Car insurance is an essential part of driving, providing financial protection in the case of a car accident or other incident. While collision car insurance policies cover a range of potential driving accidents, comprehensive car insurance offers additional coverage that protects you against a variety of other risks.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, 79 percent of insured drivers purchase comprehensive coverage in addition to liability insurance, and 75 percent buy collision coverage.

Usually, comprehensive car insurance comes with a comprehensive deductible, which is the amount you will have to pay before your comprehensive car insurance kicks in. Depending on your comprehensive deductible and comprehensive coverage limits, rates can vary significantly from one individual to another.

However, taking the time to consider comprehensive car insurance options and compare rates can help you find a policy that is right for your needs and budget.

So, whether you drive an old clunker or a brand-new sports car, it's wise to purchase comprehensive coverage to protect yourself, your passengers, and your vehicle from all sorts of possible hazards on the road: Theft, vehicle/animal collisions, glass damage, damage from falling objects, vandalism, fire, floodwaters, and other severe weather damage.

Key Highlights
  • The comprehensive deductible car insurance is the amount you pay toward repairs from covered perils before your insurance policy kicks in.
  • Depending on your state’s laws and insurance company guidelines, the comprehensive deductibles vary between $250 and $1,000.
  • The comprehensive deductible is paid per incident, so you will pay for the deductible every time you file a claim for your comprehensive coverage, excepting the states with laws that waive deductibles for windshield claims.

How to choose your comprehensive deductible?

When it comes to choosing the deductible for your car insurance, you'll want to strike a balance between paying too much out of pocket if something happens and not paying more than you can afford in premiums every month.

There are a few things to consider when choosing your deductibles, such as your budget, the value of your vehicle, how much you have in savings that you could put toward auto repairs and the likelihood that you'll need to make a claim.

Tip iconExample

If you have an older vehicle with relatively low value, you may want to opt for a high deductible in order to keep your premiums lower.

Alternatively, if you live in an area where car accidents, animal-vehicle collisions and natural disasters are common, you may want to choose a lower deductible in order to minimize out-of-pocket costs.

When deciding on your comprehensive deductible, it's important to keep all of these factors in mind and tailor your deductible amount to suit your individual needs and budget. With some careful planning and consideration, you can find the optimal car insurance deductible for you and your family.

How do auto insurance deductibles work?

A car insurance deductible is the amount you pay toward repairs before your insurer starts to pay in the event of an auto accident. Deductibles are the means through which the risk is shared between you, the policyholder, and your insurer.

In general, the higher the deductible, the lower your premium costs for an insurance plan. You can see how much you can save by increasing your deductible – but our recommendation is to purchase as much insurance as you can afford.

Car insurance deductibles are normally paid per incident, so you will have to pay your deductible amount out every time you make a comprehensive claim. The exception is if you live in a state where laws require the deductible to be waived for windshield claims.

The higher the deductible, the lower your premiums will be.

Tip iconExample 1

Increasing your deductible from $200 to $500 can reduce comprehensive insurance costs by 15% to 30%, while a jump to a $1,000 deductible can save you 40% or more, according to the Insurance Information Institute.

Tip iconExample 2

If you set your comprehensive deductible at $1,000 and your car sustains damages totaling $1,800, you will pay $1,000 and your insurance company will pay $800.

The downside to high comprehensive deductibles is that this amount will be subtracted from your insurance claim and you will be responsible for the rest of the repairs.

What is a comprehensive deductible?

A comprehensive deductible is the sum of money that you are responsible for paying toward an insured loss. The amount of the deductible is subtracted from your claim payment in the event of a covered accident.

Typically, comprehensive deductibles range from $100 to $2,500, as car insurance deductible choices vary depending on your state laws and insurance company guidelines.

Deductibles tend to be between $250 and $1,000.

Usually, the deductible is paid per incident, which implies you will pay for every comprehensive auto insurance claim you make.

Why you may not want a high comprehensive deductible?

Here are a few reasons why you should avoid having a high comprehensive insurance deductible:

  • A high deductible can mean that you have to pay more out of pocket in the event of an accident or other covered loss. This can be especially problematic if you don't have a lot of savings or emergency funds to cover these expenses.
  • Increased auto insurance deductibles can also make it more difficult to get the coverage you need because insurance companies often limit the amount of coverage they're willing to provide for high-deductible plans. As a result, you may not be able to get the full amount of coverage you need if you have a high deductible.
  • Having a higher deductible makes it more difficult to qualify for certain discounts. For example, many insurance companies offer discounts for low-mileage drivers. However, if you have a high deductible, you may not be able to get these discounts.

How much comprehensive insurance should I have?

You cannot choose how much comprehensive insurance to buy. The most your insurance will payout is the car’s actual cash value – what the car was worth on the market before the damage occurred – minus your chosen deductible amount.

You can negotiate the actual cash value of your car in the event of a total loss by providing different examples of similar cars. Settlements should include taxes and fees you paid at purchase.

Comprehensive insurance claims and your rates

Most states' insurance regulations require that comprehensive claims be covered by the policy. The rate increase is generally modest because comprehensive claims are not linked to the policyholder's driving.

Unlike liability or collision claims for accidents, comprehensive claims typically won’t increase your rates. The exception may be if you file multiple claims in a very short period of time. In order to recoup the expense of a claim, insurance companies frequently boost rates after comprehensive claims have been filed.

Car Insurance deductible - Frequently Ask Questions:

If your policy states a $100 deductible and informs you that you have an insured loss worth $10,000, then you will receive a claim check of $9,900. Whereas if your policy states a $500 deductible, for the same loss, then you will receive a claim check of $9,500.

The most common average deductible for car insurance is $500, followed by $1,000. But drivers can choose the deductible from the range of $100 to $2,500.

You “pay” a deductible when your car is damaged in an accident and needs repair. The process is initiated usually after an insurer has accepted the claim and issued a payment.

Ideally, when you file for a claim, the deductible amount automatically gets deducted from your claim once it is approved by the insurer. You don’t need to pay the money to the insurer or the person performing the repair.

Deductibles are chosen when you sign up for your auto insurance policy:

  • Comprehensive coverage pays for your car’s repair for the non-collision damages like theft, vandalism, flood, etc.
  • Collision coverage pays to repair your car after a collision accident no matter who is the driver at-fault or if you hit a fence, pole, etc.

The deductible is optional for the following types of auto insurance coverages:

Sources:

  1. Insurance Information Institute, “Facts & Statistics: Auto Insurance.” Accessed May 2022.
  2. Insurance Information Institute, “Understanding your insurance deductibles.” Accessed May 2022.
  3. Insurance Information Institute, “How much auto coverage do I need?” Accessed May 2022.