Educational Consumer Tips

Automobile Collision Damage Waiver Act

Author: Better Business Bureau
Category: Auto

A "collision damage waiver" is a contract or contractual provision, whether separate from, or a part of, an automobile rental agreement, whereby the rental business or rental agent agrees, for a charge, to waive any and all claims against the consumer for any damages to the rental vehicle during the terms of the rental agreement.

This act applies to all persons in the business of leasing rental motor vehicles from locations in Virginia under an agreement which requires payment for any damages caused to the leased vehicle.

If you rent an automobile in Virginia, anyone who sells or offers to sell you a collision damage waiver as part of the automobile rental agreement shall first provide you with a notice which: (1) informs you of any additional charges for this waiver and (2) informs you that the waiver is not mandatory.

The notice should appear on the front of all rental agreements either by stamp, label or as part of the written contract in bold-faced type.  There should be a space on the notice for you to acknowledge that you have received such a notice.

BBB suggests that before agreeing to buy the collision damage waiver, which is an added cost to your vehicle rental agreement, you check to see if your own vehicle insurance provides coverage for damage to the rental vehicle and the amount of the deductible under your own insurance coverage.

The collision damage waiver does not cover damages to the rental vehicle caused intentionally by the driver or when damage is a result of the driver's misconduct or negligence, driving while intoxicated or under the influence of any drug or alcohol, or damages caused while engaging in any speed contest.