Rental Cars and the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) in Europe by Rick Steves

By Rick Steves

If you hire a automotive, you might be chargeable for a really excessive deductible, typically equal to your complete worth of the automotive. Fortuitously, there’s normally a couple of strategy to restrict your monetary danger in case of an accident.

Baseline charges for European leases practically at all times embody legal responsibility protection — for accident-related harm to anybody or something outdoors the automotive. (The corporate could supply extra legal responsibility insurance coverage, however I would not purchase this with out some extenuating cause.)

See more: Rick steves rental car insurance

It is (normally) as much as you, nevertheless, to resolve methods to cowl the chance of harm to or theft of the automotive itself. You will have three essential choices:

  • Purchase a “collision harm waiver” (CDW) via the car-rental firm (best however costliest),
  • Use your bank card’s protection (most cost-effective), or
  • Get collision insurance coverage as half of a bigger travel-insurance coverage.

For those who’re renting in both Eire or Italy, you may have little alternative however to purchase the corporate’s CDW. For those who want a automotive for not less than three weeks, you are most likely higher off leasing, which incorporates zero-deductible collision and theft insurance coverage (and is tax-free besides).

Notice that theft insurance coverage covers simply the lack of the automotive itself, not something stolen from inside it (see my recommendations on defending your automotive from thieves).

Automotive-Rental Firm CDW

The only answer is to purchase a CDW complement from the car-rental firm. This protection technically is not insurance coverage — it is a waiver: The car-rental firm waives its proper to gather a excessive deductible from you within the occasion the automotive is broken. Notice that this “waiver” does not really eradicate the deductible, however simply reduces it. CDW covers a lot of the automotive for those who’re in a collision, however normally excludes the undercarriage, roof, tires, windshield, home windows, inside, and facet mirrors.

CDW typically prices $15-30 a day (determine roughly 30-40 p.c additional). Typically the CDW cost itself is rather less when mixed with theft/loss insurance coverage as a part of an inclusive rental price — and it is typically cheaper to pay for this sort of protection while you e book than while you choose up the automotive.

When buying CDW, the deductibles can nonetheless be substantial, with most hovering at about $1,000-1,500 (or extra, relying on the automotive sort). Most rental firms additionally supply a second tier of protection, referred to as “tremendous CDW” or “zero-deductible protection” to purchase down the deductible to zero or close to zero (for those who did not go for this when reserving from residence, count on to listen to a gross sales pitch from the counter agent). That is expensive — determine a further $10-30 per day — however, for some vacationers, the peace of thoughts is price it. There’s an enormous consolation in realizing you possibly can carry your automotive again in an unrecognizable shamble and say, “Sorry, I am new on this nation.”

See also  Travel alerts and news

When evaluating rental choices on-line, beware that some European rental businesses quote “fundamental” charges that embody CDW/theft protection. (On this case, it is not an non-compulsory additional, so you possibly can’t decline it.) If these CDW-inclusive charges appear too good to be true, they most likely are: The unwaived deductible is sort of definitely excessive (count on $2,000-3,000), so you may must spend additional to purchase the “tremendous CDW” anyway to get the deductible all the way down to an inexpensive stage.

Given these prices, the alternate options to paying for the rental firm’s CDW are price contemplating: credit-card protection or collision protection via your travel-insurance supplier.

Credit score-Card Protection

Automotive-company CDW surcharges can seem to be a racket when you think about that almost all American bank cards already embody collision protection. By paying with the correct bank card, you get zero-deductible collision protection (corresponding to “tremendous” CDW)…seemingly without cost. In different phrases, in case your automotive is broken or stolen, your bank card will cowl no matter prices you are chargeable for. The one main draw back: For those who do find yourself in an accident, coping with credit-card protection might be extra of a trouble than what you’d encounter with the car-company CDW. But when a possible headache looks as if a worthwhile trade-off for sure — and important — price financial savings, look into this feature.

To make this work, first double-check that your bank card does certainly supply this protection (Visa, MasterCard, and American Categorical normally do — however not Uncover). Do not forget that restrictions apply and protection varies between issuers: Get a whole description of the protection supplied by your credit-card firm. Ask by which international locations it’s relevant, which components of the automotive (if any) are excluded, the sorts of autos which might be eligible, whether or not it covers theft/loss, the utmost reimbursement allowed (if it is lower than the value of the automotive, the rental firm could require you to purchase their CDW), and the utmost variety of rental days lined (typically 30 or 31 days; in case your rental interval exceeds that quantity, your card will not cowl any of the rental). Have them clarify the worst-case situation to you. It may be good to ask for a “Letter of Protection” — take a tough copy of it with you to the rental counter in Europe.

See also  Is puerto rico open for tourism

As soon as you have confirmed your bank card’s protection, be sure you decline the CDW supplied by your car-rental firm. For those who settle for any protection supplied by the rental company, you robotically forego your credit-card protection. (In different phrases, for those who purchase CDW that comes with a $1,000 deductible, your bank card is not going to cowl that deductible.) This may increasingly even be the case for those who e book and prepay for a rental that already consists of CDW and/or theft protection — do not signal any rental contract till you are certain that by doing so you are not by chance accepting the rental firm’s protection.

A bank card’s collision protection applies even when the harm occurs whereas the automotive is being pushed by another person, so long as that different driver, and the cardholder, are each listed as drivers on the rental contract. Keep in mind to make use of that very same card not solely to order the automotive, but additionally to pay for it and every other associated charges, whether or not when reserving at residence, or when selecting up or dropping off the automotive in Europe — switching playing cards can invalidate the protection.

For those who get in an accident, the rental firm will cost your bank card for the worth of the harm (as much as the deductible quantity) or, if the automobile is stolen, the worth of the deductible related to theft. It is then as much as you to hunt reimbursement for these expenses out of your credit-card firm while you get residence. You may have to submit the police report and the car-rental firm’s accident report. (When deciding between rental firms, think about that American-based rental firms might be simpler to work with in case you have a declare to resolve.)

See also  Top 10 best luxury hotels in India

Be warned that, so far as some rental firms are involved, by declining their CDW supply, you are technically chargeable for the total deductible (which might equal the price of the automotive). Due to this, the car-rental firm could put a maintain in your bank card for the total worth of the automotive. That is dangerous information in case your credit score restrict is low — significantly for those who plan on utilizing that card for different purchases throughout your journey. (Contemplate bringing two bank cards — one for the rental automotive, the opposite for every part else.) If you do not have sufficient credit score in your card to cowl the automotive’s worth, the rental firm could require you to buy their CDW.

Since most bank card firms do not supply collision insurance coverage to European cardholders, counter brokers — particularly these unaccustomed to American purchasers — could also be skeptical that declining their CDW is a prudent transfer (all of the extra cause to have hard-copy proof of your credit-card protection readily available). Do not be shocked for those who hear a warning about how bank cards present solely “secondary” protection — that is moot so long as you have declined the rental firm’s protection. By clearly understanding the protection out of your credit-card firm, you possibly can keep at bay a tough promote on the rental-company CDW.

Collision Protection By Your Journey-Insurance coverage Supplier

For those who’re already buying a travel-insurance coverage in your journey, including collision protection is an choice. Journey Guard, for instance, sells reasonably priced renter’s collision insurance coverage as an add-on to its different insurance policies. It is legitimate in all places in Europe besides the Republic of Eire, and a few Italian car-rental firms refuse to honor it.

For those who do go together with an insurer’s complete journey protection, be sure you add the insurance coverage firm’s title to your rental settlement while you choose up the automotive.

Similar Articles

Most Popular