What Is An Insurance Deductible?

Deductibles have always been an essential factor when it comes to insurance policies. What are they, and how do they work? Let us find out.

In the event that you are on the lookout for insurance, you may consider what a deductible is in health, auto, or homeowners’ protection strategies — and how it functions. Insurance deductibles are basic to property, loss, and medical coverage items. They are cash based costs that you should pay before your insurance coverage kicks in. Normally, the higher your strategy’s deductible, the lower the yearly or monthly premium installments. That is on the grounds that you are liable for additional expenses before inclusion begins. In this article, you will learn the basics of insurance deductibles, including what is an insurance deductible, how it works, and how much will it cost.

What is an insurance deductible?

Insurance deductibles are being included in insurance contracts for quite a long time. At the point when you enroll for an insurance plan, you consent to pay a specific sum before your inclusion kicks in. All in all, this is the measure of cash that you are liable for paying when looking for insurance inclusion for clinical care or other calamities, like a car crash. Typically, your deductible could be as a dollar sum, or it could be recorded as a percentage of the building or living insured worth, or as the absolute inclusion sum. This is more normal with inclusions like earth-quake insurance, windstorm and harm caused by hail storms, or on properties that may have higher dangers or non-traditional home insurance like empty homes.

At the point when you have a deductible, you need to concoct the measure of cash for your deductible before a claim gets paid in most situations. When you pay your deductible, the insurance organization will pay you the remainder of the claim esteem up to as far as the policy permits in terms of its conditions in the phrasing. After you pay the deductible sum, your insurer will start paying forward their part of the protected misfortune. The sum the insurance supplier pays now will fluctuate from one arrangement to another. For instance, on the off chance that you are robbed, and you have $6,000 worth of items taken, yet you have a $1,000 deductible, you will pay the first $1,000 of loss and the insurance organization will pay the rest of the $5,000.

How does an insurance deductible work?

You can consider deductibles as your portion of the arrangement with regard to insurance inclusion. Here is how it works: When you purchase insurance, you are ensuring yourself against unexpected monetary dangers that come as misfortunes or harms. By purchasing insurance, you are asking the insurance organization to ‘have your back’ on the off chance that you endure harms that could hurt you monetarily. The insurance organization would normally cover you in the event that you have a misfortune (guarantee), however they would require you to consent to pay the initial expense of it by paying a deductible?”

The purchaser can then pick a deductible amount they are comfortable with, for instance, $500 of any misfortune, on the off chance that the insurance agency pays the rest. When you pick your deductible or the segment of your risk you will assume yourself, they will disclose to you the amount they will charge you dependent on the amount of the risk you are taking on. The portion of the risk you are taking on is the deductible.

You may have one deductible for your home and contents, and an alternate deductible if the reason for misfortune is an earthquake. Insurance for earthquake, as a rule has higher deductible thresholds. Another illustration of various deductibles on one arrangement is a support or rider on your policy. The rider may have no deductible, despite the fact that the remainder of your policy does. One explanation behind why many individuals purchase a rider is to stay away from a deductible on certain high esteemed things.

What is a deductible in car insurance?

A car insurance deductible is the measure of cash you are needed to pay when you record a case for an insured loss. Basically, when you have a car crash and document a claim, the payment you would have to give for your claim, will be decreased by the measure of your deductible. Your vehicle insurance deductible is generally a set sum, say $500. On the off chance that the insurance agent decides that the sum of your claim is $6,000, and you have a $500 deductible, you will get a claim payment of $5,500. Be that as it may, in view of your deductible, only a few car accidents warrant a claim. On the off chance that you reverse into a tree bringing about a little dent in the bumper of your car, the expense to fix it may be $600. Since car insurance charges can increment in the event that you document a case, it is a smarter option to pay the whole measure of the harm using cash on hand — that is, the extra $100 notwithstanding your deductible of $500, to prevent your rates from increasing.

What is a deductible in homeowners insurance?

When it comes to a homeowner’s insurance, the deductible is the sum of money that you are obliged to pay before your insurance company will pay you for an insured misfortune. The second payment of the claim that you get from your insurance company is the amount of the complete damage or loss apart from your deductible. This implies that if your deductible is $1,000 and your home et $50,000 worth of insured damage, your insurance organization will pay you $49,000 after you pay your deductible. The sum you pay in homeowners insurance premiums — your monthly or yearly insurance installment — is directly related with how high or low your deductible limit is set. Therefore, when setting your deductible keep a few things in mind, such as the amount of insurance installments you can afford to pay, versus the amount you can afford to pay out-of-pocket given that a misfortune was to occur. If a deductible is high, it will give you a lower insurance premium, however, it could also prove to be a huge burden on your bank account when the time comes to file a claim.

