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Comprehensive coverage protects your vehicle from damage caused by events other than collisions, such as theft, vandalism, fire, hail, flooding, hitting animals, and more. With comprehensive coverage, you must pay a deductible - a set amount out of pocket - before your insurance provider covers any repairs or replacements.

Deductibles typically range from $100 to $1000 for comprehensive coverage. The amount you choose impacts your premiums and out-of-pocket costs if you need to file a claim. Factors like your budget and risk tolerance help determine the best deductible amount.

The deductibles you set in your policy will affect on your premiums

Types of insurance deductibles

There are several common types of deductibles that may apply depending on your auto insurance policy:

  • Collision deductible - This covers repairs to your vehicle from a collision with another car, object, animal, etc. Collision deductibles typically range from $250 to $1000.

  • Comprehensive deductible - This covers non-collision damage from events like theft, vandalism, hail, flooding, etc. Comprehensive deductibles often range from $100 to $500.

  • Liability coverage deductible - Liability insurance pays for damage/injuries you cause to others. It typically does not have a deductible.

  • Personal injury protection (PIP) deductible - Also called no-fault coverage, PIP pays medical expenses for you and your passengers, regardless of fault. Some states require PIP coverage.

Factors that impact deductible amounts:

  • High vs low deductible - You can choose a higher deductible to lower your premium, or a lower deductible to reduce out-of-pocket costs when filing a claim.

  • State requirements - Some states mandate certain coverages and may have minimum deductible amounts.

  • Average deductible cost - According to insurance industry data, the average deductible is around $500-$1000.

Coverage Type Typical Deductible Range
Collision $250 - $1000
Comprehensive $100 - $500
Liability Usually $0
PIP Varies by state

When deductibles apply:

The deductible you choose for collision and comprehensive applies each time you file a claim related to that coverage.

PIP deductibles depend on your policy and state regulations. In some cases, PIP has no deductible or a very low one like $250.

Liability coverage deductibles are rare - liability insurance usually covers damages to others in full, up to the policy limits.

Changing deductibles:

You can often change your deductible when renewing your policy or if you have a major life event like marriage, divorce, new car, etc. Increasing your deductible at renewal can help lower your premium.

Factors that impact deductible amounts

Several important factors should be considered when choosing the right deductible amount for your situation:

Financial situation

  • Emergency savings - Having an emergency fund to cover an unexpected high deductible is wise. Otherwise choose a lower deductible within your means.

  • Budget - If money is tight, a higher deductible can help lower your premium, but make sure you can afford the out-of-pocket costs if you need repairs.

  • Risk tolerance - Your comfort with risk helps determine if you can handle a high deductible. Lower deductibles reduce financial exposure.

Claims history

  • Frequency of claims - Frequent claims mean you'll pay deductibles more often. A lower deductible may save you money long-term.

  • Likelihood of claims - If you have a long claim-free driving history, you may feel comfortable with a higher deductible.


  • Value - If your car has low value, collision/comprehensive coverage may not be worth it. Or choose a low deductible close to the value.

  • Age - An older car may warrant a higher deductible to save on premiums.

  • Loan - If financed, your lender may require you carry collision coverage and restrict the deductible amount.

High vs low deductible scenarios:

Situation Recommended Deductible
Limited emergency savings Lower
Frequent claims history Lower
Long claim-free history Higher
Newer vehicle Lower
High risk tolerance Higher
Tight budget Higher

State requirements

Some states have minimum deductible amounts for required coverages like PIP or collision coverage. Be sure to follow any regulations in your state.

Average deductible amounts

According to insurance industry data, the average deductible ranges from $500-$1000 for comprehensive and collision coverage. Liability coverage generally has no deductible. PIP deductible amounts vary more widely.

How deductibles impact insurance premiums

The deductible amount you choose directly impacts how much you pay for auto insurance premiums. Understanding this relationship can help you choose the optimal deductible to balance premium costs and financial risk.

Higher deductibles, lower premiums

  • Selecting a higher deductible amount results in a lower insurance premium.
  • For example, increasing your deductible from $500 to $1000 could reduce your premium by 10-20% or more.
  • Drivers who choose a high deductible and don't file claims can see significant savings over time.
  • This works well if you have the funds to cover a large deductible in the event of a claim.

Lower deductibles, higher premiums

  • Choosing a lower deductible amount will increase your overall premium.
  • Decreasing your deductible from $1000 down to $500 could increase your premium by 10% or more.
  • This can provide greater financial protection and peace of mind if you need to file claims frequently.
  • Drivers who file claims often may save money long term with a lower deductible.

Other factors impacting premiums

While deductible amount has a major impact, other factors determine your final premium:

  • Driving record
  • Type of vehicle
  • Level of coverage
  • Credit score
  • Location
  • Age
  • Gender

Example of deductible impact on premiums

Deductible Annual Premium
$500 $1,800
$1,000 $1,600
$2,500 $1,400

*Based on sample policy for 40-year-old driver with clean record and full coverage 100/300/100 in Chicago, IL. Premiums vary based on individual factors.

