How to Choose a Deductible for Your Auto Insurance
Not all auto insurance policies are alike. In fact, one of the most important decisions you will make before committing to an auto insurance policy is choosing your deductible. When you have an auto accident, your deductible would be the amount of money that you would pay out of pocket before your insurance policy kicks in.
Here’s an example of how your deductible would work pertaining to your auto insurance. You’re involved in an accident. You then go to your favorite collision repair shop to get an estimate of what the cost would be to repair your vehicle and restore it back to its original state. The people at the repair shop tell you it’s going to cost $3,500 to repair it. Now, let’s say that you have a deductible of $500. Before any repairs will be made by the repair shop, you would be responsible for paying the first $500 of the full cost of repairs. Your insurance policy would then cover the rest. It’s important to note that your deductible only applies to repairs made to your own vehicle.
It is not uncommon for people to typically choose a deductible between $100 and $1,000. Depending on the state, deductibles could range from as low as $100 to as high as $10,000. Our agents can break down your options in simple terms so you can choose deductible that fits your budget.
Some insurance carriers offer something called a diminishing deductible. Erie Insurance is one of those companies. This is a great endorsement that can be added to your policy. For every year of safe driving, your deductible could be lowered by as much as $100 per year of driving without filing a claim on your auto insurance policy. If you keep a consistent track record of no accidents, your deductible to be diminished to nothing. That’s right! Zero!
Whenever you’re involved in an accident, it’s important to remember to get the other party’s insurance information. If you are deemed not responsible for the damage to the vehicles involved, you should file the claim through the other party’s insurance company. And, you will not be responsible for paying your deductible under your own auto policy.
The more money you commit to pay upfront (your deductible), the less your auto insurance premium typically is. If you’re not sure which deductible to choose, don’t worry. One of our agents can guide you through the process.
Before choosing a deductible, you should consider the following:
- Your budget – What amount am I comfortable paying out of my own pocket if I have an at-fault accident?
- Your comfort with risk management – Because I have an excellent driving history, am I comfortable choosing a higher deductible for my auto policy vs. choosing a lower deductible and having to pay a higher premium?
- Drive time: Do you drive a lot? How much time do you typically spend behind the wheel? Do you normally have long commutes? What kinds of areas are you driving in? If you constantly drive in higher-risk, you may have a greater risk of accidents.
- Your Vehicle’s Value: Someone who drives a brand new luxury sedan is going to pay more for their insurance than someone who drives a vehicle that is ten years old. The more expensive the car, the more it costs to insure.
Life is unpredictable. It’s important to be prepared for the unexpected. One way to make sure you’re ready if a problem strikes is to have money set aside for emergencies. That way, you won’t panic or have to scramble for cash.