Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate drivers about...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Licensed Agent for 10 Years

UPDATED: Aug 14, 2019

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When you buy auto insurance, you are making a few assumptions. One assumption is that the company will pay for your vehicle’s damages if you purchase collision insurance.

However, most auto insurance companies also tack on a deductible, normally in the amount of around $500, to your collision insurance. This deductible is your responsibility if you cause an accident.

However, what happens when someone else hits your car? Do you have to pay the deductible, even if the accident is not your fault?

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Maybe. Maybe Not.

The answer to this question is a solid “maybe.” You may be obligated to pay an auto insurance deductible, even in a situation where you were not at fault or the driver at-fault does not have auto insurance.

Because of this, many auto insurance companies offer (and some states require) a “waiver of collision deductible” clause to be attached to your policy.

The purpose of having a waiver of the deductible on your collision insurance is to ensure that you are not charged the $500, or $1000 if you set your deductible that high, which would normally be your responsibility if someone else causes the accident.

A waiver of the deductible clause means that your insurance company will waive the deductible if another identified driver caused the accident, whether or not that person has auto insurance.

If the person does have insurance, your auto insurance company may require that company to pay your deductible in a procedure known as “subrogation.”

Either way, you will not be required to pay the deductible costs and can immediately file your collision claim and have your car repaired.

What if I have Uninsured Motorist Coverage?

This may be confusing if you have uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage is designed, however, to pay primarily for your bodily injuries if you are injured in an accident with an uninsured driver.

Some companies offer uninsured motorist property damage coverage, but most damage to vehicles is covered by collision, so this is a useful clause to have in your policy, even though it often costs a bit more to have this type of protection.

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When can I take advantage of an Auto Insurance Deductible Waiver?

In order to take advantage of a deductible waiver, several circumstances must occur. In some states, these waivers are required; in others, they are not allowed. Talk to your agent or examine your policy to determine if you have, or can get this coverage.

If it is allowed in your state, and you are involved in an accident, be sure to get a police report and turn it into your insurance company. This will help the adjustor make the determination that the accident was not your fault and that the other driver had indeed allowed his or her coverage to lapse.

You will probably also be required by your company to pursue any avenues available to collect from the other driver.

While you will probably not have to file a lawsuit yourself, as your insurer will take care of this aspect of the claim, you may be required to testify in court or to sign an affidavit as to the circumstances of the accident.

This is not always a requirement, especially if a police report is on file, so it is important not to just “walk away” from an accident; always get a police report, even if you do not think any damage has been done, or are not planning to file a claim.

There have been cases in which another driver has struck a car, then later tried to file a claim or a lawsuit against the victim. To avoid scams and problems, a police report is always a good idea.

Depending on the state, you may also be able to use your collision deductible waiver to cover a hit-and-run accident. Although this is not the case in all states, in states where it is applicable it can save you a good bit of money, as many insurers charge your deductible collision against you in a hit-and-run accident.

How exactly does my Auto Insurance deductible work?

In order to fully understand how your collision deductible waiver works, talk to your automobile insurance agent. Be sure to ask about your state’s rules regarding deductible waivers in the circumstances of uninsured motorists and hit-and-run accidents.

Also, be sure to inquire how much your collision deductible waiver will be.

In most cases, the added cost is nominal; however, depending on how much your deductible was to begin with, you may find that it costs a bit more in some cases than others.

If you are shopping for auto insurance, be sure to inquire with your proposed companies about the collision deductible waiver rules for your state, and what that company offers in terms of deductible flexibility and waiver policies.

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  2. Do I have to report a car accident to my insurance company?
  3. How do auto insurance companies use a police report?
  4. How to File a Car Insurance Claim
  5. How does auto insurance work?