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Can I Return My Rental Car if the Airport Location is Closed?

Can I Drop My Rental Car Off After Hours at the Airport?

A situation like taking an early flight to attend a business conference or an unavoidable change in the travel plan may force you to drop off your rental car after hours at the airport.

These situations will often lead to the most frequently asked question (FAQ) by renters can I drop off my rental car after hours at the airport?

The answer to this question is YES!

Many rental car facilities allow you to drop off the rental car at the airport after hours. However, they may ask you to follow a few specific after-hour return policies and procedures.

This article will help you understand the potential risks of after-hour vehicle drop-off at the airport and the procedure you need to follow to drop it off hassle-free. 

What to Know About Airport After-Hour Drop-Off

An after-hour return drop-off is not recommended unless it is unavoidable because of the underlying potential risks such as unexpected damages, late fees, and additional charges for falsely-accused damages.

  • Unexpected damages: It is your responsibility as a renter to safely hand over the vehicle to the rental agency. Rental agreements state that the renter is responsible for any damages to the vehicle until the representative of the rental agency checks it in. This means the rental agency will not take responsibility for the damages caused to the vehicle you drop off after-hours at the designated parking space. For instance, if the vehicle is stolen from the return lane or damaged due to unexpected weather, you may face the consequences.

  • Late fees: Besides drop-off procedures, you may also need to be aware of any specific late fees your rental company may impose for dropping off the vehicle after-hours. For instance, many rental companies offer a grace period of up to 30 minutes for daily car rental returns. They may charge an extra full-day amount if your return is late by more than two hours after the grace period. Since rental companies consider your after-hour drop-off as a late rental return, they may add an extra full-day rental amount to your actual rental cost.

  • Charges for falsely-accused damages: Since the inspection of the after-hour drop-off vehicle takes place the next day morning in your absence, it will be difficult for you to prove your innocence on falsely accused damages. Thus, carefully go through the rental receipt you receive from the agency and defend additional charges if there are any.

How to Drop Off a Rental Car at the Airport

If you cannot avoid dropping off the rental car after-hours at the airport, you may need to proceed with caution. The following tips may help you avoid unnecessary stress and additional charges from the rental agency.

Check with Your Rental Company

The after-hour drop-off policies may vary from one rental provider to another. Let’s dive into the policies of a few car rental companies below.

  • Airport Van Rental (AVR): Drop-off at locations other than pick-up is allowed, including after hours. However, additional fees may apply in this situation. 

  • Hertz: The renter can park the vehicle in the designated parking area and leave keys and rental agreement in the drop box located nearby the rental counter.

  • Enterprise-Rent-A-Car: The drop-off location should be the same as the pick-up location. If your after-hour drop-off location is different from the pick-up location, you should speak with the customer service team to make appropriate prior arrangements.

  • Budget and Avis: While some locations of budget and Avis accept after-hours car returns, others do not. You may need to check with your rental location if it facilitates after-hour car returns or not.

  • Sixt: Each location has a 24-hour key drop-off box to facilitate the after-hour car returns.

  • Alamo: They ask that you follow signs for rental return, park the car in the specified return lane, and put the keys in a secure kiosk located nearby the return parking lane area.

Regardless of whether you are going to return the car after-hours or not, you should be completely aware of the rental car agency’s after-hours drop-off policies. If you are not sure of the return policies of the rental location, just don’t hesitate to call customer support and get the details.

Leave Car in Designated Area

Many rental car companies ask you to drop off the car in the designated return lane. However, they don’t assume responsibility if the car is stolen from the parking area or damaged due to bad weather. Protecting the car until the next morning is your responsibility.

Therefore, make sure the return parking lane you choose meets the following requirements:

  1. Adequate lighting

  2. Quick accessibility

  3. Covered by surveillance cameras

This will protect the vehicle from break-ins, robberies, and damages.

Take Pictures or Video

After parking the vehicle at a designated parking slot, take as many pictures of it as possible. A 360-degree video covering all parts of the vehicle, including the odometer, tires, engine, boot space, doors, and others, will help you prove your innocence if the rental agency falsely accuses you of the damages that might have been caused by its staff while moving the vehicle in and around the parking area.

Drop Off Keys

Ensure you have locked the car before leaving the parking space and drop the keys at the drop-box near the security counter so that the representatives of the rental agency will check in the car immediately when they come to the office the next morning. Confirm with the rental agency if you need to drop off the rental agreement along with the keys.

Follow Up with Rental Company

Rental car centers ideally call you the next day of the drop-off to confirm the car return and provide you with the details of the total accumulated rental cost. If you have not received the confirmation of drop-off, you may need to follow up with the rental agency, get the information about the total rental cost, and complete the return formalities.

Make Airport Drop-Off a Breeze with AVR

Some rental locations, especially at small-sized airports, don’t accept after-hour drop-offs. Therefore, you should check with the rental location about its return policies and plan your drop-off accordingly.

Airport Van Rental (AVR) is a car rental company with over a dozen car rental locations in the United States.

Some of our popular airport car rental locations are:

  1. Los Angeles International Airport

  2. Atlanta International Airport

  3. Dallas-Fortworth International Airport

  4. Denver International Airport

  5. Houston International Airport

  6. Las Vegas International Airport

  7. Tampa International Airport

  8. Orlando International Airport

  9. San Francisco International Airport

Our fleet comprises SUVs, minivans, and passenger vans that perfectly fit into your travel requirements during road trips, family vacations, and weekend getaways. We facilitate 24/7 pick-up and returns across all of our airport locations. If you are planning to return the car after-hours, just inform us a bit earlier at 888-234-8014 so that our customer support team will make appropriate prior arrangements for your drop-off.

Book a rental car from AVR with a credit or debit card to enjoy a memorable journey and hassle-free after-hours return. 

AVR Van Rental

Book with confidence, we have your back.

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