Most laws recognize privacy as an individual human right. Safeguarding human privacy is critical towards promoting your dignity and safety.
However, we’ve heard cases of hidden cameras in private work spaces, washrooms, or even rental rooms.
It begs the question, what about rental cars? Do they have hidden cameras?
Rental cars do not have hidden cameras or cameras that record the inside cabin space, as that violates multiple federal laws. However, rental cars may have dash cams and other camera-based sensors that are part of the driver assistance and safety package. These cameras include rearview and backup cameras that DO NOT relay any information to the rental car companies.
What about microphones and trackers? Read on to find out.
Do Rental Cars Have Cameras Inside?
Rental car companies do not have hidden cameras in their cars. In the United States and most other nations, recording another person’s video is illegal without that person’s permission.
However, rental companies have access to data stored on the car’s computer, which they can use in litigation if the vehicle is misused.
The data includes mileage, driving, and fuel, amongst other necessary information. Many rental cars also have GPS tracking devices in case of theft or needing to locate the vehicle.
If you have any privacy concerns, please read the entire rental agreement.
Any information that the rental companies may need should be disclosed in the contract. You are legally bound by a contract’s terms and conditions, even if you sign without reading it.
Are Rental Cars Monitored?
Yes, rental car companies have trackers to monitor and secure all their cars. However, customer feedback and local policies may influence the level of monitoring by these rental companies.
Before agreeing to the rental agreement, many rental firms will ensure that they inform their clients about the existence of trackers in their vehicles.
This gives you, the customer, security in the knowledge that no one is violating your privacy without your knowledge. Additionally, rental car companies install trackers in rental vehicles to locate them.
Whereas rental companies often leave you alone once their cars are in your care, they occasionally install trackers to ensure they can find the vehicles in the event of theft.
What Information Are Rental Car Companies Collecting From Their Cars?
Global Positioning System (GPS): Rental car companies usually loan out their cars for short- or long-term periods. Short-term involves a few hours a day and up to a few weeks. On the other hand, long-term renting may last a period of one month or more.
Consequently, it’s essential to have regular information on the following:
- Their vehicle’s location
- Whether it developed any mechanical problems
- When there’s a recall
- Whether it has been involved in an accident
- To help when they suspect that it has been stolen
The vital information will help safeguard their cars and provide the company with a favorable image with its customers. A rental company will also be able to repair the vehicles routinely since they will receive regular updates on the car’s condition.
Additionally, installing GPS is typically a simple and legal operation that doesn’t involve much labor.
Remote Lock / Unlock: Leaving your keys inside and locking yourself out of your rental car is tough. Luckily, most rental car companies can remotely unlock their fleet.
Service History: Most rental car companies track their vehicles’ service history and plan maintenance when due or when mechanical problems arise.
Remote Shutoff/ Disabling Technology: What happens when a rental car company suspects that their vehicle is being stolen? Well, they just shut it off to prevent it from moving any further.
Do Rental Cars Have Dashboard Cameras?
Most rental cars have dashboard cameras for the driver’s safety and video information to help both parties in the event of litigation. However, it’s not a legal requirement that all rental companies install dash cams on their cars.
In that case, it is better to install one for your safety. To avoid legal repercussions, consult the renting agency to ensure that they do not have a clause in the contract that forbids dash cam installations.
Why Do Rental Companies Install Dashboard Cameras on Their Cars?
Here are reasons why some rental car companies install dash cams on their cars:
- Avoid false allegations and clear their renters of any wrongdoing.
- Determine the person at fault in the case of an accident or any other destructive road incident.
- Help the rental companies access reduced insurance premiums.
- Encourage safe driving. Some rental companies use information from dash cams to determine safe drivers. Those that pass with high safety scores may pay less rental fees, depending on the company’s policy.
Are There Microphones in Rental Cars?
Some new rental cars have microphones for voice control to use certain features, noise cancellation, and phone integration systems. However, as some rental companies may use microphones illegally for surveillance, we don’t recommend syncing your devices to the rental car’s infotainment systems.
Furthermore, thoroughly read through your rental contract to ensure that there aren’t any hidden clauses that may trick you into being monitored.
Final Remarks on Rental Cars Having Cameras
Do rental vehicles have cameras or tracking devices? Most, if not all, rental cars do not, due to multiple laws.
It's expensive for rental car companies to install monitoring cameras on all their vehicles.
Additionally, they’ll be risking massive litigation and backlash that will outweigh their reasons for monitoring.
As of today, many big rental companies opt to use credential documents such as driver’s licenses or identity cards to safeguard their cars.