Tips for balancing premium and deductible

  • If budget is tight, consider a higher deductible to reduce premium
  • Maintain emergency savings to cover larger deductible amounts
  • Re-evaluate deductible amount at each renewal to optimize for your situation
  • Adjust deductible when you have a major life event
  • Compare quotes with different deductibles before choosing

When comprehensive coverage deductibles apply

Comprehensive coverage protects against non-collision damage to your vehicle. The comprehensive deductible applies any time you file a claim for an incident covered under this policy:

  • Theft or vandalism - Comprehensive coverage pays if your car is stolen or damaged due to vandalism. You must pay the deductible first.

  • Damage from natural disasters - This includes hail damage, flood damage, falling objects like tree branches, damage from lightning strikes, and more.

  • Hitting an animal - Damage from collisions with animals like deer, birds, raccoons, etc. is covered under comprehensive.

  • Broken or cracked windshield - Comprehensive insurance can pay for windshield repair or replacement minus your deductible.

  • Fire - Damage from vehicle fires not caused by a collision is covered. This includes electrical fires, fuel-line fires, etc.

  • Key replacement - If your keys are lost or stolen, comprehensive may reimburse you for replacement minus the deductible.

When comprehensive deductible is waived

In some cases, you may not need to pay a deductible for comprehensive claims:

  • Windshield repair - Minor chips or cracks can often be repaired without a deductible.

  • Loan/lease coverage requirements - Your lender may require you carry comprehensive coverage with low or no deductible.

  • Multiple vehicles on policy - Insurers sometimes waive deductibles if you have several vehicles insured.

  • Claim forgiveness - For long-time customers, an insurer may waive the deductible as a courtesy.

What's not covered

Comprehensive coverage does not apply to damage caused by a collision. For collision damage, you would pay the collision deductible amount rather than the comprehensive deductible.

Examples of comprehensive claims

Loss Repair Cost $500 Deductible Payment
Hail damage $2,000 $500 $1,500
Windshield replacement $1,200 $500 $700
Stolen stereo $800 $500 $300
Deer collision $5,000 $500 $4,500

*Payment = Total repair cost - deductible

Filing a comprehensive claim

To make a comprehensive claim:

  1. Document damage with photos/video
  2. Call your insurance provider to start the claims process
  3. Pay your deductible amount
  4. Schedule repairs at an approved shop
  5. Insurer pays the shop directly or reimburses you minus the deductible

Steps for filing an insurance claim

If your vehicle suffers damage from a collision, natural disaster, theft, or other incident, you'll need to file an insurance claim to get repairs covered. Here are the key steps:

1. Document the damage

  • Take photos and video of the damage to your car and the scene.
  • Obtain a police report if applicable.
  • Gather contact info for other parties involved.
  • Save receipts for expenses related to the incident like towing or rental car.

2. Contact your insurance provider

  • Call your insurance company or agent to start the claims process.
  • Provide details about what happened and the type/extent of damage.
  • Your insurer will explain the process and may send out an adjuster immediately.

3. Pay deductible amount

  • Your insurer will tell you the deductible amount you need to pay based on your coverage.
  • Deductibles are typically $500-$1000 for collision/comprehensive claims.
  • You pay this directly to the auto repair shop.

4. Get repair estimate

  • Work with the claims adjuster to determine repair costs.
  • Adjuster will assess damage and approve an estimate from body shop.
  • If you disagree with estimate, you can negotiate or get another estimate.

5. Schedule repairs

  • Take your vehicle to an approved repair shop.
  • Review estimate with shop to verify covered repairs.
  • Pay deductible when dropping off vehicle.

6. Receive claim payment

  • Once repairs are complete, the shop will bill the insurance company.
  • Insurer will pay the shop directly or reimburse you the approved amount minus the deductible.
  • Review payout and follow up with adjuster if you disagree.

Tips for smooth claim process

  • Respond promptly to all requests from your adjuster.
  • Be cooperative in providing documentation and arranging inspections.
  • Keep notes and take names/contact info for everyone you deal with.
  • Follow up on the claim status frequently.
  • Understand your policy limits, coverages, and deductible obligations.

Tips for choosing a deductible

Choosing the right deductible involves carefully weighing factors like your budget, risk tolerance, and claims history. Here are some tips to help select the best deductible for your situation:

Consider your emergency savings

  • If you lack funds to cover high repair bills, a lower deductible may be safest.
  • Make sure you have at least 3-6 months of savings to tap for a higher deductible if needed.

Evaluate your budget

  • Higher deductibles equal lower premiums - pick the highest deductible you can afford.
  • Limit your deductible based on the extra premium amount your budget allows.

Assess your risk tolerance

  • How comfortable are you with the uncertainty of potential out-of-pocket costs?
  • Lower deductibles provide greater certainty and protection.
  • Higher deductible equals greater financial risk.

Look at your claims history

  • If you've had past claims, a lower deductible can minimize future expenses.
  • For drivers with no recent claims, high deductibles pose little added risk.

Consider your vehicle's value

  • If your car has low value, a high deductible close to the value may suffice.
  • For a newer, expensive vehicle, a lower deductible provides greater coverage.

