Who Pays for My Deductible After a Car Accident?March 13, 2023
You could be responsible for paying a deductible after a car crash, depending on who’s at fault, the nature of the traffic collision, and your insurance. If you do have to pay that deductible out of pocket, you may be entitled to reimbursement for that expense under certain circumstances.
How does it all work?
Find out in this concise guide to deductibles and car accident claims.
When Does the Deductible Come Up?
Before diving into the details of deductibles and crash claims, it’s first crucial to establish that deductibles pertain solely to vehicle damage and repairs. They aren’t related to physical injuries or other losses resulting from a traffic crash.
Consequently, after a car wreck, the deductible will generally come into play when:
- The wreck has damaged at least one involved vehicle.
- At least one party involved in the crash has filed a car accident claim with an insurance company.
When Do I Have to Pay the Deductible After an Auto Accident?
Generally, you should expect to pay the deductible whenever you file a car accident claim with your own insurance company. That can include (and is not limited to) filing a claim for motor vehicle accidents that involve:
- Your fault: If you cause a crash, the claims for the wreck would likely be filed against your auto insurance policy, with your insurer. In that case, you would be responsible for paying the deductible for a claim involving damage to your vehicle, and your insurance company would then step in after that to pay for the vehicle repairs, up to the limits of your policy.
- Uninsured or underinsured motorists (UM/UIM): If you’re hit by a driver who doesn’t have any or sufficient auto insurance coverage — and if you have UM/UIM coverage — you can file a claim with your insurer to cover your vehicle repairs or replacement costs. Again, because you’re filing a claim against your policy, you’ll have to pay the deductible, with the insurance covering the rest of the costs, up to your policy limits.
- Hit and runs: These crashes are typically covered by UM/UIM insurance too, with claimants being responsible for deductibles in this case as well. Keep in mind that, in Texas, you have to specifically deny UM/UIM coverage in writing. So, if you never did that or if your insurance provider doesn’t have records of your written denial of this coverage, you could have it.
Along with these car crash claims, you could find yourself paying the deductible even if you were not at fault for a wreck. In fact, you could pay the deductible if you need to get your vehicle repaired ASAP — and if you can’t wait for their other driver’s insurance company to wrap up its claim. In this case:
- You could be entitled to deductible recovery: This happens through subrogation, a process in which one insurance company (the victim’s insurer) seeks reimbursement for damages it has covered from another insurance company (the at-fault party’s insurer).
- It’s prudent to consult an attorney: If you are not at fault, you cannot count on the insurance company to explain your rights or be forthcoming with the money you may deserve. A lawyer can help you figure all that out while providing essential counsel moving forward.
When Am I Not Responsible for the Deductible After a Crash?
Typically, you will not be on the hook for a deductible whenever you are not filing a claim against your auto insurance policy. That can include whenever:
- Other drivers file claims with your insurance company: Your insurance company handles the repair costs, up to the policy limits. You aren’t responsible for paying the deductible unless you have filed a claim to get your vehicle repaired too.
- You file a claim with another driver’s insurance company: If another motorist is at fault and you’ve filed a claim with their insurer, you generally aren’t going to have to pay a deductible — but you will have to wait for that insurance company to investigate the accident and make fault determinations, assuming they get it correct. That tends to take more time than many folks want to wait for vehicle repairs. That is why some choose to shell out for their deductibles and wait to get reimbursed later.
When Should I Talk to an Attorney
Consult a lawyer as soon as you can if you’re facing questions about deductibles, car accident claims, and fault after a crash. The truth is that insurance companies are not going to be focused on safeguarding your rights or helping you recover. An experienced car accident attorney will be.