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France, CDW AUTO INSURANCE

I am having a hard time deciding between visa cdw, or autoeurope super cdw insurance. Has anyone had a major accident with the visa cdw and what are the charges, protocol etc. when the auto is returned? Do you pay the rental co., and get reimbursed by the visa cdw?

Posted by
9363 posts

Credit card insurance will use any excuse available to them to deny a claim, I know from personal experience. I'd be happy to give you the details if you want to PM me (I've told the story many times here before). If you take the super CDW at the rental counter and something happens, you can just walk away. If you trust the credit card insurance, you may or may not get stuck with the bill. My accident was not major, but what happened with my claim was that the rental place took the information, gave me forms to fill out for the credit card insurance, and billed my card for the damages. The credit card insurance should then have paid me back, but they denied the claim. End of story: the almost $500 damages stayed on my credit card and I had to pay them.

Posted by
5 posts

does the car rental co. charge the repair damages to the card? what if the card limit is less than the damages?

Posted by
711 posts

We drive a lot in France. We get the super CDW. There is no deductible. It may be more, but no charge if anything happens. In my opinion it is worth it.

Posted by
18373 posts

"Do you pay the rental co., and get reimbursed by the visa"

That's pretty much it, and before you go any further, get your CC's policy. They can demand any documentation they want, and if you cannot produce it from a country to which you have to call international long distance, and where you might not understand the language, they can deny the claim.

Consider this, VISA does not make money by paying claims.

Posted by
9363 posts

"ian" quotes a website which says "Proponents of buying CDW/theft are fond of saying that in the event of damage you “just walk away” at the end of the rental. Not so. You don’t walk away until you’ve paid the deductible." The OP was asking about SUPER CDW, which has no deductible. The CDW mentioned on the website and SUPER CDW are two very different things.

And yes, the credit card insurance will send you a letter verifying that you are covered - they sent me one, too, which turned out to be worthless unless I wanted to try to sue them to get my money back.

And Bruce, if you have super CDW from the rental company, nothing is charged to your card at all. If you choose to trust the credit card insurance, yes, the card is charged for the repairs and then the insurance (which is a separate company from Mastercard or Visa themselves) either pays you or doesn't. As Lee says, they can require whatever kind of documentation they want (which you can't produce once you are home) in order to approve your claim.

Posted by
4555 posts

Ian...from the gemut report....
"Proponents of buying CDW/theft are fond of saying that in the event of damage you “just walk away” at the end of the rental. Not so. You don’t walk away until you’ve paid the deductible."
I have never had an auto rental company make that claim...they have always been up-front with any deductible, especially since they'll usually put a hold on your credit card for that amount. That's what super CDW is for, to bring the deductible down to zero. On two occasions that's exactly what I've done....shown the agent the damage on return, and walked away.
"failure to file a police report is often grounds for invalidating purchased insurance." As it is with credit card coverage.

Posted by
4555 posts

Ian...let's analyse a little more closely what Rick says in your post about what you term a "racket.
he says auto company super CDW "buys you peace of mind."
And he notes "relying on credit-card coverage can be a hassle, but now that rental companies' CDW costs are stacking up, it could be worth it."

Posted by
4555 posts

Ian....I agree both should be considered, as long as one type isn't unfairly criticised as a "racket."
I'm sure Ed's advice is well-received by those on this board who've had problems with cc coverage...not, as you have mentioned, because their vehicle wasn't covered, but because their cc denied the claim.
I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who's had problems with super CDW coverage in Europe offered by a car rental outfit.

Posted by
9363 posts

When the credit card company verifies coverage repeatedly (no mistake, in writing verification) and then denies a claim, THAT is a racket. In order to validate the insurance you must turn down the rental counter insurance, which leaves you completely vulnerable if something happens and they choose not to pay. They know you aren't going to sue them, so why shouldn't they deny the claim? I prefer the peace of mind of super CDW, thanks, instead of risking being lied to again.

Posted by
9363 posts

Of course it doesn't happen to everyone. But it does happen. And like Norm, I'd be interested in hearing from anyone who has had a similar thing happen with super CDW from the rental company.

