Ireland Car Rental Information Your Travel Agent May Not Know

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Planning Your Irish Vacation

Even a savvy traveler to Ireland can make a mistake.  I did so on my last trip- even though I questioned my travel agent (quite thoroughly, I might add).  The problem?  Car rental insurance.

Driving through Ireland
Driving is truly the best way to see all the beauty Ireland has to offer. Some roads may only be a single car width with stone walls and hedgerows just inches from your door.

The Collision Damage Waiver

I wrote an entire post about the collision damage waiver (CDW) in Ireland – what it is, why you need it and the two types offered.  I know about the basic CDW (limited liability with a high deductible) and the CDW with Excess (100% coverage, zero deductible with a daily cost).


When my travel agent offered to check car rental rates for me, I stressed the importance of the CDW with excess.  I thought I was quite clear.  She found a very nice rate, confirmed the inclusion of CDW- I again asked if it were with excess, she confirmed-  and I had her book the car.


I thought I had everything covered.  And then we landed in Dublin…

Parting with Your Cash Before Your Irish Vacation Begins

The CDW that was included with my rental was a basic CDW- limited liability with a $2000 deductible.  The way this works is the car rental agency will “hold” the deductible amount on your credit card.  Definitely not an option if you are traveling on a tight budget!


The other option- and the one I recommend- is to purchase the CDW with Excess.  This was an additional €16 per day (nearly $210 for our trip).  While definitely worth the money (we drove some very narrow roads and stone fenced entries), it was an unwelcome out of pocket expense- especially when I was assured by my travel agent that the CDW with Excess was included in my initial purchase.


It wasn't until I contacted my travel agent later that day (it was near midnight at home when we arrived in Dublin) that she actually inquired with the rental agency she used about the CDW.  Despite my thorough questioning, she didn't realize there was a difference in a basic CDW and a CDW with Excess.  Her response to me, “Well, now you have the coverage you wanted.  Have a good vacation.” is still sitting rather poorly with me.  So poorly, in fact, that we may not use her services again.

Tips for Renting a Car in Ireland

    • Definitely compare prices.  But also compare the rates for the additional CDW with Excess.  Rates can vary by as much at €10 per day.
    • If your travel agent says the CDW is included- question with boldness.  Have them ask the rental company about the daily rate for CDW with Excess, specifically.
    • Have the amount for CDW with Excess, the location service charge (about €30) and the refueling fee (plan for  €75; it's easier than filling the car before returning it- and you can bring it back empty) figured into your budget.
    • Know that the M50- a main Dublin road- is an automatic toll road.  A toll of €3.75 will be charged to you when you use that road.


I want to stress- you really, really should get the CDW with Excess.  Narrow roads, surprising turns, jutting hedgerows and other cars are sure to add at least one scratch to your rental vehicle.  It's just a more economical option than the basic CDW, in the long run.  Just be prepared for it- no matter what your travel agent tells you.


  1. […] with a collision waiver and third-party insurance for added on-road security.  Note: be sure you understand car insurance options in Ireland.  The collision waiver is not full […]

    I’m going to share these tips with my friend because she plans on visiting Ireland soon.

    @iatraveler hi do you need information on CDW cover in Ireland ?

      @PadraigCourtney No, I wrote an article to help people understand it.

    Hi Jody
    These are great tips. I’ve been lucky enough the last few times I’ve gone back home to Cork, that my brother has lent me his car. He just adds me to his own insurance, which ends up to be surprisingly cheap. I did get ‘stung’ for this CDW with Excess a couple of times though, but I guess it’s better to be safe than sorry. Especially as you rightly point out, Irish roads can be a little on the narrow side 🙂
    I did a post recently on my blog on money saving tips for travellers to Ireland. One of them including renting a “stick-shift” car when possible. Automatic’s, as you may already know, can add 25-50% to the rental cost in Ireland.
    All the best,

       @GotIreland Yes, opting for a manual car vs an automatic is a great money saving tip!  I know I’ve mentioned it elsewhere on the blog- but it never hurts to be reminded! 

    @iatraveler In Ireland we usually go with a local rental car co instead of a chain. What’s your favorite Irish rental car co?

      @SuzanneWJGB I prefer Dan Dooley. No hassles, straight forward. Who do you use?

        @iatraveler We love Dan Dooley! No muss, no fuss.

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