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On The Road

Understanding Deductibles in Car Insurance

A deductible is the amount you’re responsible for paying out of pocket before your insurance kicks in to cover the remaining costs of repairing your vehicle after an accident. It’s a financial safety net, but it’s essential to understand how how it works.

by Team Onlia

Auto insurance is a financial safeguard that protects us in times of unexpected incidents and mishaps on the road. But one of the most important aspects of auto insurance that often puzzles policyholders is the deductible.

No need to worry though, it’s easy to understand what they are, how they function and the significance of their role in determining insurance premiums and coverage.

Whether you’re a seasoned driver or a new car owner, understanding deductibles is essential for making informed decisions about your auto insurance policy.

What is an auto insurance deductible?

An auto insurance deductible is the amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance provider steps in to cover the remaining expenses related to a claim. Essentially, it’s your share of the costs when you file an insurance claim.

When you’re involved in an incident or your vehicle sustains damage, you’ll need to pay your deductible before your insurance coverage kicks in.

For instance, if your deductible is $500 and the total repair cost is $2,000, you’ll pay $500, and your insurer will cover the remaining $1,500.

Types of auto insurance deductibles

Collision Deductible: Collision deductible applies when your vehicle is involved in a collision with another vehicle or object, regardless of who is at fault. The deductible covers damage caused by accidents such as fender benders and collisions with stationary objects like trees or lampposts.

Comprehensive Deductible: Comprehensive deductible comes into play when your vehicle suffers non-collision damage. This includes incidents like theft, vandalism, hail damage and encounters with wildlife. Comprehensive coverage offers protection against a wide range of perils beyond collisions.

Uninsured Motorist Deductible: This deductible applies if you’re involved in an accident with an uninsured driver and your insurance policy includes coverage for such situations. It ensures that you’re not left with the full financial burden when the responsible party lacks sufficient coverage.

Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD) Deductible: Most policyholders do not have a deductible for DCPD. However, in Alberta and Ontario your coverage might be split if you’re found partially at-fault for an accident. If you are found 30% at fault for a collision, you will have to pay 30% of your deductible. 

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The role of deductibles in premiums

Your premium refers to the cost of your insurance – most people choose to pay a monthly premium for their coverage, while some choose to pay yearly. When you choose the amount of your deductible – typically ranging from $500 to $1,000 – it can significantly affect your auto insurance premium. Typically, the higher your deductible, the lower your insurance premium will be. This is because higher deductibles mean you’re assuming more financial responsibility in the event of a claim.

Opting for a higher deductible can result in substantial savings on your premiums over time. However, it’s crucial to find the right balance between a deductible that saves you money on premiums and one that remains affordable in case you need to make a claim.

Deductibles and claims

Hopefully, you never have to experience an event that leads you down the road of making a claim, but examples include minor accidents, major collisions and incidents involving uninsured drivers.

When you file an insurance claim, your deductible is the initial amount subtracted from the total claim payout. Understanding this process is essential for managing your expectations and finances when a claim occurs.

It’s also key to know when and how you are expected to pay your deductible. Some insurers require it upfront, while others deduct it from your claim settlement. Knowing these details ensures a smoother claims process, so be sure to reach out to your insurance provider to understand how their process works. 

Deductibles and policy limits

Deductibles and policy limits interact to shape the extent of your coverage. For instance, if you have a $500 deductible and a policy limit of $10,000 for property damage, you will be responsible for the first $500, and your insurer will cover up to $10,000 in damages.

Making informed decisions on your policy

Auto insurance deductibles are a critical part of your policy that can significantly impact your finances and coverage. Making informed decisions about your auto insurance deductible involves key details, such as considering your financial readiness, driving habits and the value of your vehicles.

By balancing these factors, you can ensure that your auto policy aligns with your needs and provides peace of mind on the road.

In a world full of uncertainties, knowledge about auto insurance deductibles empowers you to navigate the complex landscape of insurance with confidence and clarity.

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