Renting a car can be all sorts of confusing. Let me try to clear up what I think is one of the most confusing topics — rental insurance.
One thing that many people don’t realize is that car rental insurance is not added to your rental by default in all countries, though in countries like Italy, certain insurances are required by law so they are included right off the bat.
In the below image, I priced out a rental with Hertz from London Heathrow Airport:
Included in the rental rate is a Location Service Charge and a Vehicle Licensing Fee and Road Tax. Optional items are the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW), Super Cover, Personal Accident Insurance/Personal Effects Coverage, Theft protection, and roadside service.
Compare this to renting in a country like Italy and you’ll see the CDW (otherwise known as Loss Damage Waiver or LDW) and Theft protection are already included:
A Word About CDW/LDW and Super Cover
The CDW/LDW reduces the amount of money you’ll have to pay for damage to the car in case of an accident, but it’s important to note that this insurance does not cover damage or loss related to theft or vandalism — that’s a different type of insurance (more on that).
Now, what about this Super Cover thing?
Super Cover is the CYA (Cover Your A**) plan and is an optional add-on. Super Cover is nice because you won’t have to pay for the damage, so long as you followed the rental agreement and didn’t act recklessly.
Why doesn’t everyone get Super Cover?
It’s pricey and for good reason. The lowest Super Cover option that Hertz offers is EUR 256 per week. So it’s very much a risk appetite situation and something that you should weigh the pros and cons of.
Do You Need to Add On The CDW/LDW at The Rental Agency?
You may not need to. Before you tack on CDW to your rental, the first thing you should do is call your personal auto insurer and ask them if they cover collision and/or theft for rental cars. If they do not, you aren’t totally out of options, so don’t fret.
If your personal auto insurer does not offer rental insurance, you may be covered through your credit card. Luckily, many cards such as the Barclays Arrival Plus and AMEX Platinum card offer CDW/LDW coverage on your car rental, though some countries may be excluded so make sure you give the card company a call to verify.
What About Theft Protection?
Theft Protection reduces your financial liability, just like CDW/LDW, but only in the case of damage or loss of the vehicle due to theft or vandalism.
Renting a car is a lot of responsibility, but there are ways to offload that burden to insurance companies. You’ll have to do an analysis of whether the benefits outweigh the negatives when it comes to rental insurance, but I typically always side with more insurance is better than less.
Lastly, this stuff can certainly be confusing and some of the above may not be specific enough for you so if you have any additional questions, please comment below and I’ll do my best to clear anything up.