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What should I do at the rental desk in the US?

Here is a checklist of what to expect at the rental desk in the United States and what to say:
  • If your booking does not already include it, you will be offered Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) or Loss Damage Waiver (LDW, which is CDW plus theft protection) at the rental desk. Your booking confirmation will tell you if CDW or LDW is included, and our overview of CDW might be useful. Our Collision Damage Coverage is primary coverage with zero deductible - it is equivalent to the rental company's CDW and is half the price.

    We recommend that non-US residents purchase CDW from the rental company. CDW in the US does not have a deductible excess.

    For further reading, see our overview of CDW/LDW in the US
     
  • You will not be offered a waiver to reduce your deductible ("deductible" is called "excess" outside of the US) because the rental company's CDW is zero deductible.  
  • You will be offered Roadside Assistance Coverage at the rental desk. You should not buy it. You can instead purchase RentalCover.com's "Extra Cover for USA", which includes every type of "out of pocket" cost that you will encounter if you have an accident or breakdown. "Extra Cover for USA" also insures theft and the sizeable fees that rental companies will charge, such as "loss of use" fees (charged for the period the car is off the road for repairs), "relocation" fees (the cost of returning the vehicle to its intended drop off point) and "administration" fees (charged for the paperwork involved in collisions). Read on for more "Extra Cover for USA" info.
  • If it isn't included in your booking, you will be offered Liability Insurance (also called Supplementary Liability Insurance (SLI) and LIS). There is more information in our SLI for the US FAQ. We recommend purchasing SLI if it wasn't included in your booking.
  • If it isn't included in your booking, you will be offered Personal Accident Insurance (PAI), which insures personal injuries that befall you or your passengers as a result of an accident. PAI is insured in most travel insurances and can also be purchased online (though not, at the time of writing, on RentalCover.com). 
Find out more about what to do at the rental desk in Australia/NZ, Canada or the UK/Europe.

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Alternatives to RentalCover.com

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Annual Plans

How Do I "Log" Rentals For My Annual Plan?

Claims

How do claims work for "Extra Cover" (for USA & Canada)?
How do claims work for "Zero Excess Rental Cover", "No Excess Rental Cover" & "Rental Vehicle Cover"?
When can I expect claims to be settled?
How do I make a claim?
Am I insured if I have more than one accident?
How do I report a claim for "Collision Damage Coverage" (for US Residents)?

Country: Asian Countries

What should I do at the rental desk in Asian Countries

Country: Australia/NZ

How does Excess Reduction & Third Party Insurance work in Australia and New Zealand
What should I do at the rental desk in Australia/NZ?

Country: Canada

How does rental excess & CDW work in Canada? What are my options?
What should I do at the rental desk in Canada?

Country: EU/UK

How does rental excess/CDW work in Europe? What are my waiver options?
What should I do at the rental desk in EU/UK?

Country: Latin American Countries

What should I do at the rental desk in Latin American Countries

Country: Namibia/Africa

How does rental excess & CDW work in Africa? What are my options?

Country: United States

What are the insurance options in the USA? How does the US differ from most other countries?
How Does The Free Roadside Assistance Work for USA Policies?
What is Extra Cover for the USA? What do I say at the rental desk?
What should I do at the rental desk in the US?
What should I do at the rental desk if I am traveling abroad with Collision Damage Coverage (for US Residents)?

Country: Worldwide

What should I do at the rental desk: Introduction

Damage Waivers (CDW, LDW, Super CDW, Super LDW)

What is "excess", "CDW", "LDW", "excess reduction", etc? And what is RentalCover.com?
How much do I pay if there's an accident?
How do "LDW" and "Super CDW" and "Super LDW" differ from simple "CDW"?

Managing/Cancelling/Modifying Policies

How do I cancel a policy, change dates or add coverage? What if I changed my rental vehicle?
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When are the policies issued?
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Are there age or residency restrictions?
Are additional drivers insured?
How do I change the name of the policy holder?
Who is insured? What is insured?
I bought a policy but changed my car. Do I need a new policy?
How do cancellations and refunds work?
What is a refundable deposit/bond? When does it get refunded?
How do I add coverage to my policy?
I have several rentals over a period of time. Do I need a policy for each rental? What if I have several countries to visit?
What are my policy's inclusions?

Personal Accident Insurance

What is PAI (Personal Accident Insurance)?

Supplemental Liability Insurance

What is SLI (Supplementary Liability Insurance)?

Theft Protection

What is Theft Protection?

Third Party Cover

Is "Third Party" included?
Why do rental companies charge a large excess when the repair cost is small? What happens if I'm "not at fault"? Will I get my money back? When?

Types of Vehicles & Types of Rental (Peer To Peer etc)

Are 4x4s Insured? What about unsealed roads?
What types of "rentals" are insured? Car shares? Loan cars from mechanics?

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