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How to prevent common RV rental incidents

Rental mishaps are uncommon, but as the saying goes, accidents do happen. The good news? There are ways they can be avoided!

Here are the 7 most avoidable RV rental incidents and how to avoid them.

1. Pumping the wrong fuel

Renters pumping the wrong fuel type in your RV could not only cause an expensive claim but can also take the RV off the platform while it’s being repaired.

To avoid this:

  • Educate your renters about correct fuel type during the walkthrough
  • Include a reminder in any guide or manual you provide

You can also remind your renters about using diesel fuel as part of any mid-trip communication you send. Given only 55% of fueling stations offer diesel, we recommend renters use a tool, like GasBuddy, that’ll show all locations offering diesel along their route. Before departure, owners can have the renter complete a quick search for diesel gas to ensure they’ll have options along the way.

You can even buy diesel specific locking fuel caps, with several options available here.

2. Blind spot damage

Almost 70% of damage reported for rented vehicles on Outdoorsy took place in the blind spot behind the driver’s side of the vehicle.

To avoid this:

  • Perform mirror checks

Performing mirror checks helps increase visibility and prevent damage. Once the renter gets in the driver’s seat, take some time to help make sure their seat and their mirrors are properly adjusted. 

3. Tire blowouts

This is one of the most common and most dangerous issues that an RVer will encounter on the road. For this reason, it is especially important that you and your renter are both up-to-date on RV tire safety, as is detailed on our blog. The last thing you want is for them to have a major blowout on their trip.

To avoid this:

  • Make sure your tires have sufficient tread
  • Check that all are properly inflated

All that said, a flat tire here and there is sometimes unavoidable. Luckily, there’s always Roadside Assistance at the ready.

4. Awnings breaking

RV awnings break easily, are expensive to fix, and can take your RV offline while it’s being repaired. You can often find new fabric for around $200. An entire new awning may cost anywhere between $500-$3500, depending on size, brand, and type. 

To avoid this:

  • Provide in depth instruction on proper awning use
  • Offer add-ons to eliminate use of the awning altogether

Owners can provide renters with a separate shade canopy. In fact, some owners are offering these shade canopies as an add-on while not allowing any usage of their RV’s awning. These canopies can be quite affordable, costing as little as $50 from sites like Amazon. So having a canopy as an add-on means that it will essentially pay for itself!

5. End-of-trip mishaps

We see a lot of renters causing accidents or other avoidable mishaps while rushing to get your vehicle back on time.

To avoid this:

  • Offer end-of-trip services as an add-on at booking

Offering these services helps avoid damage that could take your rig off the road AND increases your bottom line. Renters tell us that they would happily pay to know those “last mile” tasks will be taken care of and unexpected fees after a trip can sometimes lead to renters leaving bad reviews.

Allowing your renter to purchase end-of-trip services in advance makes your RV stand out from the crowd and gives you peace of mind by reducing those common end-of-trip mishaps. Offering a final fuel fill-up add-on is a great way to prevent common gas station accidents and can make your renter’s return trip less frantic. Some other pre-paid services we see successful owners bundle into packages include:

  • tank dump
  • propane use
  • generator usage
  • mileage overage
  • cleaning

Going the “last mile” for your renter is a win-win.

6. Low clearance accidents

No renter knowingly wants to damage the top of your RV by driving it into a low bridge, drive-through, or parking garage.

To avoid this:

  • Make sure the renter knows the RV’s dimensions
  • Lead them to RV trip planner apps to find RV-friendly routes

Clearly educating them about the clearance of your rig will help your renters avoid these kinds of impacts. Some owners include this information in their walkthrough or even place a sticker inside with the clearance height.

7. RV-specific vulnerabilities

Some features in your RV may be more vulnerable to impact than others. And renters may forget are start driving without these being properly cared for and checked, ultimately leaving your rig more vulnerable to damage.

To avoid this:

  • Point out any vulnerable features that need to be double-checked before driving
  • Include a checklist in your manual or other instructional materials

Common vulnerabilities include:

  • stairs not retracted into the vehicle
  • doors and compartment doors open or unlatched
  • awning not fully retracted

Keep your RV and your renters safe by informing them about the potential mishaps of RVing and ways to avoid them. The key exchange is a great time to walk them through all the ins and outs. In addition, owners can provide checklists, labels, and manuals as reminders. Provide a version of this to renters as a checklist, and they’ll be well on their way to a safe trip in your RV.