When and to whom do I pay my deductible?

Most insurance policies with full coverage will have two deductibles -- one for collision coverage and one for comprehensive coverage. Liability has no deductible that we’ve ever seen. So when and to whom do these deductibles have to be paid?
Being in the business of repairing cars after an accident we occasionally find some confusion on the part of vehicle owners about when their deductible comes into play.

Most insurance policies with full coverage will have two deductibles -- one for collision coverage and one for comprehensive coverage. Liability has no deductible that we’ve ever seen. So when and to whom do these deductibles have to be paid?

A collision deductible must be paid when you have caused damage to your vehicle while driving and have insurance cover the repairs. A comprehensive deductible must be paid when your vehicle has been damaged by hail, tornado, or other “act of god”, or by vandalism and get repairs.

A third (and frustrating) time you must pay your collision deductible is when for whatever reason, the person who’s responsible for a collision with your vehicle is unable to pay for the damage, either with insurance or out of pocket. In this case you will need to use your collision coverage, and pay the deductible. In this case your insurance company may subrogate, attempting to collect the full amount of the repair (including your deductible) from the responsible party and/or their insurance company.

Again, remember that if you’ve caused an accident and the person you hit is utilizing your liability insurance to pay for the repairs, you will not pay a deductible for that repair. You only pay a deductible for repairs to your car in the same claim.

Of course the question in the title of this article could also be rephrased, “When (and to whom) do I actually pay my deductible if I actually am responsible for that payment?” The answers to that are: 1) You pay the deductible to the body shop. The insurance will pay the body shop the cost of repairs minus your deductible amount. 2) At Paintmaster you only pay the deductible when you pickup your repaired vehicle and are satisfied the car has been returned to its pre-accident condition. (Note: As with any repair, be leery of a shop that wants the deductible up front. This may indicate they aren't established and have poor cash flow, using the deductible to buy parts and supplies.)

If you have questions about this or any other auto body related topic, please call us (918-836-8668) or use the contact form on this web site.

Information in this and other articles on this site is provided as general information only and should not be construed as legal or financial advise. The staff at Paintmaster Collision Center is trained in the art of auto body repair, painting, estimating and other related skills and have decades of experience dealing with auto body insurance claims. However, they are NOT trained or licensed to sell insurance or to provide legal advise so don’t make any decisions based solely on information found on this site.