Pay Attention to the T&C When Renting a Car in Japan – Learn from My Mistake

So I’ve just came back from a family trip in Ishigaki Island of Okinawa, and had an amazing time. Before I start writing about this wonderful island of Japan, I’d like to first share with you a little learning I’ve got from my car rental this time.

I’ve done so many car rentals thru out Japan, with both big and small companies. I usually tend to rent from bigger dealers as they seems to be more trust worthy, and their websites are usually fairly easy to navigate around.

This time, as I was travelling with my family in a group of 11 people, we wanted to rent the bigger people movers. After looking thru both English and Japanese websites, there’s only one car rental company that had the car we wanted during that period, so with no choice, we went with them. I did some google search of this company, and they seem very legit and have high ratings.

On the date of arrival, we waited for about 20 minutes, then the representative from the car rental company arrived and picked us up. It’s about a 15 minutes car ride from the airport to where the company is, and while we were shown with our cars, we were slightly disappointed, as the cars seems to be a bit dated. It’s the first time I’ve rented a car in Japan that doesn’t have reverse sensor, nor electronic key fobs…. Nevertheless, everything was functioning well, and I mean, safety comes first right? So as long as it’s a safe car, we are happy.

I’ve went thru the T&C briefly, purchased the optional CDW (collision damage waive) at 1,080yen/day, signed the contract, and here we go on our road trip!

Must Read Japan Ishigaki Rakuen Rental Car Experience

Everything was fine with the car, only minor issues were every now and then, the GPS would go wack! It would all the sudden tell me to turn when there’s not a road, or it would suddenly show that I’m driving in the middle of the water lol. Half the time I ended up following my Google map on my phone instead.

On the 3rd day of the trip, when I was reversing the car, I must have gone blind, and crashed the rear of the car into the stone barrier. The bumper ended up with some very visible scratches and dint. As there were no third party involved, and the stone barrier was not damaged, so I just took some photos of the car and drove off.

Must Read Japan Ishigaki Rakuen Rental Car ExperienceMust Read Japan Ishigaki Rakuen Rental Car ExperienceMust Read Japan Ishigaki Rakuen Rental Car Experience

NOW THIS IS WHERE YOU NEED TO PAY ATTENTION!!

In Japan, whenever you rent a car and is involved in an accident, no matter the magnitude of the accident, you MUST report to the rental car company and the police! (Yes, to the police, even if you have just scratched your car) Because if you don’t, your insurance policy will not cover the incident, and you will have to pay full for the cost.

Car Accident –> Call the Car Rental Company –> Call the Police –> Get a Report

I wasn’t aware of this until the day I returned the car, and I was charged 80,000yen (USD$725) in total to fix the car. 50,000yen was for NOC (Non Operation Charge) which is to cover the loss of the rental car company during the days the car is sent to fix, and 30,000yen is the repair cost.

Initially I thought I was charged 30,000yen because I did not report to the car rental company and police immediately after the collision, but after a deeper discussion with the company, I was told that because this particular accident is caused by human error, and their CDW does not cover human error, therefore even if I have reported this case, I would still have the pay that 30,000yen.

Must Read Japan Ishigaki Rakuen Rental Car Experience

I have discussed this case with many others who have previously rented a car in Japan, and everyone thought the T&C of this particular car rental company is a bit strange, and it’s the first time any of us have came across a CDW that does not cover human errors.

Nevertheless, as this was stated in their website, so I can’t really say they have tricked me, but instead, I should be the one responsible, as I was the one who did not read carefully about their T&C. Although 80,000yen is expensive, but no one was hurt and I’ve learnt something new, so I guess it’s worth it.

So to everyone of you who plan to rent a car in Japan, be sure to check out the T&C before you rent the car! And lastly, drive carefully! If you want to know about the car rental company I went with this time, feel free to drop me a mail πŸ™‚