What Is the Deductible for Your Insurance?
The deductible on your insurance policy is the amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket for covered claims. Determine your level of personal responsibility for claim and repair costs by selecting a deductible. Only the most basic auto insurance policies, including collision and comprehensive, often necessitate a deductible.
Collision insurance will cover the cost of repairs to your car if it is involved in a collision with another vehicle (regardless of fault) or with an immovable object like a fence or a railing.
Non-collision events, like hail or theft, are covered by comprehensive insurance.
Additional state-specific deductibles to consider:
Coverage for uninsured and underinsured motorists helps you get your car fixed after an accident with a driver who doesn’t have insurance or who doesn’t have enough insurance.
Medical expenses incurred as a result of an accident are covered by personal injury protection (PIP) policies.
MBI, or mechanical breakdown insurance, is similar to a warranty in that it pays for the cost of necessary mechanical repairs.
When your car’s windshield is broken, your insurance will pay to get it fixed.
It all depends on your policy, who was at fault, your insurance provider, and the regulations in your state as to whether or not you have to pay a deductible after an incident. If an uninsured driver strikes your car in California, for instance, your insurance company might pay your deductible if you have collision coverage.1 Insurers may waive the deductible or grant a reduced one in the event of windshield damage.
What is the Function of a Deductible?
Imagine your car was damaged when a branch fell from a tree and landed on it. You take it to a repair shop and they tell you it would cost you $1,000 to fix it, so you submit a claim on your comprehensive insurance. Your costs will be limited by your policy’s deductible.
There is no yearly deductible maximum or out-of-pocket maximum; the deductible must be paid in full for each claim.
When Is a Deductible Required?
Your deductible is money that goes straight to the auto repair company once they’ve fixed your car. Your insurance company will subtract your payment from the amount they provide the repair shop. With a $500 deductible, for instance, the insurance company would pay the auto repair business $500 and you would be responsible for the remaining $500.
Tips for Choosing an Auto Insurance Deductible
W. Michael McBride, head of Michigan-based liability insurance provider Mason McBride Inc., has remarked, “Determining your deductible is very much a subjective judgment.” There are three main factors to consider when deciding on a deductible:
The worth of your car
Your capacity to deal with a sudden and severe loss of income
How changing your deductible affects your monthly payment
What do you think your car is worth right now?
Find out how much your car is worth to your insurance company before settling on a deductible. Think about how much it would cost to fix the car against how much it’s worth. It may not be worthwhile to purchase additional coverages if the car’s value decreases significantly because of the increased likelihood of a total loss. The Kansas Insurance Department, for instance, suggests opting for just liability insurance on vehicles worth less than $3,000.2
McBride cautioned, however, that you should evaluate the significance of your car as a mode of transportation in light of the current lack of used vehicles. Keep comprehensive and collision coverage if you need your automobile for daily transportation to and from work or school.
How does your backup plan for financial disaster look?
One typical strategy for cutting costs on insurance is to accept a larger deductible in return for a reduced annual premium. However, it’s important to consider how much money you could have to spend on auto repairs. Can you come up with $500 immediately if anything breaks and you don’t have an emergency fund? Can we say $2,000?
It’s understandable to want the security of a lower deductible if you’re not confident in your ability to come up with the cash quickly in an emergency.
How Much Do Different Deductible Choices Cost?
McBride suggests keeping an eye out for declining rewards whenever you’re thinking about raising your deductible. A $2,500 deductible coverage may not be worth it if it costs only slightly less than a $1,000 policy, leaving you with little cushion in the event of an accident.
Depending on your risk tolerance and budgetary considerations, several forms of coverage may offer varying deductibles. McBride said that because comprehensive insurance is less expensive than collision insurance, policyholders often opt for a lesser deductible for the former.
Deductibles: Additional Considerations
While the aforementioned three considerations are crucial, you should also consider the following issues before settling on a deductible.
Is There a Minimum Deductible That Must Be Met?
What your insurance company and state allow varies. While many insurance policies have deductibles of $250 or $500, other providers provide policies with no deductible at all, while others insist that high-risk drivers pay greater deductibles. In New York, for instance, you must have a collision deductible of at least $100 and a comprehensive deductible of at least $50.3
When leasing a vehicle, the maximum deductible may be set by the dealer or lending institution.
How Dangerous Is It to File a Claim?
It’s possible that you’ll be more inclined to make a claim if:
Have an incident history
Navigate congested streets
Stay in a city where auto theft is rampant
Think about how often, if ever, you’ll need to make payments toward your deductible.
Depending on the nature of the claim, the state in which it was filed, the insurer, the cost, and the number of additional claims, it could raise your premiums for up to five years.4
Can You Make Claims on Other Insurance Policies?
Instead of relying on vehicle insurance coverage, such as medical payments or PIP insurance, certain states allow you to use health coverage to pay the costs of injuries sustained in car accidents. A higher deductible or lower cap on those coverages could be a cost-effective choice here.
Is a Zero Deductible Plan the Best Choice?
A disappearing deductible is an add-on to your auto policy that can be purchased for extra money. While the specifics of each plan vary, in general, insurers will reward claim-free policyholders with a lower deductible the next year. Your collision deductible, for instance, might go down by $100 for every claim-free year.
McBride suggests that a person with a spotless driving record who prefers a higher deductible may benefit from a policy with a “vanishing deductible.” In the case of a claim, the “vanishing” sum might assist offset the cost of your deductible. These insurance are cheaper than high-deductible ones but cost a little more than low-deductible ones.
The ability to “vanish” a deductible below the minimum required by some jurisdictions is not available to policyholders. As mentioned before, the state minimum for a collision deductible in New York is $100.3
How About Waiving the Deductible?
Insurance deductibles may be waived under specific conditions by some states or insurers.
If your car is a total loss due to a covered loss, you may be able to get a waiver of your deductible from some insurance companies. In the event of a total loss, the deductible could be covered by the gap protection coverage you obtained from the dealership for your leased or financed vehicle.
A cracked windshield can be repaired rather than replaced, and in some areas, insurance companies are required to do it without charging a deductible if you live in such state.
In order to attract customers, some repair companies offer “deductible rebates” or promise to cover customers’ deductible costs. It’s important to check with your insurance provider before taking advantage of such deals, as doing so may be against the terms of your policy.
Questions & Answers
If You Can’t Afford Your Car Insurance Deductible, What Happens?
Consider delaying repairs until you have saved up enough cash to satisfy the deductible if you can’t pay it. You may get a loan to cover the deductible, or you might ask the repair shop to keep your car until you can come up with the cash.
Which Auto Insurance Option Has the Highest Deductible?
McBride estimated that a high deductible of $1,000 would be typical, however this would vary by state and insurance provider. The deductible, however, may be rather expensive. Prices might go up to the five- to ten-thousand dollar range for rare or collectable automobiles.
How Much Does the Typical Car Insurance Deductible Cost?
While there is no published national average across states and insurers, Progressive reports that its customers typically choose a $500 deductible.5