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Car Rental Insurance: CDW, LDW, Excess Waivers Explained

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

For your country of destination, read below for a basic explanation or skip ahead to your country: ArgentinaAustralia, Austria, Belgium, Bosnia, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Croatia, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, GreeceHolland, Hungary, Ireland, Israel, Italy, Mexico, NZ, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Russia, South Africa, Spain, Sweden, Switzerland, Turkey, UAE, UK, US.

At the rental desk you will be offered insurance (also called Excess Reduction or Excess Waiver or Super Collision Damage Waiver (SCDW) or Super Loss Damage Waiver (SLDW) etc). You DO NOT need to take that! Instead you can purchase a policy which will provide coverage for the "excess" which applies to any rental vehicle globally. The vehicle's standard liability is the maximum amount you would have to pay in the event of an accident. In the Example Tables below, a Hertz car with $2200 standard liability means that any damages up to $2200 in repair costs will be paid by you. This payment for repair costs is called "excess" and the rental companies offer to reduce that for $20-$40 per day depending on your country of travel.

Using, you would pay the rental company in the event of damages and then claim that amount to the issuer of your policy.

The tables below show the three key amounts relating to car hire excess in each country, namely:

  1. Standard liability (also known as "standard excess"): This is the maximum that you would pay for damages if you do not take the supplier's "excess reduction" (see #2 below)
  2. Excess reduction (also known as "excess waiver" and "damage waiver"): This is the amount payable per day to reduce your excess towards the "reduced excess/claim fee" (see #3 below)
  3. Reduced excess: This is the maximum amount payable if you take out excess reduction, akin to a maximum "claim fee".

Example Table

This table shows the standard excess applicable from some fictional companies in a fictious country called Molvania. The standard excess can be reduced by paying a daily amount to the rental company for "excess reduction". This reduces the "standard excess" figure shown to the "reduced excess" amount shown:


Supplier Name (1) Standard Liability/Standard Excess
(i.e. max. excess payable)

(2) Excess Reduction (cost per day)
Excludes Airport Surcharge of 10%-25%*

(3) Reduced Excess 
(max. amount payable if you "reduce excess") N/A ( provides coverage for the below amounts) $5 to $15 per day $0 
Herts-o-Good $4000 $25 or $35 per day $500 or $200
Avus Save Us $3000 $30 per day $300
Budge-It Fudge-It $3000 $24 or $34 day $500 or $200
Alo'Mo'Bro $3250 $30 to $45 per day $400


If you are picking up your vehicle at an airport, most suppliers add a surcharge to the daily Excess Reduction price. This can be up to 25% extra in major cities in US, Europe, Australia and the UK. So for example, at Pianostan Airport (the capital city of our fictional country), Alo'Mo'Bro would charge $30 per day plus the 20% airport surcharge. This would reduce your excess from the standard $3250 to the reduced excess amount of $400. Most suppliers have more than one policy, so Hertz-o-Good may charge $25 or $35 to reduce your excess from $4000 to either $500 or $200 respectively.

With you would be much better off:

1. Your claim fee would be $0, versus the Molvanian rental companies whose reduced excess is still between $200 and $500
2. The price policy guarantees that you will pay minimum 50% less compared to the rental company's excess reduction.
3. The rental companies exclude many common types of damage, including windscreen, tyre, underbody, roof and overhead damages and damages caused by driving at night, hitting animals, in single vehicle accidents, demurrage (the rental company's lost income while the vehicle is being fixed), and more.


For more information on your country of destination, choose a page from the below: 

Czech Republic
New Zealand
South Africa