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Joanna Johnson

Car Insurance Expert
Updated: 1/2019

Joanna is an expert on understanding how the different laws and regulations in the car insurance industry shape the way that policies work.

It’s not rocket science, but on the other hand, it’s also not something many of us think about when trying to find areas to save money. It’s one of the easiest ways to effectively save money. Making changes or adjustments to your auto insurance deductibles could provide a few extra bucks in your pocket depending on the type of coverage you need. Deductibles, simply put, is the amount of out-of-pocket money you are liable to fork over before your trusty insurance company steps in to shell out its portion. Insurance companies have deductible tiers in place that you can choose from, but it is equally important that you understand them and are able to orchestrate a set of smart deductibles yourself and according to your unique circumstances.

Not all agents or agencies for that matter will take the time to explain how each option will affect you, so there is a little legwork involved; that is unless you want to take a wild stab in the dark and choose based on what you think rather than what you’ve learned by spending a little time to familiarize yourself with the basics.

When properly prepared and have the right tools in your kit, you can ensure you accurately set the right deductibles to protect you from large losses for a comfortable insurance premium. It is common for most people to select a deductible based on how the monthly premiums are presented. Often times, higher deductibles seem attractive mainly because they come with reasonably lower premiums, which means more manageable monthly payments.

Cost is definitely a critical factor to consider when shopping around and determining which set of deductibles is best for you; follow along for an in-depth look at deductibles and how your decision makes a difference in the long run.

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The Elementary Principles of Insurance Deductibles

Little do you know, you’re in total control of the amount of auto insurance you choose to carry. Unfortunately, you electing to have no insurance at all is not possible. State laws govern the level of insurance you are required to carry and set minimum amounts of liability required in order for your vehicle to be considered road legal. On the other hand, if you’ve borrowed money or took out a loan through a financing company to buy your car, their stipulations may be different than the State minimum. Some lenders, banks, credit union or otherwise noted lien holder could ask that you keep your automobile under full coverage while you are paying off the debt.

If the thought of using insurance makes you feel eerie, consider insurance protection as a tool in your kit. It provides you with peace of mind and can protect your assets in the midst of turmoil or disaster. Sure, everyone has a different set of values or ideas of exactly how much insurance protection they may or may not need or how much they are willing to risk for cheaper premiums. Those who deter from normal risks will typically opt for a higher premium, with a lower deductible. In opposition, those do not scare easy from risks will choose to have a higher deductible, in order to benefit from lower monthly premium rates.

You can also consider your monthly payments as a risk factor. The amount you give your insurance agency every month is a direct correlation to the amount of risk you yourself are willing to endure versus what you expect them to cover. It’s not easy to figure all of these decisions when you’re sitting in front of your agent discussing paperwork and signing insurance policies.

Also, the saying goes: More money. More problems. This can translate into insurance coverage. The more you have to lose, the more insurance protection you are going to need. That’s simple logic.

Common Auto Insurance Deductible Questions Answered

Understanding Types of Auto Coverage and Their Offered Deductibles

When you look at your insurance policy, you’ll see several types of auto coverage. Comprehensive and collision are among the most common types of coverage with deductibles along with physical damage. Your automobile itself is covered and damages are paid for no matter who is considered at fault. Depending on your policy drawn up by your agent, details and stipulations can vary. Although, most agencies have common staple coverage in the policies that are similar across the board.

There is also Personal Injury Protection or quickly referenced as PIP, is also known to be called “no fault” insurance. Only certain states require said coverage:

  • Florida
  • Hawaii
  • Kansas
  • Kentucky
  • Massachusetts
  • Michigan
  • Minnesota
  • New Jersey
  • New York
  • North Dakota
  • Pennsylvania
  • Utah
  • District of Columbia (D.C.)

Under no fault laws, during an accident, your insurance agency will step up and pay for any damages, but only as much as your policy limit states no matter who is at fault; you or the other party involved. When other parties are involved, their insurance company will come and pay their covered policy holder. In the even you are required to have no fault insurance, choosing a deductible is not necessary.

The Best-Fit Deductible For You

When it’s time to start choosing your preferred deductible, a couple of questions may start to swirl around in your head:

What are the chances that I’ll even be in an accident?

  • What are the chances that I’ll even be in an accident?

