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Damaged Hertz Car Rental in Australia, "Accidental Damage Excess" $4000(a)

Damaged Hertz Car Rental in Australia, "Accidental Damage Excess" $4000(a)

Old Oct 1, 15, 5:18 am
  #1  
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Damaged Hertz Car Rental in Australia, "Accidental Damage Excess" $4000(a)

Update: This was a duplicate thread created by accident. Please check out the main thread I'm updating here: http://www.flyertalk.com/forum/hertz...-now-what.html

There's still some good info below though:


I grabbed a rental car with Hertz for my trip in Sydney, NSW, Australia. I turned down whatever insurances that were offered at the counter because (1) I have full coverage back in the U.S. with Nationwide and (2) because I was renting this car using my United Mileage Plus card. A few days later I hit pole inside a garage while getting out of the parking space. Not major damage, but it was significant.

Here are some pics of the damage if anyone's interested: https://drive.google.com/folderview?...kE&usp=sharing


Like many, I never looked into the details of how exactly I'm covered should something happen. This is all pretty complex apparently.

I've learned now that Nationwide's insurance apparently doesn't do anything for me with international rentals. This is a good lesson to have learned.

United Mileage Plus said they'll cover the costs via reimbursement (the first time I called they said they could work with them directly and do a direct payment. The 2nd time I was told to just pay upfront and get reimbursed).

They did also tell me they would reimburse them for loss of use.

I'm worried now on various things:

1) The receipt itself says the wording: ".. I understand that my Accident Damage Excess is $4000(a) and may be subject to an additional Single Vehicle Accident Excess provided I have not otherwise breached the Terms and Conditions.."

Does this mean regardless of how large or small the damage, I'll be charged $4,000(A) flat? That translates to $2,831 USD. That seems strange. I don't think I caused that much in damage so they just take that amount and that's it?And what's that other additional "Single Vehicle Excess" charge all about?

Here's a pic of the rental agreeement: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0Bxq...ew?usp=sharing

2) In order for me to get my reimbursement from Chase (United Mileage Plus card), they need me to give them various documents. Most are straightforward: Initial and final rental agreements, credit card statement showing the charges, and pictures of the accident.

But these I'm worried about:
  • Itemized estimate of repair or repair bill (may be known as cost matrix)
  • Auto rental company accident report (with damage marked on form)

I'm basically at the mercy of Hertz Australia to get this to me so that I can get reimbursed. And unless they can produce at the time I return the car, I'll have to get it from them via e-mail. They really have no incentive to help me with this since they'll already have gotten my money.

I'm supposed to fly out Sunday from Sydney airport at 7:30am and am arriving to the airport at 4:30am for the flight. Hertz won't open until 5am. So now I'll have to go Saturday during the daytime to get this all worked out. I hope they don't just take the car back and leave me car-less until my flight the next day.


Has anyone ever had any experience dealing with this?

Last edited by srizvi1; Oct 10, 15 at 7:28 am
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Old Oct 1, 15, 8:56 am
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Yes, I recently had direct experience with this. It was very minor (a cracked windshield), and Hertz did EXACTLY the same thing to me -- they didn't generate a claim and just charged my card and ran off. They also refused to communicate with my insurer. The best advice I can give you is to:

1. Try to chase down the required documents directly with Hertz yourself. Talk with your insurer and be the middle man.

2. Vow to never use Hertz again if you can help it. There is virtually ZERO customer service, at least when it comes to damage claims.

My claim did not end well. Hertz gave the finger to everyone and my insurer gave up. The dollar amount ($148) was small enough that the contract organization I work through picked up the tab. Unless I'm desperate for a rental car and Hertz is the only option, I will never use them again.

By comparison, I had a similar claim (cracked windshield) with Alamo recently and the claim process went very smoothly. Unlike Hertz, Alamo didn't just charge my card for the repairs and run off into the sunset. They generated the documentation, worked directly with AMEX, and all was well.
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Old Oct 1, 15, 9:30 am
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Thanks for the reply flyerfmaz. What amount did they charge you?
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Old Oct 1, 15, 9:40 am
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"Does this mean regardless of how large or small the damage, I'll be charged $4,000(A) flat?"

No, it does not mean that.

"And what's that other additional "Single Vehicle Excess" charge all about?"

Violating the terms/conditions of the rental agreement, e.g., driving drunk; engaging in a speed competition; driving on unpaved roads; or whatever your particular contract prohibits.

"Auto rental company accident report (with damage marked on form)"

Isn't that the form that you fill out when you bring the car back to Hertz? If so, don't leave the Hertz counter without a copy.
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Old Oct 1, 15, 10:19 am
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Originally Posted by srizvi1 View Post
Thanks for the reply flyerfmaz. What amount did they charge you?
It was $148 for a windshield crack (it wasn't even my fault, but that's another story). Hertz ran the charge to my credit card and gave everyone the finger.

