How to Find Your Car Insurance Deductible

You can find your car deductible on your proof of insurance card, declarations page, and policy documents, or by asking your insurer. Read on to learn more about what your deductible means and why it's important.

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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

UPDATED: Jun 27, 2022

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Here's what you need to know

  • Your car insurance deductible is listed on your proof of insurance card
  • In case of an accident, you pay the deductible first, and then your insurance company takes care of the rest
  • The higher the deductible, the lower your insurance rates and vice versa

A car deductible is an amount you pay from your pocket when filing a car insurance claim. It’s one of the most important numbers to know about your insurance policy, so you should always know where to look to find it. Thankfully, your car insurance deductible is listed in several places. 

Read on to learn where to find your deductible amount and a few important things you should know about it.

How to Find Your Car Insurance Deductible

In most cases, you can find your deductible on the declarations page of the policy document. It states clearly any deductibles you are expected to pay for each component in your coverage. The declarations page also contains other important information about your coverage, including your rates, payment frequency, and details about what’s covered.

Another place to look for information on your auto insurance deductible is your proof of insurance card, which usually has a brief summary of your coverage. If you can’t find it on any of your documents, a quick call to your insurance company should help.

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Do I have an auto insurance deductible?

You probably have a deductible if you bought the following coverages:

  • Collision insurance coverage. This helps pay for repairs or replacements if your car gets damaged in an accident. The accident may involve another vehicle or objects such as fences, trees, etc.
  • Comprehensive car insurance. Also called “other than collision,” this coverage handles damages such as fire, falling objects, weather, vandalism, theft, etc.

Uninsured/underinsured and personal injury protection (PIP) plans may also have deductibles. However, liability coverage, which doesn’t pay for your car but takes care of the other person’s injury and vehicle repair costs, doesn’t include a deductible.

How do car insurance deductibles work?

Your car insurance deductible is applied to the total amount for each claim you make, and the insurance company takes care of the balance. You choose the deductible amount when you’re buying your policy.

Deductibles often range between $100 and $2,000, although most drivers prefer $500. Policies with high deductibles have lower rates, while those with low deductibles have higher rates.

Car Insurance Deductible Examples

Let’s say your deductible is $500, and you need to pay for $2,000 worth of damage from an accident covered in your plan. You’ll pay $500 to your mechanic, and your insurance company will pay $1,500. 

What if your deductible is higher than your insurance claim? For instance, if your deductible was $2,000, and you incurred costs worth $1,500, the entire amount would come out of your pocket. 

It’s also worth mentioning that you’re responsible for the deductible stated in your policy every time you file a claim, regardless of how many different claims you file.

Can you change your car insurance deductible?

It is possible to lower your car insurance deductible. Here are a few things to keep in mind when increasing or lowering your deductible:

  • Changes to your deductible won’t apply to an accident that has already occurred.
  • A high deductible corresponds to lower monthly rates, while a low deductible corresponds to higher rates.
  • You might get into trouble if you can’t pay your car insurance deductible after an accident.

Some situations may warrant a higher deductible, such as when you live in a relatively safe area that doesn’t get many vehicle accidents. The same applies when you don’t drive regularly, only drive for short distances, or simply have enough cash to handle a higher deductible in the event of an accident.

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Finding and Setting Your Car Deductible

Your deductible is a critical piece of your car insurance coverage, so you should always know what it is. Check your proof of insurance card, the declarations page, or the official policy document to find out what your car insurance deductible is. You can also call your insurer. 

If you want to change your deductible, remember to choose a deductible you can afford if there is an accident. You’ll need to balance that with the fact that a lower deductible means higher auto insurance rates.

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