What If I Can't Pay My Car Insurance Deductible Right Away?

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Raising the insurance deductible to lower the premium is common when you're trying to save money. Unfortunately, coming up with a large lump sum can be tough, especially after an accident. Depending on your insurance policy, the company will either issue you a check for the estimated repairs minus the deductible or require you to pay the deductible upfront to the mechanic. If you can't come up with the money right away, you still have some options.

Work with the Mechanic

Contact the mechanic and explain the circumstances. Ask him to use rebuilt or refurbished parts instead of new parts to lower the costs. Keep in mind refurbished parts may have a limited warranty, if any. If the deductible has to be paid upfront, see if you can set up a payment plan for the deductible. The mechanic typically won't release the car until you pay what you owe. Legally, the mechanic can keep your car if you don't pay for the work done.

Make Only the Necessary Repairs

If the insurance company sends the check directly to you, then you aren't obligated to make the repairs if car's title is clear. Although you'll want to fix anything that affects the safety of your vehicle or could lead to more damage, hold off on the cosmetic stuff temporarily. With the check is in hand, you're free to contact other mechanics or repair shops for quotes. If there's a loan, however, you may need to submit proof of repairs to the lien holder before they'll sign off on the check.

Other Sources of Help

Look to other sources to come up with the money for your deductible. You can ask friends or family members for help, put it on a credit card or take out a loan. If you have no one to turn to for help, contract a charity or local organization that offers financial assistance to people in need. Assistance is generally reserved for people that would lose their jobs if the repairs aren't made. Catholic Charities and St. Vincent De Paul Society are both known to help with car repairs and have locations throughout the country. In some cases, the churches and charities work with mechanics to offer free or low-cost auto repairs to people in need.

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