If you've ever had your vehicle pelted by hail, you know what a helpless feeling it is.

You are also well aware that it's not cheap to fix. I recall several years ago watching my car endure $8,000 in damage during a hailstorm in Sioux Falls.

I guess that's why you have insurance.

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But what if that hail falls on a car you're renting at the time? Who is responsible then? Legally, it's still you, and more specifically your insurance, that will be paying for the repairs.

If there actually was a hailstorm.

One woman's story has gone viral after she rented a vehicle from Budget in Sioux Falls last spring.

She claims she was in Sioux Falls with the vehicle for only about an hour before heading to Montana for a week. After that, she returned it, without incident, to Budget in Sioux Falls.

That is until a few weeks later when she received a claim for hail damage from PurCo Fleet Services on behalf of Budget, asking for $2,133 to repair hail damage they claim was the result of a storm that hit Sioux Falls during the time of the rental.

The woman did her research and discovered that there was no evidence of any hailstorms over that period. She forwarded that information to the company thinking that was the end of it.

But it was just the beginning.

Budget and PurCo fired back with claims of additional damages and blurry photos of the vehicle in question. They even added her to their 'Do Not Rent' list, essentially issuing a lifetime ban from ever her doing business with them again.

She finally reached out to the Elliott Report, a consumer advocate service at MSN.com. They took up her case and contacted Budget directly.

Within a week, Budget backed down, closed the claim, and removed her from the 'Do Not Rent' list.

All's well that ends well, but the folks at Elliott Report say this case is a good reminder that spending a few extra minutes taking pictures when you first rent a car, showing the state of the vehicle, and then snapping photos upon its return will prevent companies from coming after you for bogus damage claims.

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