Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)

By Rick Steves

When you rent a vehicle, you are accountable for a very large allowable, often corresponding to the entire worth of the automobile. Fortunately, there’s usually more than one method to limit your financial danger in case of any sort of accident.

Baseline prices for European rentals nearly always feature fundamental, mandated responsibility coverage — for accident-related harm to anybody or such a thing outside of the vehicle. (the business can offer additional responsibility insurance, but I would personallyn’t buy this without some extenuating explanation.)

It’s (usually) for you to decide, however, to determine simple tips to cover the possibility of injury to or theft associated with the automobile itself. You have got three primary options, all described below: purchasing a “collision harm waiver” (CDW) through car-rental company (simplest but the majority high priced), making use of your credit card’s coverage (most affordable), or getting collision insurance as part of a bigger travel-insurance policy.

If you are leasing either in Ireland or Italy you’ll have little choice but to buy the organization’s CDW. If you need a vehicle for at least three months, you’re most likely best off renting, including zero-deductible collision and theft insurance (and it is tax-free as well).

Car-Rental Company CDW

The most basic option would be purchasing a CDW product through the car-rental company (it’s the primary extra contained in the “inclusive” prices you’ll see in quoted rates). This coverage technically is not insurance; instead, it’s a waiver: The car-rental business waives its straight to collect a high allowable from you if your automobile is damaged. Remember that this “waiver” does not in fact eliminate the allowable, but just lowers it. CDW addresses all of the automobile if you’re in a collision, but typically excludes the undercarriage, roofing, tires, windshield, windows, interior, and side mirrors.

CDW typically costs $10–30 a day (figure roughly 30 percent additional). Often the CDW charge itself is just a little less whenever coupled with theft/loss insurance coverage within an “inclusive” rental rate — it’s frequently less expensive to fund this sort of protection once you guide than once you grab the car.

When buying CDW, the decreased deductibles can still be considerable, with many hovering at about $1, 000–1, 500 (or more, depending on the car kind). Many leasing companies also provide an additional level of coverage, called “super CDW” or “zero-deductible coverage” buying down the allowable to zero or near zero (if you performedn’t opt for this when reservation at home, expect you'll hear a sales pitch from the counter representative). It is costly — figure about one more $10–30 each day — but, for a few people, it is really worth the peace of mind.

When comparing leasing choices on the web, beware that some European leasing companies quote “basic” rates that include CDW/theft protection. (in this instance, it's not an optional extra, and that means you can’t decline it.) If these CDW-inclusive prices appear too-good to be real, they probably tend to be: The unwaived allowable is practically certainly specially large (expect $2, 000–3, 000) you’ll need certainly to invest extra buying the “super CDW” anyhow to get the allowable down to a fair degree.

Provided these expenses, the alternatives to spending money on the leasing company’s CDW can be worth thinking about carefully: credit-card coverage or collision protection during your travel-insurance supplier.

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