One other thing to bear in mind: the Hertz Damage Report is NOT -- repeat NOT acceptable to many/most insurance companies as sufficient documentation for a claim. You do need it as part of the claim package, but what you really need is for Hertz to create a claim (with a "demand letter") that officially opens up an insurance claim case. Also, take plenty of photos -- you can't count on Hertz to provide the photos of the damage for your insurer.

What Hertz has a nasty habit of doing is simply charging whatever they want to your credit card and then exiting stage left. Talk with the manager at the local Hertz outlet before you leave and either ensure an actual claim is opened within Hertz, or obtain their assurance that a claim will be opened. Get names and phone numbers if you need to make follow-up phone calls directly with the manager.

Last edited by flyerfmaz; Oct 1, 15 at 10:26 am
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Old Oct 1, 15, 10:39 am
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"One other thing to bear in mind: the Hertz Damage Report is NOT -- repeat NOT acceptable to many/most insurance companies as sufficient documentation for a claim. You do need it, but what you really need is for Hertz to create a claim (with a "demand letter") that officially opens up an insurance claim case."

It's unwise to assume that Chase's documentation requirements are identical to Amex's. Chase might require more; it might require less; it might require the same. The OP should see if Chase's description of car-rental coverage is available on line, and if it is, he should print a copy to bring to Hertz when he returns the damaged vehicle.
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Old Oct 2, 15, 7:52 am
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
"And what's that other additional "Single Vehicle Excess" charge all about?"

Violating the terms/conditions of the rental agreement, e.g., driving drunk; engaging in a speed competition; driving on unpaved roads; or whatever your particular contract prohibits.
It doesn't mean that. Violating the terms means that the $4000 plus 29% limit does not apply and the renter is liable for full value of the vehicle

Single vehicle excess is the additional amount payable when the accident is that of a single vehicle and increases liability by another $2200 plus admin fee ( unless exempt the SVA excess )
From https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/reser...CTION&EOAG=SYD

Originally Posted by hertz
Single Vehicle Accident

If the rental vehicle is damaged in a Single Vehicle Accident (an accident not involving a collision between the rental vehicle and another vehicle, other than a parked vehicle), you are liable for the cost of repair up to the amount of the ADE plus AUD $2200 (inclusive of GST). This currently applies to all vehicles at all locations and can be waived with the purchase of Maximum Cover at participating locations.
This would seem to be a single vehicle accident so would seem that the max excess would be ($4000 + $2200) plus 29% airport location fee =$7,998

Last edited by Dave Noble; Oct 2, 15 at 8:19 am
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Old Oct 2, 15, 12:06 pm
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble
Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
"And what's that other additional "Single Vehicle Excess" charge all about?"

Violating the terms/conditions of the rental agreement, e.g., driving drunk; engaging in a speed competition; driving on unpaved roads; or whatever your particular contract prohibits.
It doesn't mean that. Violating the terms means that the $4000 plus 29% limit does not apply and the renter is liable for full value of the vehicle

Single vehicle excess is the additional amount payable when the accident is that of a single vehicle and increases liability by another $2200 plus admin fee ( unless exempt the SVA excess )
From https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/reser...CTION&EOAG=SYD

Originally Posted by hertz
Single Vehicle Accident

If the rental vehicle is damaged in a Single Vehicle Accident (an accident not involving a collision between the rental vehicle and another vehicle, other than a parked vehicle), you are liable for the cost of repair up to the amount of the ADE plus AUD $2200 (inclusive of GST). This currently applies to all vehicles at all locations and can be waived with the purchase of Maximum Cover at participating locations.
This would seem to be a single vehicle accident so would seem that the max excess would be ($4000 + $2200) plus 29% airport location fee =$7,998
I was referring to this language:

"provided I have not otherwise breached the Terms and Conditions."

I would be very surprised if the damage shown in the OP's photos would approach the limit -- without or without the SVE -- unless the collision with the pole resulted in damage to the car's frame.
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Old Oct 2, 15, 3:37 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
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I was referring to this language:

"provided I have not otherwise breached the Terms and Conditions."

I would be very surprised if the damage shown in the OP's photos would approach the limit -- without or without the SVE -- unless the collision with the pole resulted in damage to the car's frame.
The maximum excess liability is the ADE plus the SVE as long as the terms are not otherwise breached

If the terms are breached ( e.g. taking vehicle on unpaved road ) then the renter is liable for the full value of the car

The "and" in the the text comes before the "provided" and needs to be read as

I understand that my Accidental damage excess is $4000(a) and may be subject to a Single vehicle excess

provided

I have not otherwise breached the terms and conditions

According to the Herz site it oes state

Originally Posted by Hertz
Damage to the rented vehicle and other vehicles or property
When you rent a vehicle from Hertz, you are responsible for returning that vehicle to Hertz in the same condition it was in at the start of the rental, with the exception of fair wear and tear.


