Should I buy rental collision damage waiver if I already have auto insurance?


There is no uniform answer to this question which is subject to a hot debate among property and casualty agents and brokers. Some of them strongly recommend purchasing the collision damage waiver when renting a car, while others argue that paying outrageous additional amounts is not worth the money and the hassle.

Characteristics of the Rental Collision Damage Waiver

The collision damage waiver (CDW), also commonly referred to as a loss damage waiver (LDW), is indispensable part of any car rental agreement. Every person renting a car can choose whether to tick the CDW box or leave it blank.

Buying the collision damage waiver protects you against claims by the auto rental company if the car is stolen or damaged while rented by you. However, the high CDW costs (an extra $20 or sometimes even more on top of the rental fee) puts a lot of people off.

Generally, property/casualty and consumer experts agree that you do not need to purchase the rental collision damage waiver if you already own auto insurance carrying collision and other-than-collision coverage, since your auto insurance covers almost any vehicle you drive, including rental cars. Another situation in which you will be better off not buying the CDW insurance is if the credit card you use to rent the automobile covers physical damage or theft of any auto you drive.

If none of the above applies to you, however, you are strongly advised to check the CDW (or LDW) box in your rental car agreement, especially for short-term rentals. It is better for you to have peace of mind and not worry about the consequences if something bad happens to the automobile.

Collision Damage Waiver Restrictions

Even if you do purchase the collision damage waiver, you might still be found liable for physical damage to the rented car, if you are found to have been driving under the influence, speeding or driving off-road at the time when the accident happened.

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