Do You Have to Pay the Deductible if You're Not at Fault for a Collision?

By Lesley Green
The back view of a silver car in a parking lot with considerable damage to the rear lights and trunk.

Your policy’s collision coverage comes with a deductible.

There are no two ways about it, being involved in an auto accident is harrowing, even a minor collision. When accidents happen, and it is someone else’s fault, it doesn’t seem fair that you’ll be on the hook to pay the deductible to repair the damages caused to your vehicle. The reality is it’s not fair, and your insurance company knows it.

That’s why if someone else is wholly responsible for the collision, in certain provinces, you generally won’t have to fork over any money to cover the cost of your policy’s collision deductible. Why only certain provinces? Not all provinces have what’s called Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD). This insurance coverage pays for the cost of repairs for a faultless driver, not your collision coverage. Ontario drivers, for example, have this coverage while Alberta drivers do not.

In provinces where DCPD isn’t available or required, drivers should expect to pay their collision deductible no matter who is at fault for the collision. There may be avenues you can take to have your deductible waived or reimbursed, but there is no guarantee.

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How do collision deductibles work in provinces with DCPD?

First, let’s back up a bit and go over the basics of what a collision deductible is: A deductible is the portion of the cost of repairs you agree to cover. Your insurance company picks up the rest.

Your policy’s collision deductible is the amount you selected when you purchased your coverage, and you would have had several options to choose from to best suit your budget. Your deductible could be a few hundred dollars or a couple of thousand; it all depends on what you picked. If you’re uncertain what your collision deductible is, pull out your policy as it will be listed there.

When another driver is wholly at fault for the accident

When another driver causes a collision and is entirely to blame for the damages caused, you’re generally not on the hook to pay your collision deductible. The claim cost will go through your DCPD coverage, which typically has a $0 deductible.

The exception to this rule, however, is if a hit-and-run causes the damages. With a hit-and-run, the damages go through your collision coverage, and you typically have to pay the deductible. It’s an unfortunate reality but thankfully isn’t an all-too-common occurrence.

When you’re partially to blame for the accident

In some situations, fault for a collision is shared by the drivers involved. When fault is shared, and you’re partially to blame, you’ll typically have to pay a portion of your deductible. The portion you’ll pay usually mirrors the amount of fault assigned to you. For example, if you’re 50% at fault for the collision, then you’ll have to pay 50% of your collision deductible to get the damages repaired.

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