What is a deductible in health insurance?

The sum of money that you pay out of your own pocket for clinical administrations is known as an insurance deductible. This deductible is covered by your insurance agreement before that plan starts to pay benefits for qualified costs. The kind of health insurance plan that you opt for and the coverage benefits are used to figure out the amount you would be required to pay for a health insurance deductible. A general rule of thumb is that the more premium you pay, it is more probable than the deductible you have to pay would be less. In the same way, if a deductible is high, the monthly premium would be low. The amount you continually pay to your health insurance agency, so that you are given the coverage you need, is your monthly premium.

Do you have to pay health insurance deductible upfront? Health plans typically have a deductible that the buyer needs to pay prior to when the insurance plan will begin to cover your eligible healthcare costs. For instance, in the event that the deductible on your health insurance is $2,000, you will be required to pay all the necessary medical costs till you meet that $2,000 deductible. This is when your insurance will begin to pay for the administrations you use (though these expenses might not cover the whole cost of care). The insurance agency would send the claim to your insurer. There, the network negotiated rate would be computed and the sum over that would be written off. After this, the insurer would pay their share of the costs, and would let the hospital know of your share of the bill. The bill for your deductible and any coinsurance that can be applied will then be sent to you by your hospital.

In case you have individual inclusion, you might have to pay one deductible for the required healthcare costs and another toward prescription medicines. However, on the off chance that you have family coverage, you would have to pay individual deductibles for every individual who is covered, along with a family deductible for the policy. Sometimes an insurance plan will pay for certain insured services, for example, preventive care, without necessitating  you to pay anything toward them to meet your deductible.

Types of deductibles in insurance

Types of deductibles in car insurance

Each different type of car insurance coverage, has a different deductible. It is important to note how much the car insurance deductible costs for each kind of coverage, so you will have an idea what you are expected to pay if a claim arises.


Liability coverage pays the costs of any individual who is harmed in an accident where you were to be blamed. However, it does not have a coverage.


If your car undergoes harm as a result of a crash with an object or some other vehicle, in such cases, comprehensive coverage will cover your costs. The expenses could be anything, ranging from damage repair caused by a hail storm, hitting a deer or supplanting a broken windshield. Comprehensive coverage also covers the costs needed to replace any item that has been robbed. This coverage has a lower deductible as compared to what it typically is for a car accident.


Collision coverage will cover the costs of any harm done to your car, when you are to be blamed. You could require this coverage in case your car comes into contact with another vehicle and is damaged or if it hits an object, for example, a wall or a tree. The deductible for collision coverage, is typically the highest you could have with your car insurance strategy. If the other vehicle is to be blamed in case of a crash with your car, then that individual’s insurance will pay for the costs cost of any harm that your car sustains. However, this can only be the case if that car owner is insured enough to cover the damage expenses brought upon your vehicle. If this is that case, you would not have to pay a collision deductible.

Personal Injury Protection (PIP) and Uninsured Motorist

Personal injury protection coverage covers the medical costs for the driver and all passengers in your car. On the other hand. uninsured motorist coverage covers your costs when you are in a car accident with a driver who is at fault, however, does not have insurance or is not adequately insured to manage taking care of your expenses. Every car insurance policy does not include deductibles for this kind of coverage.

Types of deductibles in homeowners insurance

When it comes to homeowners’ insurance strategies, there are two types of deductibles you will come across on the declarations page:

Standard deductible

This deductible is a standard, set dollar sum which you will pay out of your own pocket when registering a claim for an insured loss. On an average, a typical homeowner’s insurance policy deductible falls between $500 to $2,000, regardless of the fact that higher and lower deductible home insurance plans are also easily available. If you have a dollar amount deductible, it will usually function like this: if your deductible is $2,000, and you file a roof claim for a total of $7,500 in damages, you will first pay the $2,000 of the expenses for repair out of your own pocket and then your insurance agency will send you a check for the $5,500 that are left.

Percentage deductibles

When it comes to percentage deductibles, they are specific to windstorm, named storms, and claims that are related to hurricanes. You can figure out what these deductibles are based on the percentage (typically 1% to 10%) of the insured value of your home, or your complete dwelling coverage amount. Therefore, if your house is insured for $300,000 and your strategy comes with a 1% hurricane deductible, then $3,000 would be deducted from the payment of the claim. In case the harm done to your property is totaled at $20,000, your repayment after the deductible has been paid, would be $17,000.

