Speeding Ticket in Rental Car: What Do You Do?
Drivers everywhere know that there’s nothing more annoying than getting a speeding ticket, especially if you were barely over the speed limit and just trying to get to work on time! But most of the time, the process for paying a speeding ticket is clear. The police officer gives you the ticket, and you have a few different options to pay the fine by a certain date.
But what if you aren’t in your regular vehicle and are instead in a rental car? In that case, how long do you have to pay the fine, and what happens if you’re fined for speeding thanks to a camera snapping your photo rather than a police stop?
Today, let’s answer these questions and more. Now, you know exactly what to do if you get a speeding ticket in a rental car.
Paying a Standard Ticket
Keeping an eye on the speed limit and staying in control of your gas pedal are two of the most crucial safety tips. But from time to time, it’s easy to accidentally slip up and catch the eye of a police officer who gives you a speeding ticket.
When a police officer stops you in a rental vehicle, the ticket-paying process is fortunately identical to the process you’d follow if you were fined in your own car. The officer does record the license plate of the vehicle. However, they’ll already know that you’re in a rental car rather than your own (since you’ll tell them this information when they stop you, presumably).
Note that the ticket is assigned to your name and Social Security number, not the vehicle’s license plate itself. Because of this, you’ll still be on the hook to pay for the ticket by a certain date. The officer will give you a few different options to pay the ticket, including paying it online, sending a check to the local municipality’s office, or some other option.
What if You Get a Ticket from a Camera?
Things get a little trickier if you are flashed from a traffic light and think you may have been fined for speeding. When this occurs, note that it could take up to 12 months for you to receive the fine or ticket from the alleged speeding incident. The bureaucracy surrounding this process is notoriously slow.
Regardless, speeding tickets charged because of camera evidence are always charged to the owner of the vehicle’s license plate; in this case, it’ll be your car rental company.
But your car rental company will not simply foot the bill for your speeding ticket. Instead, they will send you a bill after the fact and expect you to pay the fine promptly. On top of that, you’ll often be charged an administration fee to compensate the rental agency for its trouble.
At this point, the rental company is off the hook entirely.
Once you receive the bill from your rental company, you don’t pay the rental company for the ticket. You still need to pay the local county or municipality where you were allegedly speeding.
This can be pretty complicated for a variety of reasons:
- For example, maybe you rented a car in another country and have now returned home. It can be tough to know where you’re supposed to send your check.
- Or maybe you can’t remember the speeding incident and feel like it’s unfair to be charged for something you don’t even remember doing.
- Alternatively, you might not remember renting the car at all!
All of this can make it very hard for you to pay your ticket in the right amount, at the right time, and to the right organization.
Always Contact the Rental Company
Because of all these complications, it’s important to contact the rental car company ASAP. They’ll be able to fill in any details that may be missing from the bill they send you. Additionally, they might also be able to give you the information for the local police or county office if you need to ask more questions. In fact, your rental company should include an address or online portal where you can pay your bill with the note they send.
But once again, the rental company does not pay the bill for you. You don’t pay the rental company for the ticket. Instead, you must pay your speeding ticket to the county or court that has jurisdiction over the camera.
For example, say that you rent a car in Los Angeles but are from Washington DC. If you speed a little over the limit and have your picture taken while you’re driving a rental car in LA, you’ll then need to pay your speeding ticket to LA county or whatever other authority is indicated on the ticket itself.
Can You Accelerate the Process?
No, sadly. This is a majorly annoying point for many drivers, but there’s no way to get the ball rolling and pay your fine ahead of time if you know you were speeding and were caught. You just have to wait for the county to send you the bill for your speeding infraction.
Contesting a Speeding Ticket
Like all speeding tickets, you can contest those charged to you while driving a rental car in court. However, you must contest the ticket with the authority that issued the speeding fine, not the rental car company.
Fortunately, the information for the authority that issued your ticket will be on the ticket itself; this is usually the same place where you send your fine money.
Once you are in court, you can present a case for your defense and show that you weren’t speeding, that the camera was at fault, or that some other factor caused the camera’s automated algorithms to assume you were speeding when you actually worked. But just like when you get a ticket in your own car, there’s no guarantee that your ticket will be overturned, and it can be costly to take the issue to court.
Does the Rental Company Help With Your Case?
No. Once your rental car company gives you the bill for the speeding ticket, all they have to do is wait for you to pay the administration fee they’ll likely charge for sending you the bill in the first place.
Ticket to Ride
Ultimately, getting a speeding ticket in a rental car can be frustrating and time-consuming, especially if you suspect you will eventually be fined for a speeding infraction caught by a traffic camera but don’t know for sure. If this happens to you, just remember that the ticket paying process is essentially the same as the process when you get a speeding ticket in your own vehicle.
This includes if you ever rent a vehicle from Advantage: the most flexible and budget-friendly car renting service from major US airports. Whether you need to rent a car for a quick work trip or need a set of wheels for your family vacation, we can help you find the vehicle perfect for your needs.
Don’t hire a taxi from the airport ever again—see how Advantage can help you here!