No, you do not have to pay a car insurance deductible when not at fault unless you file a claim with your own insurance. Usually, the at-fault driver's liability insurance will cover your expenses after an accident, but you may want to use your own coverage if fault is undetermined or the at-fault driver is uninsured.
It can sometimes take the insurance adjuster a long time to determine fault, which can affect when you receive compensation from the at-fault driver. In that case, you can file a claim with your collision insurance, personal injury protection, or MedPay coverage in order to pay for the cost of repairs or medical bills in the short term.
You will have to pay a deductible for collision coverage and personal injury protection, but your insurance company will eventually recoup your costs through subrogation with the at-fault driver’s insurer. However, if you are partially at-fault, then your expenses may be reimbursed in proportion to your fault or not reimbursed at all, depending on your state.
If the other driver is uninsured or doesn’t have enough coverage to pay for your expenses, you can file a claim with your uninsured/underinsured motorist insurance, if you have it. Uninsured/underinsured bodily injury coverage pays for your medical expenses and does not require a deductible. If your car is damaged, your uninsured/underinsured motorist property damage coverage will pay for repairs, and in some states you will have to pay a deductible.
To learn more, check out WalletHub’s guide to car insurance deductibles.
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