Types of deductibles in health insurance

As far as health insurance policies are concerned, there are three types of deductibles. Each one is given in detail below so that you can comprehend and think of how that particular deductible will affect you on various coverages.

Comprehensive Deductible

This deductible is the simplest to understand. It can be applied across all the coverages and increments until you meet your deductible. If you have this deductible, you will not have to think of how there might be a different deductible for a different coverage and how would it be applied to the policy you have.

Non-Comprehensive Deductible

A non-comprehensive deductible is a very common in various different policies and also tends to have plenty of benefits. It can only be applied to particular coverages or clinical costs in a health insurance policy. For instance, some inclusions can come with a deductible, whereas others may not. Similarly, some clinical costs may necessitate that the deductible be paid prior to any advantages being paid. This fundamentally implies that a portion of your coverages will have a deductible, while the other portion will not have any.

Family Maximum Deductibles vs. Individual Deductibles

On the off chance that you happen to have a family health insurance plan through yourself or your spouse, then the phrase ‘cumulative deductible’ might be of importance to you. Deductibles can be labelled as individual and family, in insurance plans. As far as individual deductibles are concerned, they target  the sum towards a deductible that each person in the plan has paid. On the other hand, in case of family maximum deductible, as soon as the sum that all individuals in the plan have paid cumulatively (collectively) towards a deductible, meets the deductible, then it is considered that the plan had met the deductible. It is not necessary for every person in the plan to meet the deductible on their own first. This can can assist you in saving up some cash since contributions to the deductible by each member of the plan, are counted.

What is the point of an insurance deductible?

Deductibles aid in the cost sharing that insurance agencies have with policyholders when they make claims. However, there are two other important reasons as to why organizations use deductibles. These are moral hazards and financial stability.

Moral Hazards

Deductibles assist in decreasing the behavioral risk of moral hazards. Now you must be wondering what a moral hazard is? The risk that a policyholder may not act with good intention is a moral hazard. Policyholders are kept safe from any looming misfortunes through the help of insurance policies. Hence, the risk of there being an inherent moral danger, always exists. The individual who is insured, might take part in risky and dangerous actions without having to worry about bearing the monetary consequences. For instance, if a driver has car insurance, he might be inclined to over speed or leave the car unattended in a region where crime rates are high. This is because the individual is covered against damage and theft. However, if they have no deductible, they have no protection or ‘cheat codes for the game’. Such risks are lowered because of deductibles since the policyholder is liable for some expenses. The purpose of deductibles is to make sure that the interests of the insurer and the insured are in par, so that both sides can seek to lower the risk of cataclysmic misfortune.

Financial Stability

Deductibles are also used by insurance policies to make sure that there is a certain amount of financial stability on the part of the insurer. If an insurance policy is properly designed, it will provide safety against any catastrophic loss. A deductible acts as a pillow between any given minimal loss and an actually catastrophic misfortune. For instance, let us assume that a deductible was not available on an insurance policy. The expense of each small claim, despite the amount, would be the insurer’s obligation. This would result in a huge amount of claims and an increase the monetary expenses of the policy would be noticed. However, chances are that this could make it hard for the insurer to react properly to real and substantial catastrophic misfortunes from policyholders.

How much is the deductible?

The cost of insurance as well as deductibles, is different from state to state. Make sure that you question your agent about the laws pertaining to insurance in your own state, or get in touch with your state’s insurance commissioner to completely get a grasp of how the laws have an effect on the deductibles in your area. Your deductible should be mentioned on your insurance policy’s declaration page, as part of the terms and conditions of your agreement. Generally, the sum you have to pay for a deductible can change based on the type of insurance and the type of insurance coverage you want to purchase. If in case you do not have an idea of what your deductible is or where you can look for it, make sure to ask your insurance company agent. Keep in mind that there can be multiple deductibles for various situations, so make sure that you also ask about this.

Since you are the person who would be purchasing the insurance policy, you usually have the option to choose your own deductible. Keep in mind that deductibles and the cost of your insurance are not directly proportional. Therefore, if the former (deductible) is high, the latter (cost of insurance) will be low. There are various techniques you can apply if you want to use your deductible to save up some cash on your insurance. For instance, with homeowners or car insurance policies, it is usually possible to increase the sum of your deductible, so that the cost of your overall policy can be lowered. The higher the amount of danger you are ready to cover through the deductible, the less would be the risk for the insurance agency. Therefore, they lower your premium. This is a partnership where you and the insurance company mutually agree to split the expenses that may arise given the financial risks.

