Who pays the deductible in a car accident depends on who was at-fault. However, it is important to note that, even if the other driver was at-fault, you will likely need to pay the deductible first and then request compensation later. This will be true in almost every situation.
What Is a Deductible and Why Do I Have to Pay It If I Was Not At-fault?
When you sign up for car insurance, your policy will likely have a deductible that you must pay before your insurance will go into effect after an accident. This deductible is usually $500 or $1,000.
Once you pay your deductible, the insurance company will pay the remaining damages for your vehicle repairs, up to your policy limits. If your car is totaled, your insurer will pay you the value of your car, minus the deductible.
For example, if you have a $15,000 in vehicle damages and a $10,000 policy with a $1,000 deductible, you will pay $1,000 and the insurance will pay $9,000 towards your damages. You will then have to pay the remaining $5,000 out-of-pocket or file a claim against the at-fault driver’s insurer to recover additional compensation.
You may think that it is unfair that you must pay the deductible even though the accident is not your fault. Remember, however, that you will get that money back eventually in many cases. When the accident first occurs, you will file a claim with your insurer and go forward with paying the deductible and getting your vehicle repaired.
As an auto shop completes your repairs, your insurance company will likely be conducting an investigation to determine who was liable for your accident. Once the mechanic completes your repairs, your insurance company may determine that the other driver was liable for your damages and decide to pursue a claim against that driver’s insurer to recover the money it paid for your repairs plus the amount of your deductible. This type of claim is called subrogation.
If the claim is successful, your insurer will likely reimburse you the amount of your deductible. If your insurer refuses to reimburse you for your deductible, call us. We may be able to help.
What If My Insurer’s Claim Against the At-Fault Driver Is Unsuccessful?
If your insurer does not pursue a claim against the at-fault driver, or fails to recover compensation from the other driver, it will not reimburse you for your deductible payment.
However, you have other options. We may be able to file a lawsuit against the other driver to recover the deductible amount plus any other unpaid losses.
To prove your claim, we will have to establish that the other driver was at-fault for your accident and that your vehicle suffered damage and required repair because of it.
What if My Repairs Cost Less Than the Deductible?
In some minor accidents, your repairs may cost less than the deductible. In such cases, you do not need to pay the entire deductible unless your policy states so.
However, some insurers might tell you that you need to pay the entire deductible. If you believe your insurer is acting in bad faith by having you pay a deductible higher than your repair costs, call us. We can look into your policy and determine if your insurer is violating your policy or not.
Florida Is a No-Fault Insurance State. Does That Impact My Deductible?
No because no-fault insurance does not cover vehicle damage or other property damages. The purpose of no-fault benefits is to cover lost wages and medical expenses.
It also does not affect personal injury protection (PIP) benefits. The process is the same. You pay your deductible for your PIP benefits and then we can request compensation to reimburse your insurer and recover the deductible you paid.
Insurance Policies Are Complicated. Get Help Understanding Yours After an Accident.
It can be confusing to determine what your insurer expects from you after an accident. You might not know if you need to pay a deductible or even what your deductible is. We can help. Contact the Law Firm of Anidjar & Levine at 800-747-3733 to discuss your insurance policy and whether you might be able to recover reimbursement for your deductible in a claim.