If you return the vehicle in a damaged state, generally speaking, you will be liable for the cost of repair of the damage (plus the cost of repairing damage to any other vehicle or property with which the rental vehicle collided) up to the amount of the Accident Damages Excess (ADE), which is a maximum of AUD $4,000.00 (inclusive of GST).
.
.
.
Where it appears to Hertz that the cost of repairing the damage (plus the cost of repairing damage to any other vehicle or property with which the rental vehicle collided) may approach or exceed the amount of the ADE, Hertz will charge your credit, charge or debit card with the full amount of the ADE. If it later transpires that the actual cost of repairs are less than the ADE, Hertz will promptly credit the difference to your card.
.
.
Single Vehicle Accident
.
.
.
If the rental vehicle is damaged in a Single Vehicle Accident (an accident not involving a collision between the rental vehicle and another vehicle, other than a parked vehicle), you are liable for the cost of repair up to the amount of the ADE plus AUD $2200 (inclusive of GST). This currently applies to all vehicles at all locations and can be waived with the purchase of Maximum Cover at participating locations.
which also addresses that Hertz may well take the total amount now and refund later any difference

As far as prohibited use ( such as driving on unsealed roads ) or being driven by someone other than an authorised user, this is covered in https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/reser...TIONS&EOAG=SYD

Originally Posted by Hertz
Full Responsibility Uses

You will be fully responsible and liable for Damages where the Vehicle is used:

on any road or other surface which is not sealed other than a road under repair, a short access road to a National or State Park, tourist attraction or holiday accommodation or a road notified to you by Hertz, unless the Vehicle is a four wheel drive; (see Driving Restrictions)

.
.

If the Vehicle is used for a Full Responsibility Us

to the extent permitted by applicable law, you will lose the benefit of any limitation on your liability for loss of or damage to the Vehicle, even if you have accepted MAX, AER PLUS or AER (refer to Insurances and Other Coverages section)

Your Liability



Single Vehicle Accident

If the rental vehicle is damaged in a Single Vehicle Accident (an accident not involving a collision between the rental vehicle and another vehicle, other that a parked vehicle), you are liable for the cost of repair up to the amount of the ADE plus AUD$2,200 (inclusive of GST). This currently applies to all vehicles at all locations and can be waived by the purchase of Maximum cover at participating locations.

Last edited by Dave Noble; Oct 2, 15 at 3:57 pm
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Old Oct 2, 15, 5:27 pm
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Originally Posted by guv1976 View Post
...
Originally Posted by flyerfmaz View Post
...
One other thing to bear in mind: the Hertz Damage Report is NOT -- repeat NOT acceptable to many/most insurance companies as sufficient documentation for a claim. You do need it as part of the claim package, but what you really need is for Hertz to create a claim (with a "demand letter") that officially opens up an insurance claim case. Also, take plenty of photos -- you can't count on Hertz to provide the photos of the damage for your insurer.

What Hertz has a nasty habit of doing is simply charging whatever they want to your credit card and then exiting stage left. Talk with the manager at the local Hertz outlet before you leave and either ensure an actual claim is opened within Hertz, or obtain their assurance that a claim will be opened. Get names and phone numbers if you need to make follow-up phone calls directly with the manager.
It's unwise to assume that Chase's documentation requirements are identical to Amex's. Chase might require more; it might require less; it might require the same. The OP should see if Chase's description of car-rental coverage is available on line, and if it is, he should print a copy to bring to Hertz when he returns the damaged vehicle.
Yeah, the documentation I need I got from the chase insurance rep I talked to myself and the only documents he mentioned were:
- Initial and final rental agreements
- credit card statement showing the charges
- pictures of the accident.
- Itemized estimate of repair or repair bill (may be known as cost matrix)
- Auto rental company accident report (with damage marked on form)

Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
It doesn't mean that. Violating the terms means that the $4000 plus 29% limit does not apply and the renter is liable for full value of the vehicle

Single vehicle excess is the additional amount payable when the accident is that of a single vehicle and increases liability by another $2200 plus admin fee ( unless exempt the SVA excess )
From https://www.hertz.com/rentacar/reser...CTION&EOAG=SYD



This would seem to be a single vehicle accident so would seem that the max excess would be ($4000 + $2200) plus 29% airport location fee =$7,998
Alright so this starts getting into the territory of money I don't have. I can maybe spread over various credit cards but. Is this something they have a right to collect but may not collect? Or they absolutely will collect this?
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Old Oct 2, 15, 5:50 pm
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Originally Posted by srizvi1 View Post