Posted by
1357 posts

There's another option for covering the deductible, which is buying excess coverage from a 3rd party company, like dailyexcess.com. I did that last year, the deductible did go on my card, and I got reimbursed by the 3rd party insurance company. I'd only suggest doing this if you have a card that doesn't charge foreign transaction fees, like Capital One or Charles Schwab. The fees that were charged on my card from the deductible almost ate up all of the savings from going with a 3rd party company.

Posted by
4555 posts

I wonder if Rick or Arthur Frommer have actually had direct experience with a rental car mishap in Europe? As I noted earlier, despite Rick's terminology, he does say super CDW will give you peace of mind, and that cc coverage "could" be an option. If it costs me a couple of extra dollars per day for that "peace of mind" to walk away at the end of a rental, I'm willing to pay that price.

Posted by
11432 posts

Without getting in the middle of the argument between Norm, Nancy and Steve, uh, I mean Ian, may I suggest you call VISA and ask about CDW coverage in France and how the policy works, what the procedure is, what you need to get the claim paid, etc.

Then, find out the same details and procedures of Autoeurope's Super CDW policy.

When you have all the information, you can then make a wise decision.

One thought...if you take the Super CDW and have a problem, as long as you charge it onto your Visa, you could later make a claim with them.

And one other thing. Check with your own auto insurance. Some policies give coverage to rental cars.

Personally, in the U.S., I never take CDW. Overseas, I would. For the same reason Norm said--peace of mind. And less hassles.

Posted by
9363 posts

I don't take CDW domestically, either, only when renting abroad.

Posted by
1064 posts

You can get a credit card version of Super CDW with an American Express Gold card. It is a good way to avoid the rental companies' ripoffs and get more security than a credit card alone provides. For an extra $24 to $30 per rental -- not per day, like with rental agencies -- you get full coverage. Basically, the credit card provides both the secondary and primary coverage. You would be covered in most of Europe, including France, but not in Italy or Ireland. The website for AE premium is https://www152.americanexpress.com/premium/car-rental-insurance-coverage/home.do?source=OPEN

Posted by
9363 posts

What is the annual fee associated with that card? That would need to be factored in there in order to compare equally, particularly if someone were to apply for the card just to be able to access the insurance.

Posted by
1064 posts

If you don't already have an AE card and don't have other uses for one, then don't get one just to buy rental insurance. For me, there is no added expense. I got my card years ago through Delta for frequent flier miles because I usually fly out of Atlanta, and I was using it for car rentals before I ever heard about their Premium rental insurance.

Posted by
174 posts

Hi

I`m slow to this conversation, but what about travel guard insurance referenced in Rick Steves Best of Europe. How does that stack up?

I am driving for a week next year In Normandy, Belgium and Netherlands and wonder what the best insurance option might be.

Thanks to all for their input

Mike
DC

Posted by
850 posts

As long as you do not rent the car in Italy the AMEX cdw would cover you there if you rented, say, in Germany and drove into Italy. Just no coverage if you pick up the rental in Italy (or Ireland). There are two premium plans. The one for $24.95 ($17.95 for California residents) and one for $19.95. $24.95 vs the $19.95 premium increases the coverage amount on the vehicle, AD&D & excess coverage for medical expenses resulting from accidental injuries. Also a little more coverage for personal property loss. The basic AMEX cdw coverage will cover vehicles up to $50,000 as opposed to $100,000 on the $24.95 plan. Also, there are more limitations on kind of vehicle you can rent between the basic and premium plans. All in all the premium coverage is good for the one time price as long as you follow the requirements set forth in the contract. Any little deviation would give them the right to decline a claim. Any cost associated with the rental should be paid for with the CC. On Gemut's site they told the story of someone who paid a small balance due at the end of the trip with cash which rendered the contract void in the eyes of the credit card company. Also, the primary card holder is the one who needs to sign the contract to make sure coverage is valid. For example my wife is the primary card holder on our AMEX platinum card and if we pay for the car with her card the rental contract has to be in her name even though I am a secondary card holder on the same account. The advantage of renting through Gemut or Autoeurope and paying for the rental before you go is you avoid the foreign exchange charge. I have always used the free AMEX basic cdw but in the future I will go with the premium coverage.