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Can your car insurance be taxed?

  • Auto Insurance
  • Xavier Sabastian
  • 6 minutes

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Do you pay taxes on car insurance settlements? This is one of the most common concerns we at Way.com get about insurance claims. Unfortunately, there is no single answer because car accident insurance settlements can include various items, some of which are taxable and others that are not. Knowing which components of your settlement are taxable is critical, especially if you want to keep your IRS account in good standing. Continue reading to find out everything you need to know about auto insurance settlements and the Internal Revenue Service.

What is a deductible in car insurance?

If you have car insurance, your deductible is the amount of money you are responsible for paying before your policy kicks in. Deductibles for car insurance are usually calculated per claim.

Is car insurance tax-deductible?

When the vehicle is used for business purposes, the insurance premium is deductible. A car used for business purposes is more vulnerable to damage and accidents than a car used for personal purposes.

When do you pay the deductible for car insurance?

Any time you file a claim under an insurance policy that has a deductible. You are responsible for paying your deductible. Typically, when you receive a payout from your insurance company, your deductible will be deducted from the amount of your payout.

Are settlements from car accidents taxable?

Here’s a pro tip for determining whether a settlement is taxable or tax-free: The Internal Revenue Service (IRS) solely taxes income. Which is money you receive that makes you wealthier than you were previously. While Congress has the “right to lay and collect taxes on incomes, from whatever source derived,” it does not tax wealth accumulation.¬†

To put it another way, Congress has the authority to tax any income. Whether it is cash or the value of chickens they are compensations. They usually only do so to the extent that the income increased your net worth.

Because most insurance settlements are not taxable. Insurance is helpful to you after an incident, bringing you back to the same state (wealth-wise) as you were before the incident. Car accident compensation may be taxable in some cases. Depending on how your settlement’s structure and everything that’s part of it. At the same time, the cost of repairing or replacing your car is usually not taxable.

Tax-free: settlement of a car insurance claim for the repair or replacement of a car or other property

One of the most typical reasons you’ll get money from a car insurance claim is this. It will most likely be for repairing or replacing your car after an accident. But it could also be for vandalism or other damage to your car. You are not required to pay taxes for this type of compensation, regardless of the reason. This cannot be considered income because you are no better off financially after the claim than before. After your loss, your insurer made you whole.

Taxable: Settlement for lost wages from a car accident

A catastrophic car accident might result in catastrophic injuries. And your insurer may compensate you if you are unable to work as a result of your injuries. Because this remuneration is income, you will most likely have to pay taxes on it.

Compensation for lost wages is meant to compensate you for your earnings if you hadn’t been hurt. If you don’t fully recover, you may be eligible for compensation for future lost wages. Wages are always taxable. Thus compensation for lost wages is taxable as well. Unfortunately, taxation for lost wages is complicated; depending on how your settlement’s structure. You may end up paying a more effective tax rate than you normally would.

Smaller settlement: A smaller settlement, such as $5000, should not affect your tax rate. It is taxable as income, but only at your current 15% rate.

Significant settlement: If you obtain a large payout covering several years of income at once, you will almost certainly be taxed at a higher rate than you would otherwise be.

A settlement with a lawyer: If you have to enlist the help of a lawyer (which is not unusual), your slice of the pie will shrink while your tax burden grows. Even though your lawyer will take around one-third of your compensation (on a contingency basis), the taxes on the settlement is your responsibility.

Tax-free: car insurance settlement for medical expenditures

Auto insurance claims for medical expenditures are usually tax-free. When it comes to medical expenses and motor insurance, the insurance company will pay. Either the hospital directly or repay you for the previously payable medical costs, which is not income.

There are, however, exceptions. Suppose you receive a settlement for personal physical injuries or sickness. In that case, you must include it in your income. The percentage of the settlement for medical expenditures you deducted in the previous year(s), to the extent that the deduction(s) generated a tax benefit. 

If you paid medical expenses for more than one year, you must allocate the portion of the earnings for medical expenses on a pro-rata basis to each year you paid medical expenses.

Taxable (can vary): Car insurance settlements for pain and suffering 

Your settlement is not taxable for a bodily injury that causes you pain and suffering. If your pain and suffering are defined as emotional distress, however, you must pay taxes on the amount paid to your attorney.

Points to remember:

If you live in a no-fault state, tax concerns might become tricky. 

People who are victims of a car accident in Michigan, for example, must first contact their insurance carrier under the state’s no-fault insurance statute. That insurance company covers the first three years of pay lost. These lost wages are compensated at 85 percent of what the person would have earned if they hadn’t been wounded, and this portion of the settlement is tax-free.

If the same person is still incapacitated after three years, a claim for excess economic loss can be filed against the person who caused the auto accident. 

As an excess economic claim, the second claim for lost wages will be taxable.

If you’ve been awarded a significant settlement, you might consider putting some of it in a bank account or mutual fund to collect interest. In this situation, any interest generated must be reported on your tax return because it is deemed income, which is always taxable.

car insurance tax

Punitive damages are monetary penalties imposed on a defendant for his or her negligence. The defendant is almost always a corporation or other major enterprise. A flaw in your car that resulted in an accident or injury is an example of this type of damage. Because punitive damages do not compensate you for out-of-pocket losses, they are taxable. Because punitive damages are essentially income, you will have to pay taxes on them.

Check out our blogs for info on finding top-rated airport parking, the best parking spots in your city, and affordable car washes near you.


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