In an effort to clear up at least some (hopefully all!) of the confusion surrounding Collision Damage Waivers (CDW), Theft Protection (TP), Zero Excess, and Refundable Excess insurances, we’ve created this detailed post to describe all of the potential insurance options you may encounter in a simple, and easy to understand way.
Basic Insurance Coverage for Rental Cars in France
Every car rental offered through Auto Europe already includes these basic insurances in the rental rate. Travelers who book a basic rate car rental do so because they already have a CDW/TP through their credit card. Be aware that not all credit cards offer overseas car rental insurance, so check with your credit card company before booking a basic rate car rental. For those travelers who do not have a credit card that offers CDW/TP, Auto Europe offers variety of insurance options that, in most cases, are significantly cheaper than they would be at the suppliers rental desk where you pick up the vehicle. Before we get into the details of CDW, TP, Zero Excess and Refundable Excess insurance options, lets break down the basic insurances on all car rentals in France.
- Third Party Liability Insurance: This covers the insured driver for damage their vehicle causes to someone else’s property or for injury to another person outside of the rental car.
- Fire Insurance: Provides coverage for the rental car should it so happen to catch fire due to vehicle defect.
- Value Added Tax (VAT): This is similar to sale’s tax in the states.
Note: If you have requested additional services or equipment for your rental car, there may be VAT attached to these fees. Ask an Auto Europe reservation agent to go over the specifics of any local charges you may need to pay upon picking up or dropping off your vehicle, such as: payments made directly to the supplier for additional drivers and child seats. You can also take some time to read our in-depth guide to car rental fees.
Inclusive Coverage in France
Any insurance additions beyond basic rates are labled “inclusive rates,” meaning they include a Collision Damage Waiver as well as Theft Protection.
Collision Damage Waiver (CDW): CDW is a fee charged by the rental car supplier and is incorporated into Auto Europe’s inclusive rental rate. It waives the car rental companies right to make the renter pay for damage done to your vehicle beyond a predetermined deductible amount listed on your Auto Europe rental voucher (usually around €1000 – €3000, though it may vary in certain circumstances). You will be responsible for paying at least, if not all, of the deductible amount in the event your rental is involved in an accident.
Note: CDW generally doesn’t cover damage to a rental’s windows, tires, roof, undercarriage, interior, or side mirrors. Also, any mishaps that occur while the vehicle is on a ferry, from being vandalized, or that result from acts of nature may not be protected either. Speak with an Auto Europe reservation agent to discuss in detail what your particular rental agreement does insure.
Theft Protection: If someone steals your rental car, theft protection covers the loss of the automobile. This does not provide insurance for any personal items taken from the vehicle’s interior. You will be responsible for paying at least, if not all, of the deductible amount if your car is stolen.
What does the term Excess mean?
Excess, is another way of saying deductible. If your inclusive car rental rate has a deductible, it will be noted, as well as the dollar amount, in the Your rental includes section of your Auto Europe voucher. *When you pick your vehicle up, you will be required to present a credit card to the rental supplier, and a deposit will be held on your card until you return the vehicle upon conclusion of the rental period. **Usually, the deposit amount will be equal to the CDW deductible plus a tank of gas.
*This is only a temporary authorization and a hold of funds on your credit card; it is not an actual charge. Once your rental period has concluded and the vehicle has been returned without incident, the hold on your credit card will be removed.
**Your voucher will indicate whether your rental agreement includes a tank of gas in the rate or not. If your terms and conditions state that the vehicle must be returned with a full tank of gas, then the money held on your credit card for fuel will be released once you have returned the vehicle with the appropriate amount of gas in the tank.
Zero Excess and Refundable Excess Explained
Refundable Excess: If you purchase a refundable deductible rate, in the event your rental car is damaged or stolen, Auto Europe will refund you the deductible amount charged by the local supplier. It is important to follow the procedure for reclaiming the excess fee, click here to view what the process entails.
Zero Excess: if you purchase a Zero Deductible rate, the deductible amount of your CDW and TP will be reduced to $0, requiring you to pay nothing in the event of an accident. As an added benefit, since your deductible is $0, upon picking up your vehicle, a large hold won’t be put on your credit card. Again, be aware that even CDW with Zero Deductible insurance generally doesn’t cover damage to a rental’s windows, tires, roof, undercarriage, interior, or side mirrors. Some Auto Europe rates will be listed as “no deductible extended cover,” in which case windows, tires, roof, undercarriage, interior, or side mirrors are covered.
Auto Europe’s Zero Excess and Refundable Excess products aren’t just available in France, we offer these packages in most other countries around the world. Look for our No Deductible and Refundable Deductible rates when booking your rental car online, or you can call us toll-free at 1-888-223-5555 and ask one of our knowledgeable reservation agents if your desired pick up location has the availability of this added protection.