Understanding How Deductibles Work in Car Insurance

Car Insurance Deductibles in San Diego, CA

New and occasionally even seasoned drivers don’t always have a good understanding of what an auto insurance deductible is and how it works. However, it’s important to understand this concept in the event you are involved in an accident or other damage to your vehicle occurs. The staff at American Tri-Star Insurance in San Diego is here to explain some important information about deductibles.

What Is a Deductible?

Your deductible is the money you pay out of pocket before your cheap San Diego auto insurance agency pays toward a claim for damage or loss. For instance, if your deductible is $300 and repairs after an accident are $800, you will pay the first $300 and the insurance agency will pay the remaining $500. Deductibles do not apply to liability auto insurance, which pays for damages incurred by another driver if you cause an accident.

What Are Collision and Comprehensive Deductibles?

Collision and comprehensive coverage are two types of physical damage coverage that come with deductibles. Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle against anything other than a collision such as fire, natural disaster, animals, falling objects, and theft. Collision insurance covers repairs when you hit another car, a deep pothole, or a stationary object like a tree. Many people choose different deductibles for different types of coverage. For example, collision damage is often more expensive and it might make more sense to choose a higher deductible so your monthly payment will be lower. You may want to choose a $100 deductible for comprehensive coverage and $500 for collision coverage, for example.

When Do You Pay the Deductible?

It’s a common misconception that you need to pay the deductible every time you make a claim. While deductibles are enforced in most cases, there are some situations where you might not pay them. If you are not at fault, you might not need to pay a deductible if the driver at fault can be located quickly. You can also choose to pay your deductible and get it refunded after the driver at fault is located.

Some situations where you may not need to pay a deductible include:

  • Glass damage – If you have comprehensive coverage, you may not need to pay a deductible to have a windshield or broken window fixed.
  • Uninsured drivers – If you have collision coverage, a deductible waiver allows you to skip your deductible if an uninsured driver hits you.

In many cases, you can choose the deductible you want to pay for collision and comprehensive coverage. However, it’s important to choose a deductible you can afford. While setting your deductibles very high gives you lower premiums, it can put you in a difficult situation if you are in an accident and unable to pay the deductible for repairs.

For more information on deductibles and choosing the right insurance for your needs, contact American Tri-Star today. In addition to auto insurance, we also offer affordable motorcycle and RV insurance in San Diego. Give us a call at 619-272-2100 for a free quote.