Rental cars and unpaved roads

devon deer

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So, i get off my plane eager to get to my preferred hunting location in Montana, pick up my rental SUV/4x4 and in the rental agreement it states 'not be used on unpaved roads' well that's access to half of Montana ruled out straight away!
I have never taken any notice of it before, but thinking ahead to next year, and where i have taken my rental car in the past, it got me thinking, have any of you had an accident whilst renting a car and using it off road, or had a claim against you after you returned the vehicle?
The problem is all these cars have satellite trackers in,so no doubt they don't do live tracking, but i bet if they discover damage to the underside of the rental the first thing they do is check where you have been.

Do any rental companies exist that allow use of their cars on unpaved roads?

I have always been very careful about where i take a rental but everyone can make errors of judgement, especially driving on the opposite side of the road than at home!

Cheers

Richard
 

jryoung

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Unable to determine due to velocity
I've never paid attention to the fine print. When I rented a truck last year at Dollar in Missoula the owner operator of the franchise was the one to pick us up and shuttle us to the offsite location. He was excited we were hunters, had some thoughts on the area we were heading and made various comments that the truck was ready for hunting season.

I would guess that if there was significant damage that clause may be called upon. But, otherwise it isn't something to worry about. To track and monitor an entire fleet of vehicles is expensive, time consuming and margin killing.
 

Southwind

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I think it is probably that their insurance wouldn't cover you if something happened. I would make sure my personal coverage would or get a rider.
 

Jwill

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I've never seen that on the contract, but that's not to say it wasn't in there. I usually try to read before signing though. My personal insurance covers me for rentals, so I usually decline extra coverage.
 

MT_elk

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I can't believe that is in the contract. Like you said, half of MT is unpaved roads! However, if it is in the contract and you sign it, then I would think you are liable. I can't imagine them taking the time and money to track every vehicle and where it's been.
 

mtmiller

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the rental agreement it states 'not be used on unpaved roads' well that's access to half of Montana ruled out straight away!

That is called the Schmalt's Clause. I think he lost 4 quarts of oil in my driveway.
 

Nemont

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I pulled up my copy of the Rental I had from Avis in July down in Missouri.

This the the section regarding prohibited uses of the vehicle.

A. You use or permit the car to be used: 1) by anyone other than an authorized driver, as
defined in paragraph 4 above; 2) to carry passengers or property for hire; 3) to tow or
push anything; 4) to be operated in a test, race or contest, or on unpaved roads; 5) while
the driver is under the influence of alcohol and/or a controlled substance; 6) for conduct
that could properly be charged as a crime such as a felony or misdemeanor, including
the transportation of a controlled substances, contraband or any other instrument or
device that is considered unlawful to possess.; 7) carelessly, recklessy or while
overloaded; 8) if rented in the United States, outside of the United States, or with our
permission, Canada; or 9) if rented in Canada, outside of Canada, or with our permission,
the United States: or
 

dustinf

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I fart in their general direction.

30 days ago on the haul road in Alaska.

6F31DE67-3B10-42FB-AAE2-3A802B4F6237.jpg

F5772B47-EA8E-4055-83DB-5D85410062BE.jpg
 

Don K

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All the rental agreements I have had have this clause in there. Haven't had a problem with returns I just use the truck like I would my own
 

Corax

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I am not hearing any stories of anyone being dinged for driving on unpaved roads. When I was working, I rented many times but always sedans for paved roads. I have called rental companies a couple of times about problems with the vehicles, and they have traveled to where I was with a replacement vehicle. They probably are not going to do that to Forest Road xxxx.
 

LukeDuke

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Minnesota
I always decline because I am covered by my own insurance. We rent SUVs in Saskatoon each fall for waterfowling. The girl at the counter just asks us to get as many feathers out as possible...with a big smile on her face. I would venture to guess that " gravel travel" is expected in these hunter destinations. Interesting wording though.
 

jabber

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I have returned vehicles covered in dust, inside & out, one had a cracked in the windshield and a tire that had been ran flat for a little bit, one had the front skirt under the bumper hanging by one side and I have never had a problem or question. Of course I always get the insurance from them, yes it cost a little bit, but it is a nice piece of mind knowing I can get out of it at the airport and go right in and not have to worry about it.
 

Rancho Loco

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Bozeman, MT
Funny thing is, I put more wear and tear on my rental last month, from OAK to mendocino and back, all on pavement, than I did driving in my truck on FS roads this last week.

If you don't intend to do any rally driving in an Escalade, you will be fine.
 

RobG

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Bozeman, MT
I got hammered for a chipped windshield that I swear was there when they rented it to me so give it a good look before you get in. Some credit cards also cover rental cars automatically (no charge) so check with yours or get one that does.
 
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