If you’ve hired a car, the chances are you’ll have come across collision damage waiver (CDW). And you’ve probably bought it directly from the car hire company, paying higher premiums for less cover than if you’d bought it before you left home. But what is CDW and do you really need all that extra cover?
What is collision damage waiver insurance?
When you hire a car in Europe, this type of insurance is generally included in the cost. In the US and Canada, you may have to buy a policy separately. CDW essentially covers you if you’re involved in a collision and the vehicle is damaged. By covering your liability, you can save thousands if you need to make a claim. However, the cost of buying a policy from the rental company means you can end up paying up to a quarter as much again as you paid to hire the car in the first place.
Do I need CDW insurance?
Sometimes being a careful driver just isn’t enough. It’s estimated that over 20% of car hire insurance claims are for low-level damage. Protecting yourself against bad drivers makes sense, just don’t pay through the nose for protection.
What other insurance do I need?
Supplementary liability insurance is another top-up policy that covers your exposure if you’re the driver who causes an accident. This third party cover can be bundled into one CDW SLI insurance which gives you total peace of mind cover for any accidental damage or injury. Add in car hire excess insurance and you’ll be fully protected, whatever happens.
Do I need to take out a CDW and SLI insurance policy in Europe?
When you’re driving in Europe and most of the world, a basic level of CDW and SLI insurance will be included in the cost of your car hire. In the USA and Canada, this cover doesn’t always come as standard so it’s wise to check before you hire.
In both cases, the cover on offer may still leave you massively exposed should the worst happen. That’s why topping up with an additional tailor-made CDW SLI insurance policy makes sense.
Where can I buy CDW SLI insurance?
Buying a policy before you travel has numerous benefits. You won’t find yourself being pressured into buying a poor value policy at the rental desk when you’ve been travelling for hours and you just want to get to your destination. And you can take the time to compare policies so you know that you’re getting the right level of cover. For example, some policies won’t cover damage to glass, tyre and the undercarriage of your car.
A specialist provider is definitely the way forward when you want to optimise the price and coverage of your CDW SLI insurance policy.
How can I avoid getting ripped off with my car insurance?
Never buy at the rental desk and always sort out your own policy before you travel. If the rental company refuses to accept your policy, ask them to make a statement in writing or record it on your phone – you’ll find they soon back down. Take a digital copy of your policy with you so that if you need to make a claim, the process is as easy as possible.
Make sure that you make a record of the state of the vehicle before you drive away. Use your phone to photograph and video any scratches or visible damage and make sure that the spare tyre is inflated and ready to be used. Mark everything down on the rental sheet and then get it signed and take a photo for backup. That way you’ll have evidence if you find that the rental company have charged you for pre-existing damage.