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  1. Default Car rental insurance worries

    Hi all,

    I'm so hoping someone will be able to put me at ease with a worry i have about car insurance and getting it straight in my head. This may be better answered by any UK visitors to the USA who have booked with National before, although dont think im ruling any american knowledge out!!

    my worry is this, ive made a booking with national and ive had it confirmed etc. but ive heard so many different things about insurance, and im sure everyone else on here has. so im going to try and break it down into 2 examples:

    1 - You have a full UK driving license and DO own a car in the UK with an existing insurance policy, but dont want to have to include them in your rental. so you want to have the basic insurance WITH the rental company (by "basic", i mean like here in the uk where you are either covered 3rd party, 3rd party fire and theft, or fully comprehensive)

    is this included in my rental with NATIONAL?, as a rule? and i dont mean the extras damage waiver etc etc, i mean just that im "insured" to drive?. i.e - i dont have to contact my own insurance company.

    1 - you have a full UK driving license but dont OWN a car in the UK so you dont have an existing insurance policy/company you can refer to, to see if they'll cover you.

    in this instance, surely the company provides this "basic" insurance i talk of. because the driver doesnt even HAVE a policy in the UK.

    At the end of the day, i dont mind getting any extra insurance perks i may need, but i dont want to have to include my own personal policy from back home.

    i really hope this makes sense to a few of you. it is a simple question in theory but i may have gone into a little bit too much detail.
    like i say, im asking this specifically to people who have dealt with NATIONAL as i know T's and C's vary company to company.

    thanks in advance.

  2. #2
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Help!

    Insurance certainly is a complicated thing. There are a few different options in general, which I think you touched on.

    1 - Use your existing policy. If you already have insurance coverage, they typically cover rental cars, although that isn't always the case when you are talking about an international trip. This is the option I use when available, because I'm already paying for it and it covers me the exact same way it would if I was driving my own car.

    If you don't have an exisiting policy, then you have a couple other options.

    2 - Buy insurance from the rental agency. This thread does an excellent job of breaking down some of the most common terms and coverages you'll find - and there is some specific talk about National there too.

    3 - Buy insurance from a 3rd Party. A couple of companies in the UK will sell insurance for car rentals in the US. Here's some more info on that option.

    4 - Use your credit card. This is always the one I'm most wary of. You need to find out exactly what they will or will not cover, and generally they will only provide coverage if you decline all other forms of insurance.

  3. #3


    As a follow on – hope I’m not too brief….

    Firstly, your UK car insurance has no value in the USA – It is an option for USA residents with personal car insurance but not visitors.

    All you need from the UK is a current driving licence for the type of vehicle you rent.

    When you hire a car in the USA, car rental insurance is generally not included in the car rental price.

    Therefore, insurance which is essential for car rental is:

    CDW (Collision Damage Waiver) and;

    LDW (Loss Damage Waiver)

    (CDW/LDW covers damage to, and theft of, the rental vehicle.)

    This is offered by the car rental people and can cost between US$20 and US$30 a day.

    Excess is not charged in the USA – to my knowledge anyway. However, generally, the customer is responsible for damage to windows and tyres, damage caused by going off-road, lost keys and the car rental companies do not sell cover for these items.

    Extended Protection (EP) provides third party cover. It does not cover you, the driver. Generally, the driver is covered by their own travel insurance. Therefore, make sure you have good personal travel insurance on top of any car rental insurance.

    If you really want a policy that is more comprehensive, say to cover windows, tyres etc., go HERE. It is a UK firm.

    Personally I’ve used National in the US and been happy with their CDW/LDW cover, and not had a problem to date.

  4. #4

    Default I'm on insurane overload...

    Just trying to get my head around all the threads on insurance and all peoples shared tips/advice. I've checked out the uk based website recommended and at the risk of sounding a complete plonker, i'm wondering if I take out a policy with them, does that mean I dont need to bother with a policy when I arrive at the rental company in San Fransisco?? Or would I have to buy CDW with the rental company, and the excess cover I buy with the UK firm merely safeguards me getting shafted should the basic package of insurance not cover me entirely?? I'm a little confused.

