Rental Car Question

So I rented a car a month or so ago, and ended up with a flat tire. I didn’t hit anything, or get into an accident; the tire just blew. I changed the tire, and returned the car, explaining what happened. I declined the rental insurance, but I have insurance through my Amex card.

The Amex insurance won’t cover the tire damage because it was not part of a larger accident. They also said they cannot cover it because I was not at fault, and that the responsibility ostensibly lies with the rental car company. Obviously, the rental company disagrees, and wants me to pay for it.

The cost isn’t too much, but the principle of paying for it really pisses me off. Particularly in light of the circumstances of the event and the rental process (details which I won’t bore you with).

My question is how I can negotiate with the rental company in terms of fees? Also, is it possible to take them to small claims court, or something like that? Thanks in advance.


Read the fine print. Not glance. Read. Your best place to start is to read your rental agreement from top to bottom. Go to the rental company’s web site and read the fine print there as well. Regardless of what you “think” should be the case, the fine print takes precedence over what you “think” should be the case.

Anything stronger will probably take a lawyer and asking for legal advice here isn’t a very good idea.

FWIW, we rented a vehicle during a recent trip. Before we signed the contract we went over the vehicle with a fine tooth comb with the agent present, documenting every nick, scratch, and physical condition of the vehicle we could find, including the tires. We stopped short of photographing the vehicle before we left the airport (but may do that the next time we rent). Any documentation of “wear and tear” you have on your contract prior to signing is more evidence in your favor just in case something happens.

The hire cars I had in Europe recently from a major company ad in the contract- quite explicitly- that we were responsible for any tyre damage or repairs.