Although having a higher deductible means that you pay more of the claim, most individuals do not have claims every year. So, for each year when you do not file a claim and get a higher deductible, you are saving that money. However, the deductible on your insurance policy can be changed to adjust to your needs. You can change your high deductible to a lower one, if you feel like you cannot afford a high deductible the next year. However, keep in mind that in doing so, your premiums will also change. If the frequency of the claims you file is high, your premium could also be especially high.

Do you want a high or low deductible?

As mentioned above, higher deductible account for lower insurance premiums, whereas lower deductibles mean higher monthly premiums. When trying to find out which plan is the best one for you, you need to have a clear picture of what you want from health insurance. For people who would not require a lot of major clinical services in a year, lower monthly premiums with higher deductibles are ideal. In this manner, you will be able to save on expenses every month. Nevertheless, if need arises for you to go to the hospital or get a treatment, then the expenses of your clinical services could be greater than compared to an individual who has a plan with higher monthly premiums. Generally, this is usually the ideal option for a person who will probably not require enough health care to gain advantage from meeting the deductible and out-of-pocket limit earlier than expected.

On the other hand, for people who are constantly in need of clinical care, insurance policies that have high monthly premiums with lower deductibles are the most ideal option. Despite the fact that the monthly expenditure is more, the amount of time it will take them to meet their annual deductible would be less due to the higher clinical costs. As soon as that deductible amount is met, the cost-sharing of the insurance plan starts in earnest. This implies that the out-of-pocket client costs would be lesser. Moreover, this will ensure that the policyholder is closer to meeting the out-of-pocket maximum. When this point is reached, the policyholder will still pay the monthly premium, however, the health insurance agency will cover all eligible clinical expenses. No one knows exactly what deductible they will need, whether it will be high or low. However, if you know that you have a chronic ailment which necessitates plenty of care or requires expensive medicines, then a plan with a low deductible may be worth the higher premiums.

Is it better to pay a higher premium or a higher deductible?

If you are still not sure what plan is the correct one for you, then ask yourself one question. How frequently do you have to visit the doctor. In case you have a serious illness or medical condition, there is a high probability that you will be needing healthcare services more often, and as a result, will also meet the deductible quicker. If this is the case, it is actually best if you pay a higher premium. However, if you generally remain healthy, and all you plan to use that year is preventive care (which is free of cost under the Affordable Care Act (ACA)), a higher deductible might be the ideal option for you. Nevertheless, even if in such a case you do happen to end up in the emergency room, it will be more expensive for you during your deductible period as compared to an individual who has a higher premium plan.

When opting for a plan, there is always a balance between expense and benefits. Most of the younger, healthier buyers go for lower premium plans with higher out-of-pocket costs. On the other hand, older people — and particularly those with more health related problems — will tend to pay more for a plan with less out-of-pocket costs. If you are on a high deductible health plan, however, you need more care than you assumed you would, you can still save up some cash. Consider opening a health savings account (HSA), which can help you save up some cash (tax-free) for healthcare expenses


When searching for your insurance policy, there are some that come with zero deductible. However, you will typically be asked to give a no-deductible fee, or you may have to ask the insurance agency for a deductible waiver. A policy that has no deductibles, or one that even has a waiver of deductible is possible. If in case you are successful in finding a zero-deductible plan, make sure to always question how much the policy will cost without the waiver, and how much will it cost with the waiver. Given that the expenses in both cases remain the same, then consider it to a loyalty perk or a good feature of the policy you are purchasing. If there is a cost, then it is up to you whether you think that a zero-deductible plan is worth paying more for. Moreover, it is essential to keep in mind that deductibles do not apply to car liability and home insurance liability claims. They can usually be applied to the physical harm done on home and car policies.

John Otero

John Otero

John Otero is an industry practitioner with more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry. He has held various senior management roles both in the insurance companies and insurance brokers during this span of time. He began his insurance career in 2004 as an office assistant at an agency in her hometown of Duluth, MN. He got licensed as a producer while working at that agency and progressed to serve as an office manager. Working in the agency is how he fell in love with the industry. He saw firsthand the good that insurance consumers experienced by having the proper protection. John has diverse experience in corporate & consumer insurance services, across a range of vocations. His specialties include Major Corporate risk management and insurance programs, and Financial Lines He has been instrumental in making his firm as one of the leading organizations in the country in generating sustainable rapid growth of the company while maintaining service excellence to clients.

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