Who pays the deductible in a car accident depends on the type of insurance a driver has and their state’s insurance requirements. Under some policies, the at-fault driver pays the deductible. Their liability insurance typically covers their medical expenses and repairs and the other driver’s losses.
However, deductible rules work differently under personal injury protection (PIP). If this insurance coverage is in effect, each driver involved in the accident is responsible for paying their medical expenses and vehicle damage, as the Florida Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles (FLHSMV) explains. Your PIP policy’s collision coverage also pays for the damages you incur when your car collides with another vehicle or object. It also covers medical bills for your injuries and your passengers’ injuries, regardless of fault.
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What Does ‘Deductible’ Mean?
Deductibles are the monetary amount you’ll have to pay out of pocket before your insurer pays its share of your losses. There are different types of deductibles. Some are “fixed,” and some are “floating.” A fixed deductible means that no matter what kind of damage is done to your car, whether it be a dent or a total loss, you’ll always have to pay the same amount.
A floating deductible means the deductible differs according to the type of damage the vehicle sustained. For example, if you cause $500 in damage to your vehicle, the insurance company may only ask you to pay $250. However, if you damage someone else’s vehicle, the deductible may double or even triple, depending on the circumstances. Deductibles can vary from one insurance policy to another. It’s essential to review them before buying insurance as they can save you money in the long run.
When Should You Pay Your Car Insurance Deductible?
If the damage is insured and costs more than your deductible amount, you must pay your deductible whenever you file a claim under an insurance policy that requires it. If your claim is approved, your deductible will usually be deducted from the compensation your insurance company pays you.
In most cases, you’ll not be required to pay your insurer. Instead, the insurance company will deduct your deductible amount from the total amount of your claim’s authorized payout. For example, assume you’ve been authorized for a $5,000 claim with a $250 deductible. Your insurance company will write you a payment for $4,750 in that situation.
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When Must You Pay a Deductible?
When you’re in a car accident, it’s critical to make a claim with your insurance company as soon as possible. Explain everything that happened, and present your evidence, such as:
- Pictures of the accident scene, vehicle damage, and/or injuries suffered
- Witness statements
- Police report
- Surveillance video (if possible)
You might pay your deductible and get your automobile fixed while your insurance company examines who was at blame in the accident. You won’t be reimbursed for your deductible if it’s determined that you were at fault. On the other hand, if your insurance company determines that the other party is to blame, it may submit a claim with the at-fault party’s insurance company to reimburse your deductible and any further damages.
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When Does ‘No Deductible’ Apply?
In the following situations, the deductible will not apply to you if:
- Someone files a claim against you. A liability claim has no deductible, which means you pay nothing out of pocket if you cause an accident. Instead, your insurer pays damages and injuries you cause to another person up to the limits of your policy.
- You choose a vanishing deductible. Some insurers provide a “disappearing deductible” scheme, in which your deductible is reduced by a certain amount for each violation- and claim-free insurance period. For example, you may qualify for a $0 deductible for comprehensive or collision claims after a specified number of insurance months. However, your deductible usually resets to its original amount after making a claim.
- You receive free glass claims repairs. Insurers may repair or replace your windshield without a deductible in some jurisdictions, or they may offer you the option of a $0 deductible for your glass claim. Additionally, other insurers may waive your deductible if you can repair rather than replace your windshield.
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Depending on the type of insurance in effect and state insurance rules, the person who pays the deductible in a car accident will either be the at-fault driver or the driver with PIP coverage, who must cover their own expenses, including their deductible. If you’re unsure of your responsibility in this regard, you can reach out to consult our legal team at the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine.
Before settling with your insurance company, please don’t make assumptions about fault or liability until you speak with us. Call us at 1-800-747-3733 today for a free, no-obligation case review so that you can learn more about your legal options and next steps.