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CDW/Zero Deductible Insurance in US

For campervan and motorhome rentals, try our motorhome and campervan excess cover overview or for 4x4s and 4x4 campers, try our 4x4 excess cover page.

When you rent a car in the US and Canada your default excess (also called your "liability") is usually equal to the entire value of your rental car. Some states in the US and Canada do not require that the vehicle owner has mandatory third party liability, meaning the driver of the car is potentially liable for injuries to other people and their property.

The following explanation seeks to answer the question frequently raised when hiring a vehicle: How can a renter decrease their potential excess for the car they have rented?

These are the main options:

  1. Purchase "Supplementary Liability Insurance (SLI)" from the rental company. This will be offered generally in states where third party liability is not required to be held by the vehicle owner. The SLI cover is usually between $1,000,000 and $2,000,000. However we always recommend that you ask the rental company as there are differences from state to state.
  2. Purchase "Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)" or "Loss Damage Waiver (LDW)" from the rental company. Most car rentals in North America has this option included by default. This waives most of the excess for damage to the car. While CDW/LDW (it also has many other names which all serve the same purpose) decreases your excess from the full value of the car towards $0, there is often $500-$2,000 excess remaining. As always, discuss with your rental company.
  3. Take out "rental cover" from RentalCover.com as an alternative to the rental companies' Excess Reduction, to cover the leftover from CDW. This reduces your liability to $0 for policies sold on RentalCover.com (unless otherwise stated in your quote). RentalCover.com policies also include cover for many types of damage such as windscreen, tyre, headlight, underbody and roof damage.