What is a Car Insurance Deductible?
If you’re driving the roads of our beautiful state, you’d better have insurance. Otherwise, you could pay for all the extraordinary expenses out of pocket if you’re in an accident. However, even with an active car insurance policy, there exists the chance that you might still have to pay a certain amount of money if you’re in a car accident.
That payment is known as your deductible.
The average car insurance deductible is somewhere around $500. Some car insurance policies do not have any deductibles. However, regardless of what car insurance carrier you use, most tend to work very similarly. But typically, you can expect that the higher the car insurance deductible is, the lower your car insurance premiums are going to be.
Do You Pay the Deductible if You Are At Fault?
First of all, regardless of who is at fault for an accident, it is crucial that you seek medical attention immediately after a car crash. Even if you feel fine and your injuries appear minimal, you should still speak with medical professionals. If your injuries develop later on and you fail to get a medical checkup after a collision, those injuries might be disregarded entirely.
If you cause a motor vehicle accident and you file a claim for your collision coverage, you will have to pay a deductible. Additionally, if you’re responsible for causing an accident and were injured in that crash, you must file a personal injury protection (PIP) claim. A PIP claim comes with a deductible.
You will also likely have to pay a deductible if you caused an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist. You must also pay a deductible if you’re at fault for the car accident and file a claim with your comprehensive coverage.
Do You Pay the Deductible for a Car Accident if You’re Not At-Fault?
It might seem unfair, but those in car accidents might have to pay a deductible whether or not they’re responsible for causing the accident.
You may end up paying a deductible because, even if the other driver is at fault, the car insurance investigation may take time. And in that time, you might be without a vehicle unless you get it repaired. By paying the deductible, you can pay for the necessary repairs and not have to worry about being unable to drive while awaiting the insurer’s investigation to conclude.
Additionally, suppose you file a PIP or comprehensive insurance claim or are in an accident with an underinsured motorist. In that case, you will likely pay a deductible regardless of who was at fault.
When is it Not Necessary to Pay a Deductible?
Usually, it is unnecessary to pay a deductible if you’re in an accident with an insured driver and the cause of the crash was not your fault. The only exceptions would be if you file a PIP claim or have comprehensive coverage.
If you decide not to wait for the insurance investigation to conclude, you can pay your deductible to have your car repaired. When the investigation concludes, the car insurance company should reimburse you for those costs.
Most importantly, for those who were at fault for an accident, if they have a good liability insurance policy, they will not have to pay deductibles to pay for the other driver’s injuries or property damage.
Comparing Vehicle Damage To Personal Injuries In Automobile Collisions
Automobile collisions, especially those involving semitrucks, are scary. I know how scary they can be because I’ve been in one.
I was driving eastbound on I-40 past Greensboro on my way back from my son’s hockey tournament with him and one of his teammates. We were in the right lane, and a semitruck was in the lane to our left.
The truck driver could have slowed down as he approached the car in front of him. Or he could have passed that car on the left. But he didn’t. Instead, the truck driver tried to pass on the right, hitting us and running our car off the road in the process. Then he drove away.
The damage to our car was obvious. The driver-side mirror was dangling by a cord. Both doors were scraped up, dented, and wouldn’t close. Thankfully, even though you wouldn’t have guessed it by looking at our car, all three of us were fine.
Not everyone is as lucky as we were. We hear from clients all the time who are involved in automobile collisions. They’ll suffer serious injuries, yet their vehicles come away with no visible damage at all.
For these clients, there’s one question they can’t get out of their mind: “Can I still win a personal-injury lawsuit if my car looked fine?” The answer to that question is yes.
Do You Pay the Auto Body Shop the Deductible for Repairing Your Vehicle?
If you are impatient for the insurance company to finish its investigation, you may pay your deductible to have your car repaired sooner rather than later.
Car repair shops in North Carolina are not legally permitted to waive your insurance deductible. If the auto body shop offers to waive the deductible, this might sound like a tempting offer, but this would be committing insurance fraud, and you should not follow this path.
Many auto body repair shops offer financing plans if you cannot afford your deductibles.
What if You Disagree with Your Car Insurance Company’s Appraiser?
If the car insurance investigation comes to a conclusion you do not agree with, you have a number of options to dispute the appraisal.
If you are the first-party claimant, you should have a provision in your insurance policy that allows you and your insurer to select a competent appraiser. The two appraisers from opposing companies will then select an umpire, and it will be this umpire’s responsibility to sort out any contested appraisals.
A third-party claimant may attempt to negotiate the numbers with the insurance company. If you cannot come to an agreeable sum, your car accident attorneys can take the matter to court. With a strong case, your lawyers may help you recover a fair settlement that trumps what the insurer’s appraiser initially offered.
Schedule a Free Consultation with Experienced Car Accident Lawyers Today
If you’ve been in a car accident, you should first seek medical aid and file a police report. As soon as that’s done, speak with personal injury attorneys experienced in handling car accident cases like yours.
At O’Malley Tunstall, PC, our legal team has years of experience helping clients just like you recover from accidents and horrific injuries by recovering the maximum compensation for their cases. If you’d like to learn more about car insurance deductibles following a motor vehicle accident, please contact our law firm, and we can provide professional legal guidance.
To schedule a free consultation with a member of our legal staff, please call our law firm at (919) 277-0150.