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Doesn’t it seem confusing sometimes just to get a rental car? There seems to be so much paperwork and so many decisions to make.

For example, should you get the collision damage waiver or not? Should you buy additional insurance coverage from the car rental company?

If you’ve ever watched people at the rental car counter, you know these are questions that most people struggle with. Sometimes you can decline additional insurance on car rentals, but there are specific instances that you should always buy the insurance. But how do you know?

One of the biggest areas of confusion is the Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) offered by the car rental company at the time of rental. It covers damage to the rental car if you are involved in an accident.

The CDW isn’t exactly insurance, and it only covers only damage to the rental car. It doesn’t cover property damage or personal injury. If CDW is purchased, the car rental company waives some or all of its right to gain from you for physical damages to the car.

So should you purchase the CDW the car rental agency pushes at you? Experts say that most people don’t need it but purchase it anyway. This is a very costly mistake!

You can save yourself a lot of hassle and unnecessary cost by doing three things. First, check your own car insurance policy to see what coverage carries over to rental cars. Second, see if the credit card you are using offers any coverage for renting. And finally, check the options the car rental agency offers in its own policies.

Many car insurance policies include all-inclusive and collision coverage to damages to rental cars. There is no sense paying for more if your policy includes this coverage, right? Just verify the details with your insurance agent before you decline the car rental company’s additional insurance options.