Renting Summer Fun
August 24, 2021
Rent a summer vehicle without worry
Canada is one of the most beautiful countries in the world. So even if we can’t travel abroad just yet, there are plenty of exciting things to do this summer, whether you’re into boating, camping, off-road riding or getting into a motorhome and hitting the road. If your summer adventure includes renting a fun vehicle, here are a few tips on how to avoid surprises.
Renting an RV/motorhome
Read the small print! This is critical for all the rentals mentioned in this article — and all contracts in general. When renting a motorhome, there are very important things you need to know before clicking yes. Is insurance included? Is it included where you live and where you’re going? What does the policy cover and what is the deductible? And these are only the insurance questions… There’s much more.
Are you entirely responsible for repairs should the vehicle break down? What is the damage deposit? What is the dispute process where you are renting? If you’re renting from an Airbnb-type company, how involved will the organizing company be — or do you have to deal directly with the vehicle’s owner if there is a problem?
Know what class of vehicle you are renting because the laws of what you can and can’t do differ according to class: using the washroom or moving around while in motion, for example. Ask about their cancellation policy. And of course, carefully check the age and license requirements, any limits on passengers, where you can legally park overnight, and so on.
Ask the owner for the vehicle’s most recent checklist: When was the oil changed? When was the RV last fully inspected by a qualified mechanic? Make sure to do a damage walk-through beforehand. Have this done virtually, if need be, but all damage — big and small — should be noted and kept by you and the owner so you can’t be charged for an existing problem. Ask as many questions as needed in order to make sure you’re comfortable with the terms of the rental.
Renting an off-road vehicle
The laws governing all-terrain vehicles (ATVs or quads), side-by-side, and other off-road vehicles vary widely from province to province. For example, who can drive one and who can ride as a passenger, where you can go, how they can be transported, how fast you can drive and if you need specific insurance.
If you are renting an off-road vehicle for a guided or solo adventure, a reputable company should explain the regulations before you go. As above, be sure to read the small print regarding insurance (is extra required?), and damage deposit. And perform many of the same tasks as renting an RV, like conducting a pre-ride damage inspection (keep a record of it).
Be sure to make note of their cancellation policy. It is not uncommon for no-shows and even late-shows to be charged for the day or the tour. You will also likely have to sign a waiver, for assumption of risk and indemnity, should something unfortunate happen. Read it carefully. Ask to see it in advance, if you like. This holds true for all rentals.
Renting a boat, jet ski, kayak, or other watercraft
Whether you rent a speed boat or a dinghy, Canada has regulations in place for all pleasure craft with a motor, no matter how big or how small, no matter where you’re located in the country, except Nunavut and the Northwest Territories. In each case, you are required by law to carry proof of competency while on board. These include rental boat safety checklists that you fill out, proving that the rental agent explained the must-knows of your watercraft before you begin (and while you are on the water). If a boating license is required, then you have to qualify for one beforehand. You will find accredited courses here.
Even if you rent human-powered crafts like kayaks, canoes and stand up paddleboards, there are mandatory regulations to follow, whether you are renting on your own or with a group. Everyone must have a personal flotation device (PFD) and a sound signal (a whistle), and depending on the size of your craft, possibly a heaving line, a flashlight, etc.
Like the rentals mentioned above, always ask about insurance and do a thorough pre-ride inspection of the watercraft with the company.
In order to minimize the risk of an accident or a dispute, it’s important to do your homework before you sign on for a rental. Make sure the company you’re renting from is registered and reputable. Ask a lot of questions about the vehicle, insurance, where you can drive it, and everything else to ensure your summer is filled with sunshine and fun, not stress. If you need advice on the rental contract or any of the applicable laws, we are here to help. www.legalshield.ca
Articles on the LegalShield.ca website are for informational purposes only and do not constitute legal advice or opinion in any manner. Laws mentioned in the articles vary from province to province. Any links to third-party sites in our articles are for general information purposes only and LegalShield is not affiliated with, nor does it endorse, the content of linked sites. It is always advisable to seek legal counsel — and LegalShield can help.
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