Paying Your Deductible After a Car Accident- Who is Responsible?

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Paying Your Deductible After a Car Accident- Who is Responsible?

You have your phone put away, two hands on the wheel and your full attention on the road ahead – everything you should be doing to stay safe on the road.  However, no matter how safe you are being, you’re still vulnerable to accidents due to the negligence of others around you.  If you get into an accident and you have questions about who pays your deductible, keep reading!

How Do Car Insurance Deductibles Work?

I’ll start with the basics, what is a car insurance deductible?  The car insurance deductible is the amount of money you must pay out of pocket, according to how your policy is set up, when you file a claim on your own insurance policy.  Once this amount is paid, your insurance company will then step in to help cover the remaining costs for damages, at least up to your policy limit.

Do I have to pay?

You have primarily two options when filing a claim to fix your vehicle. 1) You can set up a claim with the other driver’s insurance (at-fault insurance) or 2) go through your insurance.  There are benefits and frustrations with both options. However, your deductible is only an issue if you elect to claim on your own insurance.

In general, people prefer to make a claim on the other driver’s insurance because they caused the wreck.  However, before they will pay for your car damages, the other driver’s insurance company will have to do a liability investigation.  Sometimes, this means waiting on the police report, waiting for the other driver to communicate with their insurance company, or waiting on an adjuster that never calls you back.  Aaargh!  Meanwhile, your vehicle is not drivable and you cannot get to work. Therefore, some people choose to expedite fixing their car damage by making a claim on their own car insurance. 

All is not lost!

If you decide to go through your insurance to begin repairs, you will ordinarily pay your deductible to the body shop after your vehicle has been repaired. So, you have some time.  In other words, the body shop will be paid by your insurance company for all of their bill except the amount of your deductible, which the body shop will collect from you.  However, all is not lost!  When you have to pay a deductible when making a claim on your own insurance, your insurance company will still seek reimbursement from the other driver’s insurance company on your behalf.  Thus, if liability is accepted by the other driver’s insurance company later such that your insurance company gets reimbursed for your car damages, your insurance company will also collect for you and reimburse you for the amount in deductible you paid