What You Need to Know
Deductible – A deductible is the fixed dollar amount you’re responsible for paying toward the financial loss from a covered car accident. If your damages exceed your deductible, the insurance company will cover the remaining balance up to your coverage limits. You choose your deductible amount and your coverage limits.
Collision: This coverage helps pay for damage to your vehicle if it hits another car or object, is hit by another car, or rolls over.
Comprehensive: This coverage helps pay for damages to your vehicle that are not caused by a collision. Examples include theft, vandalism, glass-only
When Do You Have to Pay A Deductible?
Deductibles are required when there are covered damages to your vehicle, not when there are damages to another person’s car. Here are a few scenarios to help you understand, but be sure to check with your insurance agent to verify what your specific coverages include.
- Your car was hit by another car and the other driver is at fault. Typically, the driver’s insurance company will be responsible for paying for your repairs if you file a claim with their insurance company. If you choose to file a claim with your insurance company, you will owe your deductible, but your insurer will likely seek reimbursement of your deductible from the other driver’s insurance company. However, if a driver hits your vehicle and both you and the other driver are determined to be at fault, then you may be responsible for paying at least a portion of your deductible if you file a claim with your own insurance company.
- You hit another driver’s car. If you strike someone else’s vehicle and in doing so, damage your car, your insurance company typically will pay for the damages to your car, and you will be responsible for paying the deductible.
- Your car was damaged by something other than a collision. With comprehensive coverage if your car is damaged in a storm, fire, flood or if you strike an animal, typically your insurance company will cover the damages and, depending on your policy, you are likely to have to pay your deductible.
- Your windshield was damaged. Generally, comprehensive covers glass damage. In this case, your insurance company would pay for the cost to repair or replace your windshield. Depending on your policy, you may have to pay a deductible. Again, check with your insurance agent to confirm what your coverage will do.
- Your vehicle was damaged in a hit-and-run. If you have collision or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage and someone hits your car and flees the scene, you likely will be responsible for paying your deductible. This type of claim would be worth a phone call to your insurance agent for guidance on your coverage and what you may owe.
- Your vehicle is totaled. If your insurance company determines your car is a total loss (e.g., the cost of the damages exceeds the value of the vehicle), then it will typically pay for the fair market value of your car before the accident, minus your deductible.
How Does A Deductible Impact Your Car Insurance Premium?
Your deductible has an impact on your car insurance premium, so you’ll need to decide this based on your budget and perhaps several other considerations. In general, the higher the deductible you choose, the lower the premium you’ll pay. Conversely, the lower the deductible you choose, the higher the premium you’ll pay.
Here are a couple of other things to consider when choosing your car insurance deductible:
- How much of a deductible could you afford to pay? If you’re in an accident, you may need to pay your full deductible, so it’s important that it’s an amount you can afford. Consider starting an emergency fund to save up some money to pay your deductible.
How much is your car worth?
The value of your vehicle may make a difference in what deductible makes sense for you. For the most part, the more expensive your vehicle, the more it costs to insure. That can translate into greater savings if you choose a high deductible.