Interesting article on dealer news about the state of Maryland.
This is an ongoing issue in several states including Florida.
It's true adding $700 to the annual operational cost of a rental vehicle could be a lot for a small business. On a fleet of 10 units it would be $7000 a year, but the reality considering how many times the unit is rented you can pass this on to the ride as say an extra $10 fee. I highly doubt a consumer would protest this fee if they knew it protected them.
In Miami most rental shops sell extra insurance so that if the scooter falls, gets hit while parked, or gets stolen if you happen to leave it parked overnight in a shaddy area then you are off the hook. 90% of the time this extra $40 a day is pure profit for the shop and most stores just set the money aside.
So technically the state is really not hurting the store its encouranging the store to do something they should have done anyways. I think most stores just have little if no understanding of vehicle liabilities especially when renting them. It still surprises me how many stores and dealers operate without the proper coverage for their rental operations.
Sometimes an extra expense can be a profit center and keep you from lossing your business.