The California collision deductible waiver (CDW) is coverage which waives your collision deductible if you are hit by a negligent uninsured motorist.

The CDW option with a personal auto insurance policy in California pays your collision deductible when you carry collision coverage on a vehicle that is damaged by an uninsured or hit-and-run motorist who is at fault. Coverage typically applies only when there is actual physical contact and when you can identify the uninsured driver or vehicle.

California car insurance law requires that for policies (except those insuring commercial automobiles) providing bodily injury liability coverage for uninsured motorists, insurers must offer coverage for damage to the insured motor vehicle, to the extent that you are legally entitled to recover from the owner or operator of the uninsured motor vehicle, caused by an uninsured motor vehicle, that either:

1. Pays the collision deductible on the insured motor vehicle when you have purchased collision coverage. (Waiver of Collision Deductible)

2. Pays for the damage to the insured motor vehicle when you have not purchased collision coverage. (Uninsured Motorists Coverage - Property Damage)

Payment shall not include damage to personal property or loss of use of a motor vehicle and shall not exceed the smaller of any of the following:

  1. The amount of the collision deductible.
  2. The actual cash value of the insured motor vehicle.
  3. $3,500.

You may (1) reject such coverage completely or (2) reject such coverage for a situation when an insured motor vehicle is operated by a natural person or persons designated by name.

California is one of the states that offer uninsured motorist property damage (UMPD) but if you decide not to choose this coverage you can be offered the collision damage waiver. Thus if you do not carry collision coverage on your auto, UMPD will pay up to $3,500 (not to exceed the value of the vehicle) for damages stemming from a person who is at fault in the accident and is uninsured.

If you do carry collision insurance coverage on your auto, you can purchase a collision deductible waiver in California. If you are involved in an accident with an uninsured vehicle with CDW as part of your policy, your insurer will pay your collision coverage deductible for you.

UMPD coverage normally pays for damages sustained by your covered vehicle when involved in an accident with an uninsured motorist. Usually the following conditions must be met before uninsured motorist property damage coverage applies:

  1. the other party must be uninsured;
  2. the driver of the other vehicle must be legally responsible for your damages;
  3. actual, direct physical contact must occur between your vehicle and the uninsured vehicle;
  4. you must be able to provide the insurance company positive identification of the uninsured party (pocket license number, license plate number of the other vehicle.) If this involves a hit and run and you are not able to get the uninsured party's information, coverage will not apply;
  5. you must report the loss to the insurance company within 10 days of the accident.

The insurance company's liability to you will be limited to the following:

  • For vehicles with collision Coverage, the most the insurance company will pay under this coverage (CDW) is your collision deductible.
  • For vehicles without collision Coverage, the most the insurance company will pay under this coverage (UMPD) is $3,500 or the actual Cash value of the vehicle (whichever is less.)

If you are interested in having your collision deductible waived or eliminated due to being in an accident with an uninsured motorist you can compare car insurance rates for this type of coverage here with us.