Car Rental and Auto Insurance Abroad

Car Rental and Auto Insurance Abroad

More and more people are renting cars during vacations, and automotive tours are becoming increasingly popular - and not without reason. A couple of days with a rented car allows you to explore the best places of a country at your own pace.

However, many encounter that rental companies require additional insurance, despite having a policy arranged at home. In some cases, this leads to additional or double expenses. In other situations, people altogether forgo renting. In any case, the vacation doesn't meet expectations.

Why do car rental companies act this way? Why is the amount so high? How to avoid this? Ferie med Formål answers these questions here.

SCDW - Super Collision Damage Waiver

Before delving into the topic of rental and auto insurance, we'll explain what CDW and SCDW insurance are and what they include. SCDW insurance in 9 out of 10 cases acts as additional insurance, becoming an unexpected and unpleasant additional expense. SCDW stands for "Super Collision Damage Waiver" - insurance necessary to reduce or eliminate the deductible.

Almost all rental companies, at least within the EU, include CDW in the rental cost. CDW stands for "Collision Damage Waiver," and in Russian, it corresponds to comprehensive car insurance. However, it's not entirely identical to Russian comprehensive insurance. CDW insurance almost always has a deductible for the client, and despite not covering the undercarriage, wheels, or glass, rental companies call it "full insurance" - and this is where confusion may arise.

Auto Insurance Abroad

As mentioned above, a deductible is almost always associated with car rental and CDW insurance. The deductible is called "excess" in English, and before arranging SCDW insurance, it's worth finding out the size of the deductible for the rented car. If the deductible is low, arranging SCDW insurance will be unreasonable. However, you often encounter a high deductible, which can easily exceed 1500 euros, equivalent to 11,000 Danish kroner. If the deductible is high, we recommend arranging SCDW insurance, but first, consult your insurance company. Read on.

The decision to arrange or not SCDW insurance remains entirely up to you. Follow your intuition. During the trip, you should feel calm, and the money spent on SCDW insurance will be a good investment.

Consult Your Insurance Company

Before arranging SCDW insurance, it's recommended to check with your insurance company whether you're already protected by an existing policy. Some insurances, often only travel, cover car rentals abroad, including SCDW insurance. Furthermore, you should familiarize yourself with the rental agreement to know the size of the deductible. The cost of SCDW insurance often depends on the category of the rented car. The higher the category - the larger the deductible - the more expensive the SCDW insurance.

The price of SCDW insurance for a category C car (Volkswagen Polo / Seat or similar) can easily reach almost 25 euros per day. For a 14-day rental, this will amount to 350 euros - a significant sum quickly adds up. Therefore, we again strongly recommend you to consult your insurance company, whether you're already protected by a policy or need to arrange SCDW insurance considering the size of the deductible.

Save by Renting from Home

Car rental is always more expensive at the destination than if you had rented it from home. This is true for both the rental itself and for insurances. You can rent directly through the rental company's website or through intermediaries, such as CarTrawler. When renting through the company's website, they can see the insurances you have arranged. When renting through an intermediary's site, consider that insurance is likely through them, not the rental company. In this case, the rental company will ask you to arrange SCDW - refuse this. In any case, renting from home will save you money, and the car will be waiting for you upon arrival.

"I'm protected by policy, but the rental company requires paying for SCDW insurance. What to do?"

One of the unpleasant situations many travelers face on vacation is additional insurance expenses. And no matter how thoroughly you prepare, you'll almost certainly encounter a salesman at the car rental company who will say that you need to pay for SCDW. The reasons are quite simple: 1. They don't see that you already have SCDW insurance included in your policy. 2. Who doesn't want to sell insurance?

They also do not hesitate to inform about the amount of the deductible if an unforeseen situation occurs. This often causes uncertainty in the customer and leads to insurance being arranged. If you've already arranged it from home, possibly through an intermediary, you are actually paying for the same insurance twice. Salespeople abroad are in no comparison to salespeople in Denmark - it's just a fact.

Conclusion: if you've already arranged SCDW insurance from home, whether through an intermediary or included in your policy, refuse SCDW insurance at the rental company. Even if they say the deductible is 1500 euros. If necessary, print out the insurance policy or contract with the intermediary where it's stated that insurance is included. It has happened that the company then demanded that the client pay for the car repair independently. Do not panic. Your insurance company will handle this issue, as well as any other situation with damages or accidents.

What Really Happens When Pre-booking a Car?

In most countries, "full insurance" is included in the car rental cost. That is, CDW (comprehensive car insurance) and TP (Theft Protection) are included. Additionally, the following types of insurance can be arranged:

  1. SCDW. As we described above.
  2. Young driver. If you're younger than a certain age, you need to pay for this insurance. This is equivalent to not being an experienced driver. The age threshold varies from company to company. Often it concerns drivers younger than 23 years.
  3. Extra driver. An additional fee is charged if you want to switch places with another driver during the trip.
  4. Additional equipment (GPS, child seats, etc.).

What Really Happens When Renting a Car at the Destination?

Just as with pre-booking, additional types of insurance and services are always available for arrangement - and they are the same options. However, more and more large and local rental companies have begun to include SCDW insurance in the rental cost. This, of course, makes the daily rate higher than at the neighboring company if they do not include SCDW insurance.

*Note: Some rental companies do not include mileage in the rental cost. It's paid separately upon returning the car. We recommend choosing a company that offers unlimited mileage to avoid additional (and unnecessary) expenses.

Furthermore, when returning, the car should have the same fuel level as when received. This is stipulated in the contract. If the tank was half full when received, it should also be at least half full upon return.


Regardless of whether you rent a car at the destination or booked it in advance before departure, you always need to pay a deposit. It's paid with your credit card. The amount is not debited from your card but just blocked. The deposit often equals the size of the deductible, the cost of fuel, and additional insurance/services such as insurances, child seats, etc., that you may have arranged.

Returning to the situation where the rental company doesn't see that you have arranged SCDW insurance. In this case, the deposit amount may be equal to the size of the deductible. But remember, the funds are not debited from your account. The deposit serves only as a guarantee that you will not return the car with an empty tank, damaged, etc. Keep in mind that many rental companies do not operate around the clock, even if they have an office at the airport. Therefore, there may be a situation when you return the car at night, without contacting the company. In such cases, keys are often left in a mailbox or inside the car. The rental company cannot immediately check if the car is returned in the same condition as received according to the contract.