We understand how car rental insurance can be confusing, especially in the Azores where car rental companies offer different coverage options. Here's an overview to understand how it all works.
Third party liability
Third party liability covers the damages caused to the other party. As an example, if Miguel is driving and hits another car, the insurance that covers Miguel's car rental will cover the damage caused to that other car. Third party liability is included free of charge with every rental in the Azores - this is a legal requirement.
But who covers the damages to the car that caused the accident (Miguel's car in the example above)? That's covered by CDW and SCDW.
CDW stands for Collision Damage Waiver. CDW partially covers any damage to the rented car. It also applies when no other vehicle is involved, such as if the driver hits a tree, scratches to the body, engine breakdown due to misdriving, etc.
CDW comes with an "Excess", which is the maximum liability the driver is responsible for when the car is returned with damages. In practice that means in case of damages, the driver will pay up to that amount. The remaining is covered by the insurance.
As a practical example, let's say a rented car has an Excess of 2.000 Eur. Two options here:
Exmple 1: Damages are lower than the Excess
Let's say the car is returned with 200 Eur worth of damages to the car. That means the driver has to pay 200 Eur for the damages.
Example 2: Damages are higher than the Excess
The car is returned with 5.000 Eur worth of damages. Here the driver is responsible to pay 2.000 Eur (the Excess amount). The remaining is covered by the insurance.
SCDW stands for Super CDW. It's the same as CDW, but with a lower Excess. That means in case of damages the driver is responsible for a lower amount. Essentially this is full coverage insurance. Depending on the car rental supplier and option, the liability can go from 0 to 150 Eur.
Insurance included with a car rental in the Azores
Third Party Liability is included with all options, free of charge. This is a legal requirement.
CDW might be included or available for an extra fee. This varies from supplier to supplier. On our website you will find suppliers that include it free of charge while others offer if for a fee.
If you don't hire CDW it means the driver is fully responsible for damages to the car, up to the value of the car.
SCDW is very rare to be included free of charge. Typically it's offered for an extra fee.
Hire SCDW if you are not used to manual cars
There's not a huge stock of automatic cars in the Azores. They are more common in São Miguel, but even there the stock is limited. If you can't find one and end up hiring a manual car, we strongly recommend to hire SCDW insurance if you are not 100% comfortable with it.
The Azores islands are quite hilly and roads are steep, which is demanding on car clutches. It's not uncommon in the Azores for clutches to burn out when not properly used. Repairing a broken clutch can easily be a few thousand. SCDW gives you that extra piece of mind so you can just drive around and enjoy.