what happens in the event of an at-fault accident?

The deductible corresponds to the amount not reimbursed by the insurer after a claim. Who must bear the cost when the insured party is partially or totally responsible for the accident? The applicable rules may vary depending on the type of auto insurance contract taken out. Discover below the essentials to remember with Turbo.fr

What is an auto insurance deductible?

The car insurance deductible corresponds to the sum remaining payable by the insured after a claim. It is therefore the part that is never reimbursed by the insurer. An absolute deductible of €100 on collision cover, for example, means that you will receive €150 if the amount of damage is estimated at €250.

The deductible is a very common mechanism with most auto insurers, but it is not systematic. It must be expressly provided for in the contract. In addition, its method of calculation must be specified for each guarantee.


Several types of auto franchises can be offered. Not all of them have the same mode of operation or the same implications for the insured:

  • The relative or simple deductible conditions the intervention of the insurer to a prejudice of a certain amount. If, for example, it amounts to €200, no compensation will be possible for a loss assessed at €150. If the same incident causes damage of €250, on the other hand, the insured will be fully compensated.
  • The absolute deductible, on the other hand, is applied regardless of the amount of the claim. If the amount is €200, the claim assessed at €150 will give rise to no compensation (€0), and that of €250 to a reimbursement of €50.
  • The proportional deductible, as its name suggests, depends on the amount of the loss itself. It is expressed as a percentage. Thus a proportional deductible of 10% will amount to €200 for a loss of €2,000, or €400 for €4,000. It can be accompanied by a floor amount and a ceiling amount.
  • The annual deductible sets an overall amount for all claims suffered by the insured during the year. As long as the cumulative value of claims does not exceed this amount, no compensation is paid by the insurer.

The deductible is designed above all to play a dissuasive role for motorists. The latter is not fully protected and will have to pay a fixed amount if he is responsible for a claim. He is therefore encouraged to be responsible on the road.

What deductible in the event of a responsible accident?

How does the deductible apply in the event of an accident caused by the insured himself? The situation must be distinguished according to the type of contract taken out.

Deductible and third-party insurance

The so-called “third party” insurance corresponds to the legal minimum imposed on all motor vehicle drivers. This is a civil liability guarantee, covering only damage caused to other road users. If a third-party insured driver accidentally knocks down a pedestrian, for example, his insurance will fully cover the damage suffered by the victim. The driver himself, on the other hand, will not benefit from any support for his own prejudice (damage to the vehicle, etc.). By definition, third-party insurance therefore does not provide for a deductible since the insured does not receive any compensation. Only the user not responsible for the accident is reimbursed, and this in full. In certain exceptional cases, such as insurance contracts for company vehicle fleets, basic auto insurance may still include a deductible. The latter, however, is then not opposable to the third party: clearly, this means that the insurer will fully reimburse the victim and that the insured reimburses the amount of the deductible to the insurer.

Deductible and extended third-party insurance or all risks

Extended third-party insurance or a fortiori an “all-risks” contract provide you with better protection. These formulas may in particular provide for compensation for material damage to the insured, even if the accident was caused by the insured himself. In the event of a 100% responsible accident (without any shared wrong), the deductible of the contract functions in a normal way and applies in full. The insured must therefore bear the entire deductible. It will not be reimbursed at all if ever the amount of the deductible exceeds that of the claim. That’s not the only bad news for the injured driver. The latter will also have to suffer a penalty of 25% on the amount of his insurance premium (source: lelynx.fr/assurance-auto/sinistre/assurance/franchise/franchise-accident-responsable/)

Responsible or non-responsible accident: who decides?

Liability for a claim is assessed by the insurer itself, according to the criteria established by the agreement for direct compensation of the insured and recourse between automobile insurance companies (IRSA). The insurer will examine the circumstances mentioned in the joint report to determine the liability of each party.

What deductible in the event of a partially responsible accident?

During an accident, it can happen that the faults are shared between two road users if each has been reckless and has not respected the rules. The most classic situation is that of a 50% sharing of responsibility. In this type of situation, you will first be compensated for half of your loss by the other motorist’s insurer, under its third-party insurance. You can also be compensated by your own insurer for the remaining 50%, if your guarantees provide for it. In this case, the deductible will not be applied in full, but in proportion to your liability. In the event of an accident at 50% fault, for example, a deductible of €200 will be reduced to only €100 (source: lelynx.fr/assurance-auto/sinister/indemnity/franchise/franchise-accident-responsable/). The same principle applies to the 25% penalty, which will only be 12.5% ​​in the event of half-shared wrongs.

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