What if I can’t pay my car insurance deductible?

If you can’t pay your car insurance deductible all at once, you can work with your repair technician to pay in installments, or they might agree to waive it.

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UPDATED: Jun 2, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: Jun 2, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • Your insurance deductible like the Geico deductible payment plan is the amount of money you must pay before your insurance company takes over
  • There are limited scenarios where you can avoid paying your deductible
  • If you can’t afford your deductible, you can sometimes have it waived, or you will have to apply for a loan

If you can’t pay your car insurance deductible, you could be in trouble.

Every driver on the road has thought about ways to reduce their car insurance deductible. It’s why a lot of people ask themselves, “How can I get out of paying my deductible?” or, “Can you make payments on a car deductible?” These are common questions in the driving community, especially with high deductible amounts.

These drivers are often in a position where they can’t afford the car insurance deductible, and they are forced to think, “What if I can’t afford car insurance?” altogether.

Many insurance companies will not pay for repairs on a vehicle after an accident until after you pay the mechanic the initial deductible amount. This is one reason why many drivers who wonder, “when do you pay the deductible for car insurance?” can find themselves confused.

You should know the terms of your policy before you sign on the bottom line. And you should also explore how to get the deductible waived if you weren’t at fault for the accident.

If you ever felt like you can’t afford the deductible on your car insurance, enter your ZIP code above to compare car insurance rates as a productive first step.

What is an insurance deductible?

One of the age-old questions in the insurance business is, “Do I pay my deductible before or after my car is fixed?”

Drivers want to know how much their vehicle is going to cost them.

A general rule of thumb to abide by is that the higher your deductible is, the less expensive your car insurance is going to be.

However, that means that the higher the deductible, the more you will have to pay out-of-pocket if you have an accident.

For many people, even a $500 deductible is too much to pay, which is why these folks explore the differences of car insurance deductible vs. out of pocket expenses.

The option is to reduce the deductible, which may equate to a monthly premium that is too high as well.

It seems like a Catch-22, but the good news is there may be a way to still keep your higher deductible but work out the payment due to the mechanic fixing your car.

Savvy car insurance shoppers who explore options like the Progressive deductible payment plan or the State Farm deductible payment plan have found ways to save money without having to increase their deductible.

However, by increasing the amount of your deductible, you can end up saving a lot of money in the end.

Take a look at the following table to see the average amount of savings you can get from changing the amount of your deductible.

Increased Deductibles & Average Savings

Deductible ChangeSavings Percentage
$250 to $5007%
$500 to $1,0009%
$500 to $2,00016%
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By increasing your deductible from $500 to $2,000, American drivers see average savings of 16 percent. This is true if you take your car to the local mechanic or you end up exploring a different route such as seeing how much a Service King deductible will cost.

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How can I get out of paying my auto insurance deductible?

Well, the truth is that you aren’t likely to be able to avoid paying the deductible, although you can try.

A lot of drivers who wonder, “Who pays the deductible in a car accident?” often ask themselves this because they believe they are not at fault.

Instead of communicating with the insurance company, you are going to have to talk to the service technician in charge of fixing your vehicle.

First of all, you can ask the mechanic to bill the insurance company, minus the deductible, and allow you to make payments to them for the balance of the bill.

The downside to doing this is that the mechanic may agree under the condition that they can keep your vehicle until they receive the final installment. Keeping a vehicle is legal and allows a repair shop to make sure they recoup their repair costs.

If you can’t work until your vehicle is back in your possession, you could face a dilemma.

The other option is that you can ask the mechanic to bill the insurance company, minus the deductible, and then ask them to waive the deductible completely.

Although this is a less likely scenario in terms of the mechanic saying yes, it doesn’t hurt to ask. And you can include the question, “What if the damage is less than the deductible?” when speaking with your service technician.

If your bill was a large one, the mechanic may consider waiving the $500 because they made so much off the cost of repairs in the first place. However, each shop is going to have different answers for their customers, so always ask first rather than assuming.

Is it illegal to ask the mechanic to waive the deductible?

How to get deductible waived? It is not illegal to ask the mechanic to waive deductible auto insurance. However, it is illegal for the mechanic to overcharge the insurance company in an effort to recoup the cost of waiving the deductible.

Another thing that would be illegal would be to ask the mechanic to use after-market parts and charge the insurance company for company direct parts so that you won’t have to pay the deductible.

Providing false information or asking a company to do it for you is considered car insurance fraud, and you could actually go to jail for such actions.

You could lose a lot more than just your car if you try to defraud the insurance company.

What happens if you can’t pay your deductible?

Many insurance companies do require you to pay before they pay but not all.

If you have an insurance company that has this requirement, and you don’t have the money to pay it, your options are limited.

One thing that you can do is consider a loan. If you are in this situation, a payday loan may be an acceptable alternative.

While the interest rates on such a loan are high, they don’t require a credit check and you can get the money in 24 hours.

The bottom line is that you are going to have to figure out how to pay your deductible or deal with a broken down car. If your current insurance company isn’t fitting the bill, you can always look elsewhere and comparison shop, which is a popular way to try and find the best price on the market.

If you feel like you can’t afford your car insurance deductible, enter your ZIP code into the FREE tool below to get instant rates from top companies.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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