Are you wondering what will happen after you receive a ticket with a rental car?
Well, after you receive a speeding or a parking citation when using a rental car, the liability will automatically go to the rental company since they are the owners of the vehicle.
The rental agency will then bill this charge to your credit card.
This may take time to appear on your card. It may even take up to several weeks, months, and sometimes up to even a year.
Let’s now jump right into how to deal with each stage of a rental car ticket.
What to do when you get a ticket in a rental car
After receiving a ticket, you should settle the bill immediately.
This will prevent the authority from escalating the bill to the rental agency. This may end up costing you more than the initial citation due to the extra fines and fees imposed on your card.
You can pay for the ticket online or make a direct transfer.
With most rental agencies, you are responsible for any traffic, parking, red light tickets fines, or any other fine you incur while using their rental car.
And another thing, your signature on the rental contract also serves as a confirmation of your agreement to pay any fines and any other administrative fees incurred by the company when dealing with your rental penalties.
Related: 9 rental car charges you will likely get.
What to do when you suspect that you will receive a ticket
If you suspect that you may have committed a few traffic offenses with the rental car, unfortunately, there is nothing much that you can do but wait for the ticket for an undefined time.
This is because of the lengthy process that takes place before you finally get the ticket. And also how you got the ticket.
For instance, if the ticket is issued in person, you will pay and get done with it.
However, this may not be the case if your license plate was captured by a red light camera, where you will have to wait for the ticket to be mailed to you.
A closer look at the process involved in getting a ticket
1. The officers will notify the rental agency.
First, the authority will mail the fines to the vehicle owner for payment, which is the rental agency.
But if you happen to pay, ensure that you hold a receipt for the ticket.
In other words, you will need to cover yourself in case of any disputes arising.
2. The rental agency finds out who had rented the car.
After receiving the mail, the rental agency will then find out who had rented that particular car.
In the US, most rental agencies will clear the bill then recover the amount from your card. In Europe, the rental agencies may give out your name and address to the traffic authorities.
3. You may be charged an administrative fee on your card by the rental agency.
This is primarily because of your involvement in fines and supplying your details to the authorities.
In case you are not quite sure of a charge on your card, weeks or months after a trip with the rental car, be sure to contact the rental agency for more information and clarification.
4. The authority mails you the detail of the fine for payment, with instructions on how to pay
The entire process generally takes a lot of time, sometimes even up to a year.
Therefore, it is always good to keep a copy of the penalty notice or ask for it from the rental agency.
See also: 10 Cheapest Ways to Rent a Car in 2021.
What to do when you receive an admin fee on your card that you are unaware of
You might probably wonder why you got a charge on your card from the rental agency weeks or months after using their services.
Or why you did not get a full refund of your security deposit.
Well, this could be due to traffic fines and admin fees.
The rental company may have deducted these charges from your card and security deposit.
It is always good to contact the agency for more information if you need more details.
Are you renting a car for a road trip? Check out what you need to check in a rental vehicle before renting.
What to do when you don’t agree with the rental car traffic charges
It would be best to let the authority know that you dispute the charges by contacting them specifically about it.
Rather than contacting the agency, you should instead contact the authorities using the contact details issued on the fine.
But in any case, don’t set yourself to a series of emails and phone calls for ignoring violation notices.
You will also need to check with the agency to determine if indeed you were the one driving when the traffic fine was issued.
To contest the ticket, ensure you have enough evidence proving that you were not where the driver’s license was captured.
And that you did not use that particular car; hence it was a case of mistaken identity.
This is when you are asked to present it in court.
What to do when you get speeding tickets and moving violations with a rental car
A moving violation implicates the driver and their license regardless of whether the car is rented or self-owned.
The faster you deal with speed or a moving violation without involving the company, the better.
Unlike the parking violations traced to the vehicle, speed and moving violations are traced to the driver’s license.
Hence, you should pay immediately through any of the indicated payment options to avoid additional fines if the rental company is made aware.
Unfortunately, sometimes it is impossible to know if you’ve been fined during your rental period.
The use of laser technology and red-light cameras enable the authority to pick the vehicle’s license plates and use them to trace the owner of the cars, the rental agency.
The rental company will most certainly distance itself from these charges.
They will hence pass them over to you, together with the administrative fees. They will also share with the authority your driver’s license information.
It is worth noting that driving in overseas countries could also increase your chances of getting a ticket with a rental car due to not being familiar with local rules.
It would hence be important to get more information about the local traffic rules. This way, you will be able to avoid any possible breach of traffic rules that could cost unexpected fines. You can, for instance, get such information from the local guides or the hotel staff.
The parking ticket is charged to the owner of the vehicle, who is the rental company, as opposed to your driver’s license. Pay immediately if you can, and then inform the rental company. But be sure to provide proof of payment.
Speed cameras monitor the speed and will keep photographic evidence. On the other hand, redlight cameras are installed at key intersections to check for traffic violations involving running red lights. They are triggered by movement and will record images of vehicles that violate the traffic rules.
What would be the possible consequences of evading rental car ticket fees?
The rental agency could sue for the whole amount and additional legal fees.
When enforced, it could even result in asset attachment or balance turned over to the collection agencies.
And perhaps unsurprisingly, a $30 parking ticket citation could land you $6000 in fines after just a few months or weeks.
The initial ticket amount may grow over time from a small to a considerable amount. These fines never go away and will keep on accumulating.
Eventually, these balances may then be turned over to the collection agencies, which will potentially hurt your credit score.
This can also lead to your arrest and prosecution in some countries. And let’s not forget that a warrant of arrest has the potential of damaging your reputation.
In the end, you might not be able to make future rental bookings with an agency when you get to their counters until when the debt is fully settled.
This could be extended to other agencies within a common umbrella of ownership, from the information they share among themselves.
This will definitely prevent you from renting a car with other agencies during that time.
But even worse, your name could end up on the dreaded Do Not Rent list, or you could risk the loss, suspension, or revocation of your driver’s license.
How to avoid receiving traffic, parking, or red light citations
Obeying the traffic laws is perhaps the most prominent and basic way of avoiding getting tickets.
A simple mistake such as leaving your car unattended even for a few minutes could cost you some hundred dollars when the local authority catches up with you.
Avoid parking the vehicle in illegal spots even when other cars have also illegally parked there. Otherwise, the traffic enforcer will be happy to write everyone a ticket.
Ensure that you stay fully aware of your surrounding at all times. Trust me. It’ll all be worth it.
And one last thing, always check the speed limits when driving in new areas for the first time.
This will, without a doubt, save your wallet from hefty speed tickets.
It’s also worth noting, signing the rental contract means that you agree to pay for all the traffic fines and any other administrative charges imposed by the rental company.
Additionally, this signature means that the rental company can give out your information to the authority in a traffic violation.