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Collision/Loss Damage Waiver: A Guide to Your Options

Written by  Tuesday, 09 December 2014 00:00

CDW Comparison Table

Please find a plain text version of the above image below.

Collision Damage Waiver/Loss Damage Waiver (CDW/LDW) coverage differs significantly depending on where you buy it. Our guide compares purchasing a CDW/LDW from us, to purchasing it at the rental desk, through your personal auto insurance or through your credit card company.



Personal auto insurance

Credit Card

Rental Company

Primary or secondary cover *







Many Credit Cards only provide secondary cover. Some provide primary coverage at extra cost. Check carefully with your card provider to make sure you’re clear on what type of cover they are offering.




From $5.00 per day $17.50 per trip or $93.99 for annual cover.

Not Applicable.

Sometimes included with the credit card, as long as the card holder pays for the rental car and signs the contract. Other times the cover may be part of a package of benefits with “premium” cards which may incur an annual or monthly fee. Finally, some providers may require trips to be registered with them and may charge a fee on a “per trip basis”.

Between $9.99 and $29.99 per day depending on the rental car company and the destination.



No. There is zero deductible to pay.

Yes. The amount will depend on the terms of your personal auto insurance policy.

Yes. If you're using your credit card to provide primary coverage, a deductible will usually be applied, although this may not always be the case. Check the details of cover carefully for reference to “deductible” to understand what you may need to pay towards the cost of any claim.

Yes. The deductible charged by the rental company can be as high as $1000-$1500.


Some rental companies sell zero-deductible coverage, but this will cost you an extra $10-30 per day.

Maximum Coverage


Provides primary rental car coverage up to $100,000.



Varies depending on the terms of your personal auto insurance policy. For example, your coverage may be limited to the value of the car you own, not the one you're renting. This may leave you exposed to costs if the value of a claim from the rental company exceeds the level of cover offered by your motor insurer.

Varies depending on the card. Typically, it's $25,000-$50,000 or the value of the rental car.


Varies depending on the rental company. But it is usually set as the maximum value of the rental car.

Limit on days covered


Trips are covered for a maximum of 31 continuous days. If you buy an annual policy, you can take multiple trips each year provided that each trip is 31 continuous days or less in duration

Not applicable.

Most credit cards provide around 30 days continuous coverage. However, depending on the card, some Visa and MasterCard rental insurance policies only provide 15 days continuous coverage for domestic rentals.

Varies depending on the rental company. However, most rental companies will provide CDW cover for the duration of the rental period. Avis, for example, allow you to mini-lease a vehicle for 60-330 days.




U.S. residents enjoy worldwide coverage**. For non-domestic customers, coverage only applies in the U.S.

You will need to ask your personal auto insurance provider if they exclude any geographical locations. Many will only apply to the mainland United States for example.

Some credit cards exclude certain countries from coverage. For example, Platinum and Gold MasterCard exclude Ireland, Israel and Jamaica.

If you can rent a car in a specific location, your rental car company should be able to supply you with valid damage and loss cover for that location.

Diminished value (drop in resale value after an accident)

Yes, in most states. The only exceptions are: AK, CA, MN, MS, MT, NV, & TX.

You will need to check with your personal auto insurance provider.

Most credit cards do not provide this type of coverage.


Varies by rental car company. The CDW/LDW cover sold by some rental car companies still includes a fee for loss of use, while others don't address the issue.

Are additional drivers covered?


If you add additional drivers to the rental agreement they will benefit from the same protection as that of the policyholder for no extra charge.

You will need to check with your personal auto insurance provider.

Varies by card. Many cards will cover all the drivers authorized by the rental agreement as long as the cardholder is the primary renter. However, you may be charged extra.

Most rental companies will allow you to add drivers, but many will charge you extra for doing so.

Does it cover the roof, undercarriage, tires and windshield?



If they are covered on your own vehicle by your personal auto insurance provider, the answer is probably yes. Although you will need to check with your insurance provider.

Many credit cards to do not provide this type of coverage. There are exceptions, such as some MasterCard and American Express Cards that cover chipped windshields.

The CDW cover sold by many rental companies does not cover all or some of these vulnerable areas. However, it varies by rental car company, so you will need to ask or read the small print.

What do you need to be aware of?

Buying CDW cover from insuremyrentalcar.com bypasses the need to make a claim for damage or loss through your personal auto insurance provider – so it reduces the chances of your premiums going up, however some types of accidents may still be notifiable. Insuremyrentalcar.com is also up to 70% cheaper than the policies sold by rental companies and there is zero deductible to pay. Click here to get a quick quote.

If you are covered by your personal auto insurance provider in a rental car, you will not have to pay extra. But making a claim for damage or loss to your rental car with your personal auto insurance provider could cause your premiums to rise in the future.

The coverage offered by each card differs significantly. Therefore you need to go over the fine print, or better still, ring the issuer of your card and ask them exactly what their policy covers.


Like credit cards, the CDW coverage offered by rental companies differs significantly. As such, you will need to check the small print of your policy. Plus, it is usually expensive to buy and the deductible you may be liable to pay in the event of damage or loss is often still high.


*Secondary coverage will only pick up the fees and charges that are not covered by your primary insurance. In the event of an accident, for example, you will still have to make a claim with your primary insurer, which could result in paying a deductible etc.

**Worldwide coverage excludes certain countries which may be areas of turmoil, subject to travel restrictions or trade embargoes/sanctions. Check policy wording for details.

This article was correct at the time it was written in October 2014. Please check the policy documents on Insuremyrentalcar.com for any changes which may have been made to the rental car insurance policies available through the website after this date.