Check state minimum requirements

  • Some states establish a legal minimum deductible for certain coverages.
  • Make sure to meet your state's regulations as you choose a deductible.

Ask about discounts

  • Some insurers reduce deductibles over time for accident-free policyholders.
  • Taking safety courses may also lower your deductible.

Reevaluate at renewal

  • Deductible needs can change over time - reassess annually at renewal.
  • Life events like marriage or a new car may call for deductible adjustments.

Comparison shop quotes

  • Get quotes with different deductibles from multiple insurers.
  • Make cost comparisons before selecting the optimal deductible.

Pros and cons of high vs low deductibles

When choosing a deductible, it helps to weigh the potential advantages and disadvantages of both high and low deductible options.

Pros of a high deductible

  • Results in lower insurance premiums, providing savings over time
  • Ideal if you have significant emergency funds available
  • Allows you to save on premiums if you are a low-risk driver who doesn't file frequent claims
  • Can motivate you to drive more carefully to avoid claims and paying the high deductible

Cons of a high deductible

  • You pay much more out-of-pocket if you do need to file a claim
  • Could create a financial hardship if you lack sufficient savings
  • Heightens the risk of paying for minor repairs yourself rather than filing small claims
  • May not be permitted if you have an auto loan or lease

Pros of a low deductible

  • Minimizes financial risk and gives greater peace of mind
  • Makes the claims process easier and more affordable if you do have an accident
  • Provides protection for frequent drivers and those in high-risk areas
  • Allows you to file claims for minor damages without a huge out-of-pocket cost

Cons of a low deductible

  • Comes with higher insurance premiums, costing more over the long run
  • Increases temptation to file small claims, leading to potential premium hikes
  • Provides less incentive to drive cautiously to avoid accidents
  • Can be harder to fit into your monthly budget if money is tight

Balancing the tradeoffs

There is no one-size-fits-all answer - you'll need to balance the pros, cons and your specific situation/risk tolerance. Some strategies include:

  • Start with a low deductible when you first get insurance, then increase it over time as you build savings and driving history.

  • If budget is tight, prioritize a higher deductible to reduce the premium but set aside money monthly to build an emergency fund.

  • Reevaluate your deductible at each renewal as your life circumstances and risk factors evolve.

  • For a newer vehicle, gravitate toward lower deductibles, while older vehicles may warrant higher ones.

How deductibles work with PIP coverage

Personal injury protection (PIP) is a type of car insurance that covers medical expenses for you and your passengers after an accident, regardless of fault. Here's an overview of how deductibles work with PIP coverage:

PIP deductible basics

  • PIP may have a deductible separate from your collision/comprehensive deductibles.

  • PIP deductibles often range from $0 to $2,000, depending on your state and policy.

  • The deductible applies to medical expenses only, not property damage.

When PIP deductible applies

  • The PIP deductible is paid when you receive medical treatment after an accident.

  • It applies whether you were at fault or not since PIP is no-fault coverage.

  • PIP will begin covering treatment costs after you pay the deductible.

PIP deductible by state

  • States have different rules regarding PIP coverage and deductibles:

  • Florida - $10,000 max PIP benefits, $2,500 max deductible

  • New York - $50,000 max benefits, $200-$2,000 deductible

  • Texas - No PIP required, optional with varied deductibles

Sample PIP claim

  • Driver has $10,000 PIP limit, $1000 deductible
  • Car accident injury results in $5000 medical bills
  • Driver pays $1000 deductible
  • PIP insurance pays remaining $4000

Strategies for PIP deductible

  • If your state requires PIP, make sure you know the minimum deductible.

  • Choose highest PIP deductible you're comfortable with to lower premiums.

  • Maintain sufficient savings to cover the PIP deductible if needed.

  • Stack PIP with your health insurance to minimize out-of-pocket costs.

  • If PIP is optional in your state, weigh the pros and cons before adding it.

PIP deductible vs health insurance

  • Health insurance also has deductibles, typically $1000 - $2000.

  • Health deductibles apply to all medical bills, not just accident injuries.

  • PIP deductible applies only to auto accident injuries for those in the vehicle.

  • Unlike health insurance, PIP deductibles stay the same and don't reset annually.

  • PIP can help cover deductibles and copays that health insurance doesn't cover fully.


Choosing the right auto insurance deductible involves weighing many factors like budget, risk tolerance, and claims history. Finding the optimal balance can save you money while also providing adequate protection.

Key points to remember:

  • Higher deductibles lower your premiums but mean larger out-of-pocket costs when filing claims.

  • Evaluate your emergency savings and risk comfort level as you choose.

  • Frequent claims may warrant a lower deductible to limit expenses despite the higher premium.

  • Meet any state minimum requirements for deductibles.

  • Compare quotes with different deductible options.

  • Reassess your deductible regularly at renewal as your needs evolve.

With the right deductible choice, you can maximize savings while feeling confident you have coverage to handle life's unexpected events. Careful selection provides long-term benefits.

Other readers were also interested in the following posts:

Understanding Comprehensive Coverage Car Insurance Limits

Is a Comprehensive Car Warranty Worth It?

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