I answer many questions about travel in Ireland, but the most popular topic- by far- concerns driving in Ireland. One of the most common questions I receive is about Ireland rental car insurance, particularly CDW coverage (Collision Damage Waiver).
Ireland Rental Car Insurance and CDW Coverage
While you can opt out of the CDW coverage in some countries, it is a mandatory insurance in Ireland. And while many credit cards offer CDW coverage if you use them to pay for the rental, a slightly deeper search shows that most do not cover rentals in Ireland.
So, what is CDW coverage and why do you have to have it?
Put very simply, CDW coverage limits your liability for material damage to the vehicle.
Opt for the basic CDW included in your rental agreement. Based on the type of car you rent, you will be covered up to a certain limit (usually over €3,000 per car, with increases per car size). If there is damage to the car you will be responsible for any amount exceeding the covered limit.
Opt for CDW w/ Excess (also called CDW Excess, CDI Excess, Super CDW, Super Damage Waiver). This insurance upgrade is available at a per-day date (normally from €18-25). This option reduces your liability to €100 or even zero. If there is damage to your car you will not be responsible beyond the deductible.
The option you choose is up to you. However, if you do not take the Excess (option 2) your rental company will require a credit card deposit equal to your coverage amount (option 1).
This is still a little confusing, so I'll break it down a bit more: You cannot rent a car in Ireland without purchasing insurance in some way. Insurance is paid for when you pick up the car in many cases, so be sure to have room on your credit or debit card for this fee. If you opt for basic CDW (option 1) a “hold” will be placed on your card equal to the coverage amount you choose (Usually $3000 or more).
CDW coverage can easily double your car rental fees so it pays to do your homework.
I prefer to rent with Irish Car Rentals. Their rental rates are very competitive and Super Damage Waiver (CDW Excess) can be added when you book online – no cash out of hand when you pick up the car and you are paying in your local currency, so no conversion fees.
I also compare costs with Auto Europe which will also allow you to add Super CDW when you reserve your vehicle.
Tips for Renting a Car in Ireland:
- Research the cars in the class you are renting- know what you can expect. Rent the smallest car you can comfortably use. – and don't forget about your luggage.
- Don't assume the best deal by the price- look at what is included and not included, in the price. Compare apples to apples.
- Pay in your local currency if possible, to avoid currency exchange fees.
- Rent from an Irish company- their rates are usually better and more inclusive.
- Do a walk around of the car before driving away. (Also take time-stamped photos when you pick up and drop off the car- just in case you get a repair billing you don't agree with.)
Get More Information on Renting a Car in Ireland
Everything You Need to Know About Car Rental in Ireland – 8 steps to renting a car in Ireland