Sixt Car Rental Scratch Policy Explained

Sixt Car Rental Scratch Policy Explained

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Renting a car comes with its own set of concerns and considerations, one of which is the vehicle’s condition.

While minor scratches may seem insignificant, they can result in additional costs when returning the car.

In this article, we’ll dive deep into the scratch policy of Sixt to help you understand what you’re accountable for.

Understanding What the Sixt Car Rental Scratch Policy Entails

When it comes to car rentals, it’s the little details that often matter most. And one of those details you might overlook? Scratches. It’s easy to think, “Ah, it’s just a tiny mark. They probably won’t notice.”

But Sixt, like many rental companies, has a policy that addresses even those seemingly minor imperfections.

Let’s get straight into the nuts and bolts of it.

Sixt doesn’t have a one-size-fits-all approach when it comes to scratches.

The policy usually revolves around the size and location of the scratch. Now, while we’d all love for there to be a blanket rule that says, “Scratches under X inches are fine,” it’s not always that simple.

The first thing to understand is the ‘fair wear and tear’ principle.

Any car, whether it’s your personal vehicle or a rental, is going to accumulate minor marks over time. Sixt gets that.

However, significant scratches, especially those that penetrate the paint layer, are a different ball game. Such damages could compromise the car’s protective layer, potentially leading to rust or further wear.

But how do you gauge if a scratch is severe enough to be a concern?

Unfortunately, unlike the other car rental companies like National and Budget that we’ve written articles on, Sixt doesn’t have a defined evaluator that calculates when scratches would require a fine and when not.

However, a useful rule of thumb is the ‘credit card test.’

If a scratch is longer than the long edge of a standard credit card, it’s usually considered significant. If it’s shorter, it might be deemed normal wear and tear. But always remember, the final decision rests with the Sixt inspection team.

You also want to keep in mind the location of the scratch.

Some areas of the car are more prone to scratches than others.

For example, door handles and the edges of doors often get minor marks simply from daily use. Sixt would typically take this into account when evaluating any damage.

What’s the charge for Rental Car Damage on Sixt?

If you’ve ever returned a rental car and been hit with unexpected fees, you know how much of a dent it can make in your budget.

Not to mention, it’s a pretty unsettling way to end what was supposed to be a simple, convenient experience.

With Sixt, understanding the costs associated with car damages, including scratches, can help you avoid that end-of-trip shock.

First and foremost, the charge for any damage on a Sixt rental car is usually determined by the degree and type of damage. Light scratches might incur a smaller fee, but significant damage could run you into hundreds or even thousands of dollars.

Now, you might be wondering, “Is there a fixed rate for different types of damages?”

The short answer is no. Repair costs can fluctate depending on the make and model of the car, and even the location where the vehicle is returned.

For instance, a scratch on a luxury SUV will likely cost more to repair than one on a compact car. That’s just the economics of vehicle maintenance.

Something to keep in mind is the concept of the “damage excess.”

This is the maximum amount you’ll be charged for any single incident of damage. Sixt offers various options to reduce this excess, often for an additional daily fee. If you opt not to reduce the excess, be prepared for a higher out-of-pocket expense if you do incur damage.

Sixt may also charge a “loss of use” fee.

This is essentially a charge for the revenue lost while the car is out for repair. If the scratch or damage is extensive enough to make the vehicle unsuitable for rental, you could be looking at this additional charge.

How to Avoid Being a Victim of The Sixt Car Rental Scratch Policy

Without chatters, below are five key steps to take, aimed at ensuring you’re not caught off guard by Sixt’s scratch policy.

Step 1: Pre-Rental Inspection

The moment you’re handed the keys to your Sixt rental car, conduct a thorough pre-rental inspection.

This isn’t just a casual walk around the vehicle; be meticulous. Check the body, doors, roof, undercarriage—every nook and cranny. If you spot any scratches or dings, document them.

Step 2: Photographic Evidence

In the 21st century, your smartphone should be your best friend.

Take time-stamped photographs of any existing scratches or damages you find during your pre-rental inspection. Capture multiple angles and ensure the lighting is good so the scratch is visible. Photos serve as concrete evidence in case there’s a dispute when you return the car.

Step 3: Report Pre-Existing Damage

Immediately report any pre-existing scratches or damages to Sixt before you leave the premises. This is crucial.

Sixt usually has a formal process for documenting the car’s pre-existing condition. You don’t want to be held responsible for a scratch you didn’t cause, so make sure it’s all on record before you drive off.

Step 4: Drive Mindfully

This may sound like a no-brainer, but the easiest way to avoid any scratch-related charges is to return the car in the same condition you received it.

That means mindful driving is crucial. Be cautious in parking lots, maintain a safe distance from other vehicles, and be extra careful in narrow or crowded streets where scratches are more likely to occur.

Step 5: Post-Rental Inspection

Once your rental period is over, don’t just drop the keys and go. Perform a post-rental inspection, similar to your pre-rental one. If possible, have it done in the presence of a Sixt representative.

This is your final chance to ensure that no new scratches have appeared during your rental period, and if they have, to discuss them upfront rather than being surprised by additional charges later.


To wrap things up: while no one plans to return a rental with a scratch, it’s always good to be in the know. Familiarizing yourself with Sixt’s scratch policy can help avoid any unexpected charges and ensure a smoother car rental experience.

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