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Using Credit Card rental Insurance for the CDW

Hi! We are planning to rent a car for our May 2016 trip to the UK. I am just now finding out that using a CC for the rental car will cover the CDW. Does anyone have experience with this? the savings are significant from what I am seeing, and it looks like the Visa Rewards card I have would cover it. Are there drawbacks that you have experienced going this rout? Also, what are the best priced/best to work with rental car companies in the UK? (we will be picking up the car in Cornwall, dropping off in Edinburgh)
Thank You!

Posted by
21872 posts

I personally would not rely on credit card coverage for CDW. There have been a few horrid stories and elsewhere when the cc will not step up because of technical difficulties - form not filled out correct, name on credit card and rental form didn't match, credit card insurance may be secondary, etc. If you have a claim it may become a three way pointing match and you are stuck in the middle. People will report that they have used their credit card with no problems but you don't know until you have a claim. One huge advantage to the rental car in this case, is that you can just walk away. Keep in mind you could have a significant drop off change in Edinburgh.

Posted by
5697 posts

Check whether your cc insurance is primary or secondary coverage. We used Amex additional coverage in France and felt comfortable that it was primary -- about $20 for the entire rental period (but you have to sign up in advance. )

Posted by
22 posts

Thanks for your thoughts Frank :) You bring up some of my main concerns! I am trying to really do my research and know the ins and outs of how it works. It would certainly be nice to just buy the full coverage and call it good, but the 200 dollar savings has my budget savvy mind interested, ha ha.
We have looked into the fees associated with the drop off in Edinburgh, and it runs about $60, which we think is very worth it since we will be flying out of Edinburgh.

Posted by
2725 posts


Never had to file a claim, but we have an AmEx card and signed up for the Premium Car Rental Protection CDW insurance. Cost is about $25 for the entire rental period. Up to 42 days. Not $25 per day. Whatever card you use, get the information for rental car CDW sent to you. Also, all costs, including road taxes, extra's, whatever, pertaining to the car rental must be paid with the card you are using for insurance.

Posted by
18390 posts

Be sure to read all of the fine print from your CC company very carefully (and, I believe every card company is different). I did a few years ago, and mine said that if I had a claim, I had to pay it first and then they might reimburse me, but to be reimbursed I had to provide any documentation they required.

Now, I mostly go to German speaking countries, and I can sort of communicate in German, and I do far better with written communication, but that still scares me. How well can you communicate in the language of the countries you will be going to? Oh, you are going to a nominally English speaking country, but how well do you know all the technical terms for the documentation that might be required?

And, yes, the stories of people being denied coverage on a technicality are many. It's too much of a risk, in my opinion, to take.

The first thing I would do it to check out the public transportation. Are there trains/buses between your destinations? If you use public transportation, you won't need to worry about CDW or CC insurance. My daughter went to the UK and stayed in the small town of Haworth. Then she went to Edinburgh. She was able to do all of this by train. I know that, thanks to privatization, British rail is nowhere near as good as German rail, but it is still worth looking into.

Posted by
21872 posts

I know you want to save the $200 - but think about. Your driving in England - wrong side of the road. All of your natural reflects in an emergency will be in the wrong direction. The probability of accident in England will be high just because of the lack of experience. If driving in France or elsewhere you are more comfortable on the right side of the road and, therefore, accident risk probably is less. It could be the best $200 you ever spent.

Posted by
2251 posts

I paid full insurance when we rented in Ireland. Another driver clipped us in a hit and run. I turned the car in two days later with significant damage on one side of the car. I answered a few questions, walked away and never heard about it again. I don't take vacations to return home to a mountain of paperwork and hours of phone calls. Worth every penny.

Posted by
6951 posts

I suggest anyone relying on credit card insurance for the CDW read their credit card terms online regarding that subject. And to print a copy to carry with you--in case the rental company tries to break your arm into taking their very expensive CDW coverage.

In Ireland and Italy, rental car CDW is required by law. But be careful as they'll automatically throw in "personal belonging" insurance that'll pay if your luggage is stolen out of the car--a complete ripoff.

Posted by
6036 posts

My take for what is worth...I will always take the default CC CDW when renting in the US, but never outside the US.

Outside the US, even though they are "protecting" you, if there is an issue, you pay, then argue with your CC to get reimbursed.

I do however have the American Express Premium coverage, I have used that in England, would feel comfortable using it in other places based on what I have heard from other travellers.

None of that applies of course to Ireland, Italy, and a few other places, and often I opt to pay for the Rental Car CDW, just out of peace of mind. The value is if there is an issue, you walk away...otherwise you deal with it for months and mon`ths, and often wind up paying in the end anyway.

Posted by
4535 posts

I'm with some of the others, in the US I use my own insurance and/or the credit card, but always opt for the CDW when abroad. Yes it is more expensive and a huge profit center for them, but the peace of mind is worth it to me. I loath the thought of having to deal with paperwork, police reports, and translations if something happened and I tried filing a claim with my CC. And all it takes is a minor-seeming incident and minor-seeming rule to leave you on the hook. To me, it's just part of the cost of renting a car in Europe and if I can't afford the CDW, I can't afford to be renting a car.

Posted by
1631 posts

On this website, Rick Steves has lots of info on rental cars including CDW.

Personally, up until a few years ago, I relied on my CC and never had an incident. However, times and limits to liabilities have changed and I now buy a trip insurance policy that covers my rental car. Some things to consider, or to determine if your CC company covers is: car's loss of use, car undercarriage, car outside mirrors, and tires. BTW, on my last rental, I discovered there was not a spare tire in the trunk. I had heard about this and it was true--only a can of air was in the trunk. You are responsible for the tires.

Posted by
1005 posts

In September I rented a car in England from Europcar. I declined all of their coverage and said my Bank of America Visa would cover the CDW insurance. Later, I hit a rock in the Lake District and had a flat tire. Europcar sent a tow truck to put on the spare, and then asked me to report to a local tire store the next day to have them put on a new tire. I reported the flat tire immediately to the Visa Card Benefit Services department back in the US while I was in England. When I got back home, Europcar sent me an invoice in the mail for the new tire and then deducted the cost directly from my credit card (with a 72GBP "recovery fee" in addition to the tire cost). I kept all the paperwork, filed a claim, and was totally reimbursed in a timely manner. From my experience, credit card coverage works--but you have to decline ALL coverage offered by the car rental agency, and you must have all your receipts.