Car Rental Insurance & CDW* in Europe

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.

When you rent a car in Europe your default deductible (also called your "liability") is usually equal to the entire value of your rental car. Separately, European countries nearly always require that the owner of a car (i.e. the rental company) purchases coverage for third party damages, i.e. injuries to another person or damage to another person's car (Under European Commission Directive 2009/103/EC).

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

These are the main options:

  1. Purchase "Collision Damage Waiver" (CDW) from the rental company. This decreases your potential responsibility from the full value of the car towards €/$/£1500-3000.
  2. "Super CDW" (SCDW, or Super Loss Damage Waiver which is SCDW with Theft Cover) from the rental company. This decreases the above amount to €/$/£0-500.
  3. " Rental Car Damage Coverage*" instead of CDW. This reduces your liability to €/$/£0 for plans sold on (unless otherwise stated in your quote).

More info on the above options:

1. CDW

These “waivers” sold by the rental car company reduces your deductible from a high amount (similar to the full value of the car) to somewhere between €/$/£1500 & €/$/£3000 depending on the car and the rental company. The reduced deductible may still exceed €/$/£10,000 for some high end sports car rentals, mainly in France.

CDW policies typically exclude windshield & tire repairs/replacements, as well as undercarriage, roof, interior, window and side mirror damages. The renter will be liable for the full cost of those repairs. Many companies also exclude theft as they sell separate theft coverages.

CDW costs €/$/£10 to €/$/£30 per day; LDW (which is CDW with Theft Protection) is in the same price range. We recommend all customers to take out a basic CDW (or LDW to include Theft Protection) for European rental vehicles.

2. Super CDW (also known as "Zero Deductible", "Deductible Waiver", "Extended CDW")

If you take out the basic CDW as advised above your deductible is still in the range of €/$/£1500-3000. This can be lowered with Super CDW. It can be confusing because the rental companies might also call this product "CDW" but the main thing to be aware of is that these policies reduce your deductible from somewhere between €/$/£1500 & €/$/£3000, towards €/$/£0.

These policies are sold aggressively at the rental company rental desks. The cost is similar to CDW (€/$/£10 to €/$/£30 per day) with similar hidden exclusions (windshield & tire repairs/replacements plus undercarriage, roof, interior, window, and side mirror damages). Repairs for those types of damage are charged at the full rate but limited to the reduced liability of €/$/£1500-3000. 

3. ("Rental Car Damage Coverage") is a more affordable alternative to Super CDW† and the above types of damage are all included. In the event of an accident you pay the rental company for damages and then make a claim to Claims are typically processed and reimbursed within 3 days.

Supplier (1) Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) (i.e. max. excess payable)**

(2) Super CDW (cost per day)

(3) Super CDW (max. amount payable if you "reduce excess") N/A ( provides coverage for the below amounts) 5 to 15 per day
Suppliers in France. €850 to €2000 €12.54 to €143.81 per day €0 to €200
Suppliers in Germany. €850 to €2000 €16.81 to €35.30 per day €0 to €200

Suppliers in Ireland.

€1500 to €9000 €14 to €105 per day €0 to €5000

Suppliers in Italy.

€800 to €2700 €11 to €38 per day €0 to €300
Suppliers in Spain. €830 to €3000 €8.76 to €30 per day €0 to €350
Suppliers in the United Kingdom. £1000 to £2000 £8.33 to £31.66 per day £0 to £1800













By instead taking out a plan:

1. Your claim fee would be €0, versus the local rental companies whose reduced deductible is usually higher (especially for cheap policies).
2. The price plan offers you an option to pay up to 50% less compared to the rental company's deductible reduction.
3. Your plan includes many common types of damage, including windshield, tire, underbody, and roof damages, hitting animals, single-vehicle accidents (not at the fault of the insured driver), demurrage, and more.

*For US Residents, Car Rental Insurance & CDW Coverage is included as part of a travel protection plan.  Insurance coverages are subject to the terms, limitations and exclusions in the plan.
**Some of the above amounts are very high due to the wide range of vehicle types on offer by the rental companies, such as luxury sports cars.

† We compared the costs of collision damage protection via to the average cost of collision or loss damage waivers (including taxes and fees) for a one week rental (December 11 - 17, 2016). Cost comparison is in U.S. dollars and is based on online quotes provided by Alamo, Avis and Hertz for an airport pickup and drop-off of a compact car in Boston, Dallas, Las Vegas, Orlando, and Portland for a U.S resident over age 25. No discounts applied.

The information is provided in general and may not apply to the products available in your country of residence.


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Coverage for vehicles with less than 9 seats (including driver). Excludes luxury/exotic cars.*