contact person on-site is the rental company. Still, if a defect is not adequately repaired or in case of communication problems, we are there to help and mediate between the two parties. We advise our customers to contact the rental company by phone once a problem has arisen during the trip and to send a record of the conversation as an email afterwards, including us via CC in the email. This has two advantages:

First of all, the tenant used both channels of communication and did everything he could to draw attention to the damage and to find a quick solution. Therefore, the complaint cannot get lost but rather be processed quickly.

Second of all, the rental company will see that we have also received a copy of the message. They are aware that we will help our customers if the deficiency is not dealt with properly. At this point, however, it must also be said very clearly that we, as agents, do not side with one or the other at all costs! We know both sides and based on our experience we assess the situation objectively. If our customers' claims in our eyes are not justified, we will notify them accordingly. We are happy to help with justified complaints, but of course we also behave fairly towards our local partners. With this open and honest manner, we have been able to successfully help many customers. Even on-site in New Zealand!
Here are more important tips:
1.If a red indicator light appears, you should stop, contact the rental company immediately and not continue driving. If you ignore a red indicator light and damage the vehicle as a result, you have to pay for the damage out of your own pocket, regardless of which insurance you chose!
2.If you see an orange indicator light, you should contact the company promptly and let them know about it. You are often told that it is normal and that you can continue the journey. You should still let them know to be on the safe side.
3.In order to prevent engine damage and unnecessarily high wearing, the customer is also actively involved in the terms and conditions of the rental company. The customer must check the liquids at regular intervals and refill them if necessary. If there is damage because you do not touch the liquids such as e.g. Respected cooling water or oil, such damage must also be paid out of one's own pocket. Insurance coverage does not apply here!

2. I have an accident; how am I supposed to react?

In the rare event of an accident, it is important that the police are involved so that the damage and the course of the damage can be recorded adequately. If this is not the case, the insurance cover can be withdrawn, since you cannot prove whether you have acted in accordance with the rental agreement. Insurance exclusions are listed in all terms and conditions of the rental company. You should know and pay close attention to these! In a very simple way, these exclusions can be broken down into one short statement: treat the vehicle as if it was your own, think and act with foresight.

Let's take an example to illustrate this approach:

The tenant drives the camper / motorhome on the sandy beach by the ocean which was clearly prohibited by the terms and conditions. The vehicle gets stuck. You can quickly find help from a local who has a 4-wheel drive. In the process of towing, you accidently collide with the 4-wheel drive and damage your camper / motorhome. No damage can be spotted on the 4-wheel drive, but there is a dent on your own vehicle. In this case, there are two breaches of contract: on the one hand, you cannot drive the camper / motorhome on the beach and, on the other hand, you have to leave the towing to a specialist. The accident damage was not reported and the vehicle was given a new dent at the end of the trip. The customer claims to have hit a bollard. He uses his full-cover insurance and therefore does not have to pay anything. In this example, he was lucky to get away scot-free.

However, it can just as well happen differently! You hit something with your vehicle, then decide to not report the damage and return the vehicle at the end of your trip. The rental company refuses to recognize the damage as an insured event. That`s due to various reasons you can find in our example given above. This is a common case in the rental industry.

You should therefore know how to deal with damage. Either you will be orally informed by the staff when you pick up the vehicle, or you will be given this information written in the rental company`s general terms and conditions. Here you are obliged to inform yourself and to act according to the regulations of the corresponding company.

Even if you have to look at the individual case, there is not much you can do wrong if you keep to the following procedure in the event of an accident:

Note the time, date and location of the accident
Note the first and last name of the other driver
Document his / her address, the registration number of the accident vehicle and any damage to third-party property
Note the name of the opponent's insurance
Don't admit fault
Inform the police
The rental company is informed within 24 hours and faxed the completed accident report

How do you proceed after the accident?

Any further procedure depends on the severity of the accident. If the vehicle is slightly damaged, it can be repaired quickly in a garage and you are then back on the road again. However, if the camper or motorhome is so badly damaged that you can no longer continue the journey, the question of the replacement vehicle arises. If you have not acted negligently and violated the terms and conditions, you will usually get a replacement vehicle. However, all rental companies here equally require that the customer finds his own way to the next depot, providing the replacement vehicle. It is possible that the vehicle can be delivered at an additional cost.

We haven't had the case that a rental company could no longer provide a replacement after an accident!

Depending on the season, size of the company and fleet utilization, it could still happen that no replacement can be offered. In such a case, the remaining days would be paid back.

We therefore recommend booking with larger providers who are more likely to find replacements due to the size of their fleet.

Whether or not an accident damage has further financial consequences for the tenant largely depends on the insurance option chosen! Therefore, we have compiled information for you concerning the right insurance choice.