UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
It’s all about you. We want to help you make the right coverage choices.
Advertiser Disclosure: We strive to help you make confident insurance decisions. Comparison shopping should be easy. We partner with top insurance providers. This doesn't influence our content. Our opinions are our own.
Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.
When it comes to car insurance, the deductible is the amount of money you must pay for auto repairs before your insurance company pays for your claim. If you get into an accident with $7,000 worth of damage and you have a $1000 deductible, for example, you will pay $1000 to your insurer and they will pay the remaining $6000. Although much less than the cost of the full repair, the deductible is still often times very expensive and not everyone can afford it. Fortunately, in some special situations, the deductible can be waived.
Often times, there is only one way in which your insurer can waive your deductible. And that is when you are involved in a collision with another vehicle and they are determined to be at fault. Their insurance company will accept full responsibility and then will reimburse you for the full damage involved, deductible included.
One of the few situations in which deductibles can be waived is windshield claims. Windshield repairs, which are covered by comprehensive coverage policies, are defined separately in most policies. If you have comprehensive coverage, you may owe much less (or nothing at all) for a deductible if you are to get your windshield repaired. If it is a small nick or a small crack on your windshield, your insurer might go ahead and repair it for you at no cost whatsoever. Call your insurance company to find out for sure if your policy covers windshield damage with no deductible.
In some states, like Michigan, there is a deductible waiver that you can buy or add-on to your policy. In these states, if you have the deductible waiver, you will not be required to pay your deductible under certain circumstances, for example, you are hit by someone with the same insurance company, or your car is deemed to be a “total loss”, or you are hit by an uninsured motorist. If you do not buy this waiver, however, you could be out of luck. Ask your insurance agent if there are any deductible waivers available to add to your policy, otherwise, you might end up paying for your deductible in-full come repair time.
Be Careful Of Repair Shops Willing To Waive Your Deductible
Sometimes an auto repair shop will offer to waive your deductible. They do this, behind the backs of the insurance companies they work with, to entice drivers to patronize their shop for repairs. Usually, this is both illegal and unethical as it cuts into the insurer’s profits. The way it works is that the repair shop would over-inflate the estimate for the repair cost so that the insurer ends up paying the entire amount of the damaged vehicle’s repairs, including your deductible. This is unethical and fraudulent because it ignores the deductible amount that you agreed to in your policy.
Be wary of auto body shops that offer to lower or waive your deductible. Not only is this practice illegal, but it’s also risky to you, as a consumer. If they are willing to cut corners with the insurance company, they might cut corners repairing your vehicle or not give it the proper care it needs. In addition, the chances of a fraudulent repair shop staying in business for the long term is slim-to-none, so don’t even think about them honoring any warranty you might have.
In general, when it comes to car insurance, you should expect to pay some kind of deductible when you get repair work done. After all, paying a deductible is what you agreed to when you signed your policy. Talk to your insurance agent to get a better idea of what you will owe when it comes time to do repairs.