I recently received an inquiry from Iain of Glasgow asking if he should include the use of his car to his guests. This is an important decision and to help you, the below outlines issues you need to consider when determining if you want to lend your vehicle:
• Is your vehicle is good running order and well maintained?
• Will your vehicle’s insurance policy cover a ‘guest’ driver? You should contact your automobile insurance carrier to confirm who is covered and if there is an accident with injuries, how your policy will respond and who would be responsible to pay the deductible on repairs.
• Will your guests be familiar with the rules of the road in your province or state? Some guests may be travelling from a foreign country where the rules of the road are different from those of your area. In fact, they may even drive on the other side of the road in their country.
After considering the above and you are confident in lending your vehicle to your guests, ensure the following:
1. Your vehicle is:
• clean, both inside and out
• in good repair with a recent maintenance check including an oil change
• full of gasoline. Your guests should be advised that the vehicle is to be returned in the same manner, which is with a full tank of gas.
2. Your guests are informed as to whether your vehicle has a manual (standard) or automatic transmission. A typical North American might not know how to drive a vehicle with a manual transmission. A manual transmission remains dominant in Europe, Africa, Latin America and parts of Asia.
3. A note is left for your guests as to the type of fuel the vehicle uses.
4. If the vehicle is equipped with a navigation system, set it to the language of your guests.
5. Your guests are provided with any special instructions needed to operate the vehicle, such as how to release the parking/hand brake.
6. All important documents such as the vehicle’s registration and insurance card as well as the vehicle’s instruction manual are located in the glove compartment/box.
7. If available, provide the various accessories for the vehicle that may be needed by your guests such as a child’s car seat and bike rack.
8. You have an understanding with your guests on the number of kilometres you are allowing them to drive. For any long distance driving where the mileage will be substantial, an agreement should be in place with a calculation on the charge to be applied for the extra kilometres over the base amount.
9. If arrangements are being made with your guests to pick up the vehicle in the airport or train station parking lot, provide the guests with detailed instructions on where the vehicle is parked. In order for your guests to easily locate your vehicle, provide a description including make, model and colour as well as the licence plate number. Also provide the location of the keys and leave the parking receipt in the car so they can pay and exit the parking lot smoothly. This situation is common when a host and guest can coordinate their arrival and departure times, where the host will drive to the airport and park the vehicle which will then be picked up later that day by the arriving guest.
Again, the decision to provide your guests with access to your vehicle is up to you and your comfort level. As an alternative, you may want to offer the use of bicycles. If so, include a bike path guide displaying bicycle friendly routes and places specifically designed for cyclists. I also recommend providing helmets to ensure the safety of your guests, a bike lock (with key or combination number) and tire pump.
How about you… have you either lent or borrowed a vehicle in connection to a stay in a vacation rental?