If you can’t pay your car insurance deductible, you won’t be able to file a car insurance claim to have vehicle damage or medical bills paid for by your insurance company. Instead, you will need to set up a payment plan with a mechanic, take out a loan, or save up until you can afford the deductible. On the other hand, in the case of an accident that you did not cause, you can immediately file your claim with the at-fault driver’s liability insurance to avoid paying a deductible altogether.
If you need to wait to file a claim, you’ll have anywhere from 30 days to a few years, depending on your state and insurance company. Once you file a claim with your own insurer, there is almost no way to avoid paying your deductible. Even if the insurer doesn’t require you to pay the deductible upfront, they will subtract the amount from their final payment, leaving you responsible for any remaining balance.
Your best option is to negotiate a payment plan with the mechanic before they start repairs. This is key because mechanics might not repair your car until they get paid, or they might keep the repaired vehicle until your debt is settled.
It’s rare for mechanics to waive the remaining balance – your deductible – altogether, even if they’re already making a large profit. It’s also considered insurance fraud if a mechanic overcharges your insurance company to compensate for a waived deductible.
Since your options are limited when you can’t pay your car insurance deductible, it’s important to pick a deductible that you can afford when buying a policy. To learn more, check out WalletHub’s guide to car insurance deductibles.
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