4 Costly Financial Emergencies and How to Survive Them

Published on July 12th, 2019 by CreditFresh

Woman using calculator and a laptop

Have you saved for a rainy day? How about for the rainy day where a piece of hail cracks your windshield?

Saving for an emergency or unexpected expense is very difficult for many people these days. In fact, in a 2018 survey from Bankrate, less than half of surveyed Americans said they have adequate emergency savings.

If you’re struggling to put away enough money to cover one of life’s inconvenient surprises, that’s OK, you’re not alone. It may take some time to save enough to have a financial emergency fund, and it might be even harder when you’re living paycheck to paycheck. This may be why almost 70% of those surveyed said they have less than $1,000 saved right now.

However, there are ways to deal with these emergencies even when you don’t have a lot of money saved. Here are a few options you may consider.

1. Medical Emergencies

Some people may not think it’s worth it to pay for health insurance... until they have to pay for a trip to the emergency room for themselves or a loved one out of pocket.

How expensive can a trip to the emergency room be if you don’t have insurance?

  • An ER visit may cost anywhere from $150-$3,000
  • If critical care is needed, the cost can climb as high as $20,000.
  • If you need an ambulance to get there, the fees can be over $1,000

The John Hopkins School of Medicine reported in 2015 that ER service charges can be as high as 10 times more expensive for the same services covered by Medicare.

If these numbers have you thinking that insurance may be a good idea, you can click here to learn how to get health insurance for yourself and your family. This can help you keep medical expenses under control.

Workplace Health Insurance

This may seem like an obvious answer, but if your workplace provides any sort of health benefits, make sure you use them! It may surprise you to learn that just about 3 out of 10 employees surveyed say they feel like they’re not getting the most out of their workplace benefits.

Stethoscope with medical report indicating health health related financial emergencies

If you’re a student, your college or university may provide some sort of student health plan for you to take advantage of. However, not all plans are created equally and you may be better off staying under your parents’ health coverage, if possible. It pays to sit down and thoroughly go through both plans and decide which is the better fit for you.

A Family Doctor or Urgent Care Clinic

Your community may have a waitlist to get a family doctor and moving to the top of that waitlist could take some time. This might have discouraged you from even putting your name on the list in the first place.

You may already be familiar with the benefits of a family doctor. They could potentially give you a higher level of personalized care, and being able to go back to a doctor who already knows your/your family’s specific health history is a benefit. However, you may not have also considered how much money it may actually save you.

As we already mentioned earlier, a trip to the emergency room can be expensive. But a big chunk of medical care in the U.S. is delivered by emergency departments. If an emergency strikes, then you have a valid reason to visit the emergency room. But many medical needs like flu symptoms, an unexpected rash, or nagging pain can often be dealt with by a family physician. Depending on what you’re seeing the doctor about, a visit to your family doctor may be cheaper than taking a trip to the ER.

You might also be able to save money by going to an urgent care clinic instead of the emergency room. In fact, in 2016, Annals of Emergency Medicine reported that ER treatment costs are over 10 times more (an average of about $2,200) than in an urgent care center (about $168) to treat the same injuries or conditions.

2. Dental Emergencies

Dental emergencies and expenses can add up in a hurry and cost you more than you may expect.

This is another situation where insurance will go a long way to reducing your out-of-pocket spending. Consider that in 2017, the average cost of certain basic dental procedures was:

  • $80 to $175 for a routine cleaning by a dental hygienist (an average of $127)
  • $114 to $320 for a complete teeth cleaning appointment (an average of $198)

If you’re in the clinic for something more serious, you could be facing:

  • Fillings costing you approximately $110-$240 on average
  • Crowns costing $800 and up

Despite these numbers, nearly a quarter of all Americans didn’t have any sort of dental coverage in 2017.

How to Reduce Dental Costs

The easiest answer to keeping your dental bills down is making sure you and your kids are flossing and brushing regularly. However, that can only do so much.

If there is a dental school or college in your area, they may offer free, or discounted, dental services for things like cleanings. These students should be trained in how to perform these basic-level procedures and are typically supervised by qualified instructors.

A picture of dentist indicating dental related financial emergencies

You may also consider:

3. Emergency Automotive and Car Expenses

You may already pay a lot of money to cover your car loan interest rates, gas, and insurance. But, when your car starts making a strange noise or the “check engine” light comes on, things can get even more expensive in a hurry.

In fact, AAA reported in 2017 that the average car repair in America costs around $500 to $600. They added that about 1 out of every 3 motorists can’t afford to pay that amount without going into debt.

