What Happens to Rental Equipment When No One’s Watching?
Whether you are a consumer or a business owner, one of the most important aspects of renting is keeping track of equipment. How is it being treated? What it being used for? Where has it been? Where is it right now? When, and in what condition will it be returned?
Knowing all of the above is critical to keeping the equipment and customer safe, and keeping both parties covered for liability should anything happen.
But what happens when some or all of that information isn’t known?
So What Happens When No One is Watching?
The short answer is that it’s anyone’s guess. Without a way to track events, it’ the customer’s word against the renter’s. This situation forces the renter to either take a risk and trust the customer, or enact a strict (and expensive) insurance policy that covers liability even in the absence of good evidence.
If everything comes back in mint condition, no worries. But if there’s any damage or accident, it’s a hard situation for customer and renter. No matter how well-defined an insurance policy may be, there can always be arguments over fault and liability where damages are concerned.
Here are two examples of insurance issues – one with limited information, and one with good information.
Insurance Argument – No Information
Here’s a perfect example – an angry review left on TripAdvisor for a campervan rental company:
“A short summary of what we learnt after hiring a rental campervan in Australia and unfortunately had an accident:
[The provider] won’t cover for any accidents they deem your fault.
For example: you stop at a stop sign, look left and right but fail to spot an oncoming car and consequently cause an accident. This scenario is amongst the most common accident scenarios – nearly 25% of all accidents happen due to someone accidentally failing to give the right of way. It’s due to these kind of accidents that can end up being very costly you’ll want an insurance in the first place. But [the provider] will not cover it in any of their insurance packages.”
Publizischt via TripAdvisor
The customer is clearly angry because the accident was ‘deemed’ their fault. They don’t trust the rental company’s judgment, and they may feel it’s simply their word against that of the renter.
The above TripAdvisor post was followed by a flood of responses about rental insurance experiences. Some were in support of the post writer, and some in support of rental companies. Regardless, it was likely a headache for both parties – and certainly a bad bit of PR for the campervan rental business.
Insurance Argument – Good Information
Here’s an example from the renter’s perspective. This time, the renter had GPS tracking installed on the vehicle in question:
“There was an incident just before Christmas 2017. One of our clients took the vehicles to a prohibited area. We got an alert immediately and contacted the client. Upon its return, there was approximately $3,500 worth of damage to the under body of the vehicle due to the speed at which it was travelling in that area.
The clients understood the obligations under the terms and conditions, and we were able to repair the car and bring it back to pre-hire conditions. If we didn’t have the tracking on the vehicle with such accuracy, we would have been none the wiser. Those damages would have presented themselves down the track, and could have resulted in a safety issue for another client.”
The difference is night and day. GPS location tracking kept the customer and the business honest. There was no argument, and damages were covered fairly. For reasons like this, GPS can be a renter’s best friend.