What is a collision deductible waiver?

A collision deductible waiver, also known as a CDW, is an optional insurance feature that some auto insurers offer to waive your collision deductible if you have a qualifying claim. If a driver hits you, your collision coverage will still cover the damage to your vehicle, but you won't have to pay your deductible. In some states, the driver must also be uninsured for a CDW to apply. Keep in mind that collision deductible waivers are not widely available. Progressive, for example, only offers CDWs in California and Massachusetts.

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Should I get a collision deductible waiver?

A collision deductible waiver may make sense if you choose a high deductible for your collision coverage. Auto insurance deductibles typically range from $100 to $2,500. If you have a deductible at or above $1,000, then a CDW could save you a significant amount if an uninsured motorist damages your vehicle. With a CDW, you pay a little more upfront to save yourself from paying a large deductible in the future.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, an estimated 16.6% of California drivers were uninsured as of 2019 — one of the highest uninsured rates in the country.

When can't I use a collision deductible waiver?

A collision deductible waiver may not apply in some cases:

  • You're at fault or partially at fault: The other driver has to be entirely at fault for you to qualify for a collision deductible waiver.
  • You're a hit-and-run victim: Although rules vary by state, you can't typically claim a collision deductible waiver in a hit-and-run accident as you must identify the uninsured driver first.
  • An insured driver hits your car (in some states): Depending on the state, a CDW may only apply if an uninsured driver damages your vehicle.

Collision deductible waivers vs. uninsured motorist property damage coverage

A collision deductible waiver and uninsured motorist property damage coverage (UMPD) are different insurance features. A CDW is an insurance feature that waives your collision deductible when a driver damages your vehicle. It only applies when collision is the primary coverage paying for the repairs to your vehicle. In contrast, UMPD is a separate coverage that directly pays to repair or replace your vehicle when an uninsured driver damages it.

In California, UMPD is only available if you don't have collision coverage. If your insurer offers CDWs, you typically must choose between carrying either a CDW or UMPD coverage.

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