Everything you need to know about the Collision Damage Waiver, what it covers, what it doesn’t and a complete FAQ on the topic.
New to car rental? You may find yourself facing the words Collision Damage Waiver or simply CDW and wondering what it actually means.
What Is Collision Damage Waiver in car rental?
Collision Damage Waiver is a type of protection offered by car rental companies. Different rental companies may refer to it in a slightly different way, but generally speaking they all cover the rental car against damage done to it in the event of an accident.
Check below if you want to know what exactly it covers!
You may see Collision Damage Waiver as:
- Collision Damage Waiver (CDW)
- Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) — this is CDW + Theft Protection
- Collision Damage Insurance (CDI)
When you see those names, they certainly cover damage done to the rental car — just be sure to check if there aren’t any limitations to this as it may vary depending on the rental company.
How does the Collision Damage Waiver work?
What usually happens is the following: in the event of an accident — let’s say you bumped into another car —, it’s usually the renter’s responsibility to cover the expenses of the repair work.
With a Collision Damage Waiver, that won’t be the case. The limits (monetary amount covered) vary depending on the rental company, the kind of damage waiver, the car category and more, but, generally speaking, the cost of the repair work will be covered by the CDW.
The limits and specifics of the CDW of the rental company and car category of your choice are described in the rental agreement, so it’s a good idea to pay attention to this important document!
What does the Collision Damage Waiver cover?
The Collision Damage Waiver covers damage done to the exterior of the rental car (the car’s bodywork) in the event of an accident, but not the entire car. This is important as items such as tyres and windows are not covered by it.
What doesn’t the Collision Damage Waiver cover?
Despite covering for damages done to the car, the Collision Damage Waiver does not cover the entire car. Here’s a list of things it doesn’t cover, amongst other things:
- The car’s engine
- Dead battery
- Lost car keys
- Damage to any extras, such as GPS or booster/child seats
- Anything inside the car
- The interior of the car
Also, it’s always good to mention that the Collision Damage Waiver does not cover damage done to any third party property, such as the other car involved in the accident. If you want to know more about it, read our post on Third Party insurance in car rental.
Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) FAQ
Collision Damage Waiver, sometimes referred to by the acronym CDW, is an additional car rental coverage offered by rental companies. In short, it covers damage done to the rental car.
Generally speaking, the CDW covers damage done to the exterior of the rental car (the car’s bodywork) in the event of an accident, but not the entire car. Items such as tyres and windors, for example, are not covered even if they are damaged during an accident.
While CDW does cover the damage caused by an accident, it doesn’t cover all damage. If you have a problem with the car’s engine, the tyres, the windows or even a dead battery, the Collision Damage Waiver won’t cover the costs of repairing those. In addition to that, CDW also doesn’t cover lost keys, damage done to extras such as child seats, or anything else inside the rental car.
The Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) and the Loss Damage Waiver (LDW) both cover the rental car against damage done in an accident. However, the Loss Damage Waiver is a combination of CDW and Theft Protection (sometimes referred to as simply TP), which means the car is also insured in case it gets stolen.
No, the Collision Damage Waiver is an optional and additional coverage offered by the rental company, and not in any way required in order to rent a car.
As with any other type of additional coverage or insurance, we recommend it for the piece of mind. What you should check, though, is if you don’t already get this coverage by other means. Credit card holders, for example, are sometimes already covered by a CDW which extends to a rental car. In this case, getting a CDW at the rental company counter isn’t necessary as you’re already covered — just check to see if the limits of the coverage are similar or adequate to your needs.
The price varies depending on the rental company, the car category and more. Overall, you will be charged an extra daily fee for the CDW and can expect to pay as low as $10 per day for economy car models.