Accepting the collision damage waiver (CDW) offered by rental-car agents can add an average of $15 per day to your daily rental rate.
Before signing up, check to see if rental cars are already covered under your personal car-insurance policy. And take a close look at your credit cards.
Some credit-card companies provide rental-car insurance when you use their card. The coverage varies widely. Find out if it is primary or secondary. Primary coverage means the card pays - after you've met your deductible - before other insurers pay. Secondary coverage pays what's left after other insurers settle.
A good primary-coverage card is Diners Club. You get 100 percent coverage whenever you rent a car with their card. Other credit cards may provide primary coverage for their highest card levels, or their business-card holders, but typically, their coverage is secondary.
Note, though, that credit-card rental-car insurance is generally only valid if you use that card to rent the car, and if you decline the CDW. Make a few telephone calls before renting a car. Understand exactly what coverage you already have, get details about how your deductible is affected, and then drive away with peace of mind.
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