Nebraska woman experiences rental car nightmare

Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 10:28 PM CDT
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SARPY COUNTY, Neb. (WOWT) - A routine business trip ends in a paperwork nightmare for a Gretna area accountant. What happened in another city six weeks ago still haunts her today.

A travel bag is always nearby Cristine Miller, who takes a dozen business trips a year, but one motel wake-up call won’t be forgotten.

“And I was completely freaked out,” she said.

As she slept in a Louisville, Kentucky, area motel, her rental car and others got knocked around like bowling pins in the parking lot. The driver of a rented box truck told police he didn’t see the vehicles while backing up.

That startling wake-up call came at a bad time. Cristine had to catch a flight, forcing her to deal with the smashed rental car during a layover.

Although she was told the Louisville rental office would handle towing, Cristine said she got automated calls from Budget.

“It’s 17 days you need to turn this car in our else, that is a scary call,” Miller said.

Budget’s statement says while the customer requested a tow on May 29th, the vehicle didn’t reach the rental company until June 9th, which is why they continued to reach out to her.

“I’ve called, I’ve been on hold, I’ve been hung up on, I’ve put hours into this and really want this to be resolved,” Miller said.

Her husband, Doug, backs that up.

“It’s been very stressful for her and like I say, it’s difficult to watch someone have to go through this to deal with it,” he said.

Budget said that, per rental agreement, the customer is responsible for damage and tow costs. She marked “declined” on accepting insurance.

“Well it’s easier to buy the insurance than go through this but it’s very expensive,” Miller said.

Cristine’s company insurance is handling it and will likely go after the truck driver at fault. A call from Budget’s claims rep came last week, a month after the smashup.

“Hopefully it is on the road to getting settled, we’ll see,” Miller said.

She’ll be watching what’s parked around her rental car when on future business trips.

A local insurance broker recommends buying the rental company insurance only if it’s for a short trip and if you might be parking in a high-crime area. Otherwise, use a business or personal policy, though there’s usually deductible even if it’s not
the renter’s fault.

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