Alright so this starts getting into the territory of money I don't have. I can maybe spread over various credit cards but. Is this something they have a right to collect but may not collect? Or they absolutely will collect this?
As it says in the terms,

Where it appears to Hertz that the cost of repairing the damage (plus the cost of repairing damage to any other vehicle or property with which the rental vehicle collided) may approach or exceed the amount of the ADE, Hertz will charge your credit, charge or debit card with the full amount of the ADE

There isn't a definite yes/no on whether it will charge the entire amount to the card - it depends on what it estimates will be the cost. I would be surprised if the damage inflicted ( unless you rammed at high speed into the pole ) would be as high as even the $5160 ADE
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Old Oct 3, 15, 12:23 am
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Originally Posted by srizvi1 View Post
Yeah, the documentation I need I got from the chase insurance rep I talked to myself and the only documents he mentioned were:
- Initial and final rental agreements
- credit card statement showing the charges
- pictures of the accident.
- Itemized estimate of repair or repair bill (may be known as cost matrix)
- Auto rental company accident report (with damage marked on form)
That sounds like a reasonable list of documents that you should be able to produce yourself, with the exception of the repair estimate. I would like to re-emphasize the importance of having Hertz open an internal claim for the damage so the insurance company has something to reference. Also, do everything you can to try to facilitate communication between Hertz and your insurer. I don't want to belabor the point, but based on my experience Hertz may simply bill your credit card for whatever they think they're due and then walk away. You need to try to prevent that from happening. As a last recourse, you can consider requesting a charge-back to get Hertz's attention.
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Old Oct 3, 15, 1:26 am
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Originally Posted by Dave Noble View Post
As it says in the terms,

Where it appears to Hertz that the cost of repairing the damage (plus the cost of repairing damage to any other vehicle or property with which the rental vehicle collided) may approach or exceed the amount of the ADE, Hertz will charge your credit, charge or debit card with the full amount of the ADE

There isn't a definite yes/no on whether it will charge the entire amount to the card - it depends on what it estimates will be the cost. I would be surprised if the damage inflicted ( unless you rammed at high speed into the pole ) would be as high as even the $5160 ADE
I disagree with your comments, particularly your last sentence - from the look of the damage in the photos, I would be surprised if the repair cost isn't pretty close to ADE, if not exceeding it.

Further, I would be extremely surprised if the OP is not charged the ADE and SVA excess on return on the vehicle.

I say this for a few reasons:

I reversed an Avis car (Ford Falcon XR6) into a telegraph pole in Tasmania a couple to years ago. My speed was 5-10kph and the damage was much less - a 10cm round dent in each of the bumper and boot lid. I was charged the Avis excess ($1,100 under my corporate rate) at the time I returned the car. It is standard practice for major car rental companies in Australia to charge the excess on damaging the vehicle, regardless of fault. I was advised that if the repair bill was lower than the excess, I would be refunded the difference. I thought there was a chance of a refund and after not hearing anything for many weeks, contacted Avis and was eventually told the repair cost was $2,300! New cars are expensive to repair, especially in Australia.

A more recent experience involving Hertz - walked through the Hertz car park at MEL a few days ago and saw a minivan parked with a note written on the window with rental agreement number and $4,000 excess to be charged due to damage on driver side rear - I had a look at the damage and it was minimal (just a scrape on the bumper and/or rear quarter panel).

It should be remembered that Hertz employees are not crash repairers and don't have the expertise to assess the cost to repair damage, so they will almost always just charge the excess at return and allow crash repairers to assess the damage repair cost.
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Old Oct 3, 15, 1:27 am
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Originally Posted by flyerfmaz View Post
That sounds like a reasonable list of documents that you should be able to produce yourself, with the exception of the repair estimate. I would like to re-emphasize the importance of having Hertz open an internal claim for the damage so the insurance company has something to reference. Also, do everything you can to try to facilitate communication between Hertz and your insurer. I don't want to belabor the point, but based on my experience Hertz may simply bill your credit card for whatever they think they're due and then walk away. You need to try to prevent that from happening. As a last recourse, you can consider requesting a charge-back to get Hertz's attention.
And the charge back will almost certainly be rejected, as there are no grounds for it.
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Old Oct 3, 15, 9:30 am
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Originally Posted by AdMEL View Post
And the charge back will almost certainly be rejected, as there are no grounds for it.
It may ultimately be rejected of course, but that isn't the point. The reason for the charge-back is to force open a channel of communication with Hertz. Hertz is notoriously uncooperative and difficult to deal with. No company has carte blanche to just charge whatever they feel like to a customer's credit card without some accountability -- even if it's just accountability to process. A charge-back is a customer's way of saying "prove to me this charge is accurate and approved". This should force Hertz to produce any previously unprovided documentation so the insurance claim can be processed.
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