In the event I am in an accident, what would the damages run me anyway?

  • In the event I am in an accident, what would the damages run me anyway?

What type of savings do I have that I could afford to pay for damages in case of an accident?

  • What type of savings do I have that I could afford to pay for damages in case of an accident?

What type of savings am I looking for on premiums in order to justify taking such risks?

  • What type of savings am I looking for on premiums in order to justify taking such risks?

Rationally speaking, if you have the loot put back to fork over the deductible in the event of an auto accident, then you may consider choosing a higher deductible, which would mean you would have much lower monthly premiums. Many smart shoppers and decision makers who assess their risks according to their lifestyle opt for this type of insurance coverage, as they are typically more cautious than those who miss deadlines, brush small accidents or mishaps off or otherwise not concerned with savings or amounts.

In case you are not that warm with the idea of raising your deductibles, but really enjoy the idea of reducing your monthly payments and premiums by as much as 40%, learn how by reading up on these suggestions on other methods to save.

Look Under Every Rock Before Shopping At One

It is important to assess your policy and review it with your insurance agent at least twice a year to compare potential savings and rate changes. Do not forget to also compare your agency’s rates against at least three other agencies in order to ensure you are getting the best rate. Alternatively, you could chime in and visit your local state insurance department who might have access to a comparison chart that lists all the major insurers.

All of this running around and digging is not worthless and has its value in time spent in the hunt because the competition is very cutthroat and dollar difference shopping between agencies can end up providing real tangible savings. Insurance.com is one of the easiest ways to compare the costs of insurance. With a few minutes of your time, you can collect several enticing quotes from top well-known insurance agencies in the blink of an eye.

After finding the rates that best fit you, it is time to make sure your selected insurer is financially stable. Smart shoppers usually use these two rating companies to determine the scope of operations of nearly any business:

  • A.M. Best
  •  Standard & Poor’s

Additionally, consumer magazines can prove to be a valuable resource and extremely helpful when looking to learn more about a company. Along with your state insurance department, friends and family members can help guide you away from certain mistakes like selecting the wrong insurance company. Be sure to check and make sure your selected insurance agency does have an army of disgruntled customers who have a lot of negative things to say about the quality and level of service offered.

Other Places to Consider Trimming Extra Insurance Weight

While playing around with different deductibles and premiums is fun, not all outcomes will be suitably attractive, but we still need coverage, so with that in mind, there are a few other places you can go to trim off some of the extra insurance weight:

  • When buying a new car be sure to check into the specific insurance costs before making those final signatures. Premiums correlate with several factors like sticker price, cost of repairs, safety driving record and regional theft statistics.
  • It is important to keep in mind the fact that cars with anti-theft devices and other driving safety feature (daytime running lights for example) can yield some notable discounts. Referencing the Insurance Institute for Highway Safety is an excellent tool to help compare and rank each make and model against another.
  • If you are driving an older car, letting go of your collision and/or your comprehensive coverage may also be an option. A general rule of thumb is that if your car is worth less than 10 times the amount of the premium, then it may not be worth the additional cost of additional coverage deductibles. When evaluating the value of your automobile, Kelley’s Blue Book is considered the industry standard.
  • Bundling different insurances like homeowners with your auto insurance can provide bulk or group insurance discounts.
  • Keeping your credit in good standing is great not only for insurance but for other reasons too. Insurance agencies tend to look at credit scores to calculate or determine premium rates. An unsavory credit history could result in higher premiums.
  • Sounds dumb, but driving less could also give you a few bucks off from your auto premiums. If you drive your car less than 10,000 miles a year, you may be able to qualify for a low-mileage discount. Check with your agent to see if they offer this type of savings.
  • Acknowledge your membership programs. Some insurance agencies will offer discounts to members of certain organizations like AARP or AAA. Check with your provider to see which programs they partner with.
  • Lump sum premium payments can actually save you a little dough too. Sure, the benefits of breaking your total premium up across a 3 or 6-month span is nice, you could also benefit from small savings if you can handle forking over the total amount upfront. Some companies offer discounts for total premium payments. Check with your agency.
  • Do not forget to pay or renew! Never let your insurance lapse. Insurance companies, especially auto and car insurance agencies do not like it when there are lapses in insurance coverage. This factor alone could raise your premiums and potentially make you ineligible for other policy discounts.

