If you get into an accident and need to make a claim on your auto insurance, the deductible is the amount of money you pay out-of-pocket before your insurance company picks up the rest.
The cost of an insurance deductible will vary from policy-to-policy, but generally, the higher your deductible, the lower your premium, and vice-versa. This can present a problem for some consumers because it can be enticing to opt for a higher deductible and lower premium because the premium has to be paid no matter what, but the deductible only has to be paid if you file a claim.
This line of thinking can work for some folks, but the unfortunate few for whom it doesn’t will be left with a deductible they’re unable to pay.
In order to complete your auto insurance claim, you must be able to pay your deductible. Most auto insurance companies will not pay out on a claim before the deductible has been paid. If you can’t pay your deductible in the moment, and your vehicle is unsafe to drive until it’s repaired, there are a few things you can do.
First, ask your insurance company if an upfront deductible is mandatory. Some companies will simply subtract the deductible from the claim, and pay you the remaining amount. It may not be enough to repair your vehicle, but it will buy you some time.
If your insurance company does require an upfront deductible, you can try arranging a deal with the mechanic in charge of repairing your vehicle. Auto mechanics work with insurance companies all the time, and are well-acquainted with the ins-and-outs of deductibles.
Often, they’ll be willing to let you pay the deductible in smaller, more manageable payments. If you make a deal with your mechanic, remember to stay true to it. Mechanics are legally entitled to keep your vehicle until the deductible is paid off.