The importance of the departure and return forms

Josh SchukmanJune 22, 2022

The importance of the departure and return forms

When your rig rolls out for rent, there’s usually a mix of excitement and nervousness. Excitement because your renter is embarking on an adventure in your rig. Nervousness over the unlikely event of trouble on the road. 

As an owner, you’ll dramatically improve your chances of a smooth RV handoff/return by sticking with the rules when it comes to your 90-day inspection and departure/return forms. That’s why we wanted to take a beat here to cover these forms and show you the best practices for getting them signed, sealed, and delivered to protect you and your renter in the event of a claim. 

RV parked near a forest

The 90-Day Inspection Checklist and Why It Matters

Outdoorsy requires that our 90-Day Inspection Checklist be regularly completed for any vehicle listed on Outdoorsy. This requirement is a condition of insurance coverage and helps ensure that listed vehicles meet our certification standards. Per our terms and conditions, a claim may be denied if there are missing or insufficient maintenance records. 

You can complete the inspection yourself or have it professionally done. If you complete the inspection on your own, you must have dated documentation (e.g. photos, receipts, etc.) to demonstrate that you properly completed the inspection. Please note that Outdoorsy’s 90-Day Inspection Checklist is a guide and is not sufficient proof on its own that you actually did the inspection.

Here are some tips for ensuring you have the inspection documentation you need when you need it:

  • Save all records related to the maintenance of your vehicle such as tire service/replacement, oil changes, etc. 
  • Create a Dropbox/Google Drive folder where you store dated photos/videos demonstrating the various points you inspected every 90 days. 
  • Keep the contact information of any business that professionally services or inspects your rig.
  • Put a reminder in your calendar that’ll ping you every 90 days to complete the inspection. 

In the unlikely event of an insurance claim, the 90-day inspection report will protect you and your renter by demonstrating that you proactively did your part to deliver a safe vehicle. 

RV Departure Forms

Outdoorsy’s RV Departure forms are another requirement you must prove you completed with your renter in the event of an insurance claim. These forms also create a good renter experience because it gives you the chance to show your renter the ins and outs of your rig.

The time to complete your departure forms is when your renter arrives to pick up your RV. You should always plan ample time to complete a departure process with your renter before you hand them the keys. As you communicate with your guest ahead of the trip, be sure to prep them and let them know to plan for this time before you send them on their way. We know your renters are eager to get camping, but a solid departure process is an important step for a smooth journey. 

Here’s the departure form for drivable RVs and here’s the departure form for towable RVs. You’ll notice that both of these forms guide you through the process of inspecting your rig for damage with your renter, noting starting mileage and fuel level, and more. The purpose of these forms is to create a baseline for your rig’s condition when you hand it off. Both you and the renter will sign off as a way of indicating agreement on your rig’s condition at departure.

While the Outdoorsy Pro app allows you and your renter to e-sign the departure forms, it is best practice to print the form before your renter arrives so you can easily walk around your RV and check off the different steps. You can then upload this signed document to the same Google Drive/Dropbox folder you store your 90-day maintenance reports so you have it in one place in case you need to file a claim. 

RV driving in Oregon

RV Return Forms

When your renter returns your rig, it’s time to complete the RV return form — another insurance requirement that’ll allow you to document any damages. This also creates a solid line of communication between you and the renter so they’re not surprised by any extra charges.

The time to complete your RV return forms is when your renter returns your rig. Be sure to prepare your renter to expect to spend 15-30 minutes with you when they drop off the rig. This will allow you time to double-check mileage, fuel level, generator use, etc., and inform your renter if they should expect to see any additional charges. While you do have 48 hours to report any damages, it’s easiest if you catch them and document them immediately upon the RV’s return.

Here’s the RV return form for drivable RVs and here’s the RV return form for towable RVs. These forms will guide you through the process of inspecting for damages, tracking generator use, checking fuel and waste tank levels, and more. You created a baseline when you and your renter completed the departure forms and the return forms allow you to demonstrate how your RV was returned to you. 

The Outdoorsy Pro app also features an end-of-trip signature that both you and your renter can e-sign at the end, but this e-signature alone does not suffice in the event that you make a claim for any damages to your RV. That’s why it’s very important that you print out the RV return form, walk through it with your renter, have both of you sign off on it and store it with your other rental documents. 

Pre and Post-Trip Photos   

Before and after photos are another required component of each rental you send out. The Outdoorsy Pro app will ask you to upload interior and exterior photos of your RV at departure and return. These photos will then be stored in the app for that particular trip, allowing you to have them as documentation should you need to make a damage claim. 

Departure and return forms are a very important part of your RV rental business. While it is rare that our owners need to file claims for damages to their RV, it does happen. By developing systems in your business to keep up with your 90-day inspections, store departure/return forms, and take informative pre/post-trip photos, you’ll create a clear and consistent experience for you and your renters. 

Josh and his wife traveled around the country in an '88 Airstream for 4+ years of full-time RVing. They made an unexpected pitstop in Montana in 2020 and haven't left since. That's because they got hooked on the glamping resort they run by Glacier National Park. Fittingly, they keep up their RVing love by renting out vintage Airstreams and other retro RVs to travelers hitting Montana.

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