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Do I have to pay more than my car insurance deductible amount?


Question:  If my deductible is $1,000 and my damages are $1,900, what can I expect to pay?

Answer:  If your deductible is $1,000, then that is what you should expect to pay out personally for your vehicle to be repaired before your car insurance policy will pick up the remaining repair costs.

Your deductible amount is due first and then your physical damage benefits, from either collision or comprehensive (depending upon how the damage to your car was sustained), will kick in.

If the cost to fix your vehicle is $1,900, then after your $1,000 deductible is paid to the repair shop, your insurance company should pay the remaining amount, which appears to be $900.

If once the mechanics start to work on your vehicle they find that there is more damage to repair, and the cost to repair it is more than the estimated $1,900, you will still only owe your $1,000 deductible.  Your auto insurance company is responsible for the repair costs above your deductible amount, no matter if the repair costs go over the first estimate.

If it turns out your vehicle is unsafe to repair or that the repair costs start to reach an amount that is the same as the value of your vehicle, it will be totaled out by your car insurance company.

In a total loss situation, your deductible amount still comes into play, but now it is taken out of the settlement your car insurance company will pay you for the actual cash value (ACV) of your vehicle.

For instance, say your vehicle has an ACV of $3,000, and it's going to cost nearly that for the repairs, instead of the estimated $1,900. Your insurer will now total out the vehicle and take your $1,000 deductible amount out of the settlement amount, so you'd now receive a $2,000 settlement for your vehicle.

If your car has been damaged and is currently at the repair shop, you should discuss with them when your deductible will be due.

Many mechanics will collect your deductible from you when the repair is done and you come to pick up your vehicle. Other repair shops will require your deductible amount be paid before they will begin work on your vehicle. (See "What if I can't pay my deductible?")

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