One of the most common questions we hear during car insurance claims goes something like this: “If my vehicle was damaged in a collision that wasn’t my fault, do I have to pay my deductible?”

While each situation is unique and there’s no one-size-fits-all answer, let’s look at a few factors that help determine whether or not you’ll have to pay your deductible when your insurance company determines you’re not at fault for a collision.

The general rule of thumb

If you live in Ontario, Quebec, Nova Scotia, New Brunswick, or PEI, your insurance company would typically pay for damages to your vehicle under the Direct Compensation Property Damage (DCPD) section of your policy when you’re not at fault for a collision. If your insurance policy has a $0 deductible for DCPD claims, you won’t need to pay a deductible.

Let’s look at an example

You live in Ontario and another driver rear-ends your vehicle on your way to work. Your insurer determines you’re not at fault, so they cover the damage to your vehicle under the DCPD section of your policy. Your DCPD deductible is $0, so there’s no deductible for you to pay.

The exception

While the answer is pretty clear if you’re involved in a collision in your home province (and your province follows DCPD rules), here’s where it gets a little more complicated…

Damage to your vehicle as a result of a not-at-fault collision will be covered by the collision section of your car insurance policy (instead of the DCPD section) if the accident occurs in a province where DCPD rules don’t apply (or in the United States). In this situation, you’ll have to pay the deductible that is listed under the collision section of your policy.

After your insurer pays your claim, they will usually seek repayment from the at-fault driver’s insurance company — meaning if you do have to pay your collision deductible, your insurer may be able to get that money back and return it to you. If the at-fault driver’s insurance company agrees to pay for the damages up front, then your insurance company will usually agree to waive your deductible. Even when your not-at-fault collision has to be covered under the collision section of your policy, your insurance company should still consider this a not-at-fault loss — so it shouldn’t affect your premium.

Note: If you don’t have collision coverage and you get in an accident in a province where DCPD doesn’t apply, damage to your vehicle won’t be covered at all — even if you’re not at fault.

Every car insurance claim is unique, and there are a lot of variables that go into determining the outcome of a claim. If you’re wondering about your own coverage or deductibles, contact your group’s licensed insurance broker. If you’re involved in a claim and have questions about how your coverage or deductible will apply, speak to the representative working on your claim.

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