Last Updated on May 4, 2024 by Michael


Did you leave something behind in your rental car? Whether it’s your sunglasses on the visor, a phone charger under the seat or something more valuable, a forgotten item can be a nuisance or a huge problem. As soon as you make the discovery, it’s important to contact the rental car company.

It’s more common than you might think to pick up a rental car that contains an item left behind by the previous driver. How does it happen? Sometimes car rental companies are in such as hurry to flip the vehicle to the next renter that they aren’t as attentive as they should be.

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Some rental car locations have detailed checklists for cleaners to follow and others even provide incentives and drawings for the cleaners who locate items lost by customers. But in fairness, it’s all too easy to miss small items that might slip between the car seat and a console or get left above the sun visor.

It’s obviously better not to leave behind any of your possessions in a rental car, but often travelers are in a hurry when dropping off rental cars. Try to develop a routine to ensure you clear out the car before you leave the rental car lot.

When to Contact Car Rental Lost and Found

The moment you realize you’ve forgotten a possession, contact the rental car company. A car can be back on the line and rented to another customer within an hour at the most efficient, high-volume locations. Your best chance of recovering an item is within that short window before the car is rented again.

If your item is under the seat, it may be some time before the rental car company can check for it. The rental car first has to be returned—and it might be returned to a different location—before the company can search for your lost item.

Major Car Rental Companies’ Lost and Found

If you dropped off the car a very short time ago, your best bet might be contacting the car rental office where you returned the vehicle. If it has been a day or more since you returned the car, try the national customer service number. Each of the major rental car companies has a phone number dedicated to “Lost and Found.”

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