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 excess (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 hiring a vehicle: How can a renter decrease their potential excess 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 liability from the full value of the car towards €/$/£1500-3000.

    and most renters also purchase either
  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.

    or the clever ones purchase
  3. "" instead of Super CDW. This reduces your liability to €/$/£0 for policies sold on (unless otherwise stated in your quote).


1. CDW (also called "Loss Damage Waiver" if it includes "Theft Protection")

This is usually included in the rate that you see on a website. Note that these “waivers” just reduce your excess 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 excess may still exceed €/$/£10,000 for some high end sports car rentals, mainly in France.

CDW policies typically exclude windscreen & tyre 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.

As mentioned it is usually included in the rental price, but where sold separately CDW costs €/$/£10 to €/$/£30 per day. LDW (which is CDW with Theft Protection) is in the same price range.

If it is not already included, we recommend to all customers that they take out a basic CDW (or LDW to include Theft Protection) for European rental vehicles.


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

If you take out the basic CDW as advised above your excess is still in the range of €/$/£1500-3000. This can be lowered with Super CDW. It can be confusing because the rental companies might also call this product "CDW" but the main thing to be aware of is that these policies reduce your excess from somewhere between €/$/£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 (windscreen & tyre 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 Cover (also called "excess coverage") is a much cheaper 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


















*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.

With Rental Cover you would be much better off:

1. Your claim fee would be €0, versus the local rental companies whose reduced excess is usually higher (especially for cheap policies).
2. The price policy guarantees that you will pay minimum 50% less compared to the rental company's excess reduction.
3. Your policy includes 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, and more.

Get a quote for your next trip

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