How do you prevent or reduce these costs?

Do Some Basic Car Maintenance on Your Own

Don’t skip this section just because you’re not comfortable working on your own car or you’ve never tried it before. We’re not talking about anything major. Certain small tasks may be very doable for the average person. This can include:

  • Changing oil
  • Swapping filters
  • Replacing headlights or taillights
  • Changing the battery

Start by Googling, “How do I (insert the task here).” In fact, you may even be able to go model-specific and type in, “How do I (insert task here) on a 2016 Honda Civic.” You will likely get dozens of detailed walkthrough videos. Watch the video once to see if this looks like something you can do and to see what tools, parts, and supplies you will need.

Build an Ongoing Relationship with a Mechanic You Trust

If you haven’t found a mechanic that you trust just yet, ask your friends who they use, or look for recommendations on Facebook.

A solid rapport with a trustworthy mechanic can be very beneficial to you. You may find peace of mind in knowing they’re giving you a fair and accurate estimate, and in some circumstances they may even cut you a deal for being a valued customer.

Avoid the Dealership Once Your Warranty is Up

If your car is still under a warranty, bring it to your dealer or dealer-approved mechanic to make sure your repairs are covered. However, once that warranty expires, some experts say that you’re better off going with smaller and independent mechanics/garages. Some claim that you will experience shorter wait times and get a better price. They may also be able to help you save by helping you locate used (but quality) parts for your repair.

As above, ask around to see if your friends have a go-to garage they trust.

Stay on Top of Your Car Maintenance

We’re sure you’ve heard this before, and we know you’re very busy. But, taking good care of your car may help you extend its life and help you reduce how much you spend on repairs.

A mechanic fixing car engine indicating car related financial emergencies

Do the little things, like getting your oil changed on schedule. Your engine is the most important and most expensive part of your car, so take care of it. Make sure your tires are properly inflated because failing to do so may cause some costly wear and tear on your car’s tires and suspension and may have a tangible effect on your gas mileage.

Also, new brake pads can be inexpensive and can go a long way to helping your car run (and stop) smoothly.

4. Pet Emergency Costs

This may be a massive expense that not enough people are prepared for. Consider the fact that most dog owners can expect to pay anywhere from $700-1500 per year for veterinary costs. Those are just costs for routine check-ups and cleanings and do not include emergency expenses! A single emergency can easily cost you over $1000 by itself, particularly if overnight care is required.

How do you reduce these costs while still keeping your furry friend as healthy as possible? Can you get emergency financial help for your pet?

Look for Resources in Your State

There is help available for animal lovers and pet owners on a budget. In fact, the Humane Society has provided this great resource page that can help you find affordable options and emergency financial help for pet-owners in your area.

Ask About Installment Payment Plans For a Pet Emergency

Like a good mechanic, it may pay to build a solid ongoing relationship with your vet. If you’ve been there before and you’re in good standing, they may be willing to set up some sort of payment arrangement or installment plan to cover a larger bill. They are less likely to do this if it’s the first time you’ve ever been to their clinic.

Pet Insurance

Getting pet insurance can soften the financial blow of pet illnesses and injuries. This works similarly to traditional health insurance. You will typically go through a provider to get coverage, with a particular plan that has set terms and a set deductible.

A puppy being examined by a vet

Coverage will depend on what type of pet you have and where you live. If you want to get an idea of what to expect, you can click here to browse average costs and quotes.

Like any type of insurance, it may be a good idea to get coverage now instead of waiting until after an emergency when the financial damage has already been done.

A Line of Credit May Help Any of These Situations

A line of credit may be useful in any of the above scenarios. It could provide you with a financial safety net when your savings can’t cover the cost of an emergency. It’s there when you need it, and you’re usually only charged fees based on how much you withdraw. You may be able to get the financial help you need without stretching yourself too thin.

If something comes up suddenly and unexpectedly, a CreditFresh Line of Credit by CBW Bank may be able to help.

You may be approved for a line of credit from $500 - $2,500 in only minutes, and if you’re approved, you may have the funds in your bank account as soon as the next business day after requesting a draw.

We Can Help You Establish a Financial Emergency Safety Net

A line of credit may help you deal with unplanned expenses. It’s important to make sure you only use this product when you’re facing an unexpected expense that you don’t have the savings to cover.

A CreditFresh Line of Credit by CBW Bank may be the answer you’re looking for and submitting a request will not impact your credit score. The process is simple, quick, and completely transparent, with clear terms and no unexpected or hidden fees. Submitting a request can be done online at any time and you can click here to get started right now!