 

FAQ

General Auto Insurance Deductible Questions

This section covers general information about car insurance deductibles. 

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What is an auto insurance deductible?

An auto insurance deductible is the amount that you need to pay before your insurance will cover the costs for your car insurance claim.

What is a comprehensive deductible for car insurance?

A comprehensive deductible is the total amount that you’d have to pay out of pocket if you file a car insurance claim.

What is a waiver of deductible on auto insurance?

This is a special aspect of many insurance policies that means the insurance company will pay your deductible if the other party is at fault and doesn’t have insurance.

What is collision deductible in auto insurance?

The collision deductible is how much you’ll have to pay out of pocket before the insurance company covers the cost of your repairs.

What is a $500 deductible in auto insurance?

A $500 deductible in car insurance means that you’ll need to spend $500 on repairs before the insurance company picks up the cost.

What is a $1000 deductible car insurance?

A $1000 deductible for car insurance indicates that you’re responsible for the first $1,000 worth of car insurance claims, with your insurance company only paying out after that deductible is met.

Does auto liability insurance have a deductible?

Many auto liability insurances have a deductible. A higher deductible means a lower monthly payment.

What does a $250 deductible mean in car insurance?

A $250 deductible in car insurance means you’ll need to pay the first $250 on a claim out of pocket before your insurance company will cover the bill.

Can you get a $100 deductible for car insurance?

Sometimes, it depends on your state law and car insurance company policies.

Is there a deductible for car insurance with basic coverage?

There can be. Many people choose to get some kind of deductible to lower their monthly premium.

What are the two types of deductibles in car insurance?
There can be lots of different types of deductibles in car insurance depending on your specific insurance policy. The most common two-way split is high and low deductible insurance. High deductible insurance costs less month-to-month, while a low-deductible insurance policy means you won’t have to pay much if you need repairs or are awarded damages.

How Car Insurance Deductibles Work

This section answers your questions about how car insurance deductibles work.

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How does car insurance deductible work?

Car deductibles work by representing how much money you must pay before your insurance coverage kicks in. They lower to cost to the insurance company, and the insurance company lowers the cost of your monthly premium.

Is auto insurance deductible per incident?

In most cases, yes. Most auto insurance deductibles occur at a per claim basis.

How much is a deductible on auto insurance?

It depends. Most people get to set their deductible with their insurance company when they’re signing up for a policy.

Does insurance company subtract deductible from totaled auto amount?

Yes, if your car is totaled then your insurance company will subtract your deductible from your insurance payout.

Are auto insurance deductibles rising?

There’s no real trend as far as auto insurance deductibles, as most drivers set their own deductibles when they sign up for a policy.

How much deductible for auto insurance for brand new car?

You’ll get to set your deductible at a price you’re comfortable with paying. Keep in mind that a lower deductible will mean a higher monthly premium.

What is all perils deductible in car insurance?
All Perils deductibles mean that the deductible applies to any kind of claim you make under the insurance policy, whether it’s liability, comprehensive, or even damage from weather.

Picking a Car Insurance Deductible

It can be tricky to pick an auto insurance deductible. We’ll help you figure out how to do it in this section.

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Is a higher deductible better for auto insurance?

A higher deductible will lower your monthly insurance costs, but it also means that you’ll need to pay more out of pocket in the event of an accident.

What is a good deductible for auto insurance?

A good deductible changes from person to person. You should pick a deductible that you can afford if your car is in an accident and needs repairs.

What auto insurance deductive should I get?

That depends on your financial situation and how you treat risk. A higher deductible will mean lower monthly costs, but it also means a greater out of pocket cost if you’re in an accident.

How to decrease auto insurance increase deductible?

You’ll need to contact your insurance company to see if you can lower your car insurance deductible. Most insurance companies will allow this, but you’ll have a higher monthly payment as a result.

How much auto insurance deductible should I have?

You should have a deductible that matches your ability to pay out of pocket to cover repairs. If you’ve got some savings, then a higher deductible might be better. Otherwise, a lower deductible is usually the right choice.

Does comprehensive auto insurance have a deductible?

Usually. There are no-deductible auto insurance policies. However, most people decide that having a deductible to lower the monthly cost of insurance is worth the risk of having to pay out of pocket.

