Is a deductible due for every accident claim?


Question: Is a deductible due when making any type of car insurance claim after a crash?

Answer:  A deductible isn't associated with every type of car insurance coverage, so it will depend upon the kind of claim that is being made.  (See " What is a deductible? ")

Liability coverages are deductible-free.

For example, if someone hits you and you're making a claim against the driver's liability coverages, then you won't have a deductible due.  If the other driver's auto insurance company finds that their policyholder was fully at fault, then their liability coverages should pay for damages to your car ( property damage liability ) and injuries ( bodily injury liability ), up to the person's maximum limits.

The same holds true if you hit someone and the other driver makes a claim against your liability coverages. There wouldn't be due a deductible due by you or the party making the claim. 

But "full coverage" is different.

If you use your physical damage coverages of collision and comprehensive to make a claim for damages to your vehicle, then you'll normally need to pay out a deductible -- whether you're at fault or not.  It doesn't matter if you lost control and hit a tree or a deer ran into your vehicle, a deductible would be due. (See "What if I can't pay my deductible?")

If you're not at fault in an accident and don't want to pay a deductible, then you'll need to go through the at-fault party's property damage liability coverage to make your claim.  If you go through your own collision and make a claim, the deductible will be due and though your insurer may subrogate with the other party, there is no guarantee that they will be able to recoup your deductible amount.

There are a few exceptions (that vary by state and insurer) regarding a deductible being due after a comprehensive or collision claim.  For example, in some states your comprehensive deductible is waived for windshield claims.  Also, sometimes if you're in an accident with another driver who is insured by the same insurer as you and you chose to make a collision claim, your deductible may be waived.

Other parts of your insurance also may come with a deductible, such as personal injury protection (PIP) if you live in a no-fault state.  And, in some states, uninsured motorist bodily injury and uninsured motorist property damage come with deductibles.  If you're making a claim against your own car insurance policy and are unsure if you have a deductible amount, review your policy and contact your agent if you need clarification.

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of The NASDAQ OMX Group, Inc.

This article appears in: Personal Finance , Insurance

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