    In a nutshell, does the £109 CDW/SLI & Excess provided by the UK firm cover everything, or is that more of a back-up to your basic coverage you'd get from the rental company (in my case Alamo) and is it advised to take out policies with both parties?

    I've just read that through and i've managed to confuse myself and I wrote the bloody thing so not too sure how anybody else will cope? Hope someone can shed some light for me...

  5. #5


    The policy offered by covers everything and is a replacement for the overpriced offerings provided by the rental company. They provide you with an insurance certificate and you present this to the clerk when you collect your rental car. If there is a problem with your car then the rental company will contact the policy issuer direct and they'll take care of it between them. There is no excess/deductible to pay with this policy and it covers you for all eventualities including fire, theft, accidents, shredded tyres, broken windscreens, running over a lawyers legs, etc.

    Depending on the length of time you are renting (the policy ocvers rentals up to 30 days at a time) this can add up to quite a saving.

    I would suggest that you contact the rental company direct first though to see what cover is offered as standard. If you book in the UK (ie on the site) then you will usually receive basic cover whereas if you book in the US (on the .com site) you will not usually receive anything but a better price.

  6. Default Ldw/cdw

    hi again guys

    thanks for your replies, particularly ERIS, you werent too brief at all.

    so i understand a bit better what i need now, but not necessarily what ive got.

    my rental with National from what i can see from my confirmation includes as follows:

    Loss Damage Waiver Full
    Supplemental Liability Insurance

    but CDW isnt mentioned. although an "additional product i can purchase is:

    personal accident insurance

    Therefore, do i have the "must haves, or do i still need to purchase more to be covered. im not too bothered about having to get more if i do, i just obviously want peace of mind i have the essentials. also, being able to get the essentials from national and not have to go elsewhere would be a lot easier.

    on another point, my health insurance company have said that im fine to be driving a car whilst in the states as long as i make sure i have "personal liability insurance".........jeez, i hate all these terms :) can anyone tell me if this is one of the above or not.

    sorry to go on, ive only got about 63 days left until me and a friend cross from NY to Los angeles so as you can imagine, im getting a little stressed and nervous and i NEED peace of mind

    thankyou all

  7. #7

    Default I've Always Hated Them Lawyers...

    Thanks for making that more clearer Craig. Will contact Alamo see wot they offer, but i'm sure I read on my booking CDW $15 day, so I can see this website bein a gem.

    One final thing. If I have a policy with the UK company, but break down whilst in America, do I waive any rights to ring Alamo for assistence as I have no policy with them an so i'd have to sort it myself or would they help with breakdown issues and the costs would get sorted between the two parties?? Again thanks and apologies for sounding an idiot. I'm very happy I stumbled upon this thread as i'd of never realsied there are so many issues to deal with insurance wise??

  8. #8
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default Breakdowns

    Breakdowns aren't an insurance issue when you are renting a car. Even if you decline all insurance, the car rental company is responsible for maintenance and making sure the car is running properly during your rental.

    Insurance only comes into play when you get into a crash (even a minor one), or if you do something to the car that affects its ability to drive.

  9. #9
    Join Date
    May 2003
    Green County, Wisconsin

    Default From the link above

    Quote Originally Posted by wells182 View Post
    but CDW isnt mentioned. although an "additional product i can purchase is:personal accident insurance
    The link I provided above about "common terms" you'll find, included this post, that specifically talked about PAI, LDW, and SLI.

    I suggest you reread that thread. Its not a perfect source for expert info (you simply can't get that without talking to an insurance agent, or possibly a lawyer, this stuff is just too complicated), but it is about the best basic breakdown I've seen on this forum.

  10. #10



    Car rental cover can be confusing because there are different rules in different counties.

    Just to clarify - Collision Damage Waver (CDW) is also known as Loss Damage Waiver (LDW), particularly in the States where it is often combined with Theft Protection.

    You say you have already booked your car rental with National and if it was through then this is what you get with CDW cover – see HERE.

    Also read HERE for further explanation on your “Protection Options” with National.

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