Does it cost anything to change auto insurance deductible?

The act of changing your deductible usually doesn’t cost anything. However, if you decrease your deductible, then your monthly premium will increase accordingly.

Should I adjust my auto insurance to a lower deductible?

Maybe. If you’re worried about your ability to pay for out-of-pocket costs in the event of an accident, then a lower deductible could be beneficial.

How to lower deductible in auto insurance?

You can usually lower your deductible by contacting your insurance company. This will result in an increase in your monthly bill though, so carefully consider your options before you take any actions.

How to choose deductible for car insurance?

You should choose a deductible based on your ability to pay for repairs out of pocket. The more you can afford to spend on repairs, the larger the deductible you can afford.

What should my car insurance deductible be?

That depends on your specific situation. You should pick a deductible that’s less than what you can afford to pay for car repairs. Otherwise, you might find yourself without a working car, as your insurance company will only pay once you’ve met your deductible.

Is a $1000 deductible good for auto insurance?
It can be, but it depends on your specific situation. It means that you’ll need to pay the first $1,000 of any repairs out of pocket, but your monthly premium will be lower than if you had a smaller deductible.
Is a $500 car insurance deductible good?
It can be, it depends on what you’re looking for. A $500 deductible will mean you have higher month-to-month costs, but it also means you’ll pay less out of pocket for repairs.

Paying Car Insurance Deductibles

There’s a lot of confusion about the payment of car insurance deductibles. We’ll clear up your questions on this topic in this section.

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When do you have to pay car insurance deductible?

You pay car insurance deductibles when your car is getting repaired and you’re filing an insurance claim on the repairs.

Who do I pay my auto insurance deductible to?

Usually you’ll pay the deductible to the mechanic that’s repairing your car. Once you’ve paid your deductible, your insurance company will cover the rest of the payments.

Is auto deductible paid to insurance company?

Not in most cases. Usually, you file a claim and then pay the bill up to your deductible, with your insurance company covering the rest of the costs up to your insurance limits.

Do you have to pay car insurance deductible upfront?

You don’t have to pay your deductible when you get a car insurance policy, but you do need to pay it when your car is getting repaired before your insurance company will issue payments to the mechanic.

Other Auto Insurance Deductible Questions

This section covers questions about car insurance deductibles that don’t fit into our other categories. Check here if you can’t find your question elsewhere.

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What is my USAA auto insurance deductible?

It depends what you set it at when you got your policy. You’ll need to contact USAA for more information about your specific policy.

What is the average deductible for car insurance?

There’s no reliable statistics on the average car insurance deductible, but most companies let you choose from a $250, $500, or $1,000 deductible.

Do you get reimbursed for auto insurance deductible?

No, the deductible is the amount of money that you pay out of pocket for repairs before your insurance kicks in.

What is the lowest deductible for car insurance?

There are insurance policies that have no deductible. However, they may not be offered in your state, or you may not qualify for them.

How to get car insurance deductible waived?

You’ll need to talk to your car insurance company about getting your deductible waived. There are some instances where this can happen. These instances are outlined in your insurance policy.

Is car insurance deductible as a business expense?

It depends on several factors. You should talk to a certified accountant to get more information on how to record your car insurance deductible.

What is voluntary deductible in car insurance?

The voluntary deductible is the amount that you say you’re willing to pay for repairs before car insurance kicks in. The higher this figure, the lower your monthly bill.

Why is my car insurance deductible so high?

Your car insurance deductible is high because you set it at that level. Most people with a high deductible have one because it lowers their monthly costs.

What is the highest car insurance deductible?

It varies from state to state and company to company. Generally, $1,000 is the highest deductible you can get, but some companies will go up to $2,500.

What is zero deductible car insurance?

Zero deductible car insurance is insurance where you don’t have to pay an out of pocket deductible before your car insurance pays out on your claim.

Can you write off car insurance deductibles?

In some cases, depending on how you file your taxes and the way your car insurance and ownership is structured. You should talk to a certified tax professional for more information.

How to calculate car insurance reimbursement with deduction clause?
You can calculate your reimbursement by taking the total bill of your repairs or payment and subtracting your deductible. That will tell you how much your reimbursement will be.