You do the best you can to be a safe driver. You comply with the rules of the road, keep distractions to a minimum, and avoid getting behind the wheel if you’re under the influence. You understand that driving is a privilege that comes with significant responsibilities. As a result, you’ve managed to keep a clean record and avoid any serious tickets or accidents. Until one day, everything changes, and you find yourself in the middle of an accident.
Maybe an anxious driver rear-ended you during rush hour traffic. Perhaps your toddler was choking in the back seat, and you looked back for one moment and hit the car in front of you. Whatever the case is, it’s the last thing you expected to happen. You realize that whether you’re at fault or not, there are some associated costs you’ll have to cover. Your limited budget and financial resources leave you feeling apprehensive about the entire situation.
What Are You Going To Do?
You’ve taken the necessary steps immediately following the accident, sought medical treatment, and filed an insurance claim. As you recover from the incident, you can’t help but wonder what you’re going to do about the expenses. Although you may feel like there’s no hope, you have options. Continue reading to learn more.
How much will you have to pay as a result of being in a car accident? While this amount will depend on the severity of the accident, whether or not you’re at fault, and how much your auto insurance policy covers, here are some typical costs to consider.
- Insurance Deductible – The deductible is the amount policyholders must pay before the insurance company covers their portion. What you pay will depend on what you agreed to when you signed up for insurance (anywhere from $100 to $1,000 or more).
- Car Maintenance/Repairs – For consumers with limited liability insurance coverage, you’ll have to pay car maintenance and repairs out-of-pocket. You’ll need to visit a local mechanic or auto body shop to get an estimate. If the car is totaled, you’ll have to purchase another vehicle.
- Medical Expenses – Whether you have adequate health coverage or not, you may be expected to pay associated costs after an accident. This could include copays, deductibles, prescriptions, or additional therapies and treatment.
- Traffic Tickets – If it’s determined that you were at fault for the accident, authorities may issue you tickets.
- Attorney Costs – Anyone at fault or significantly injured in an auto accident should consider hiring an attorney. Though attorney fees and court costs can be expensive, it’s important not to get ahead of yourself. You can get free auto accident advice that can assist you in making an informed decision, professional tax services, and possibly many other types of assistance from the right attorney–not just services related to driving.
Covering The Costs
Once you have a better idea of what your out-of-pocket expenses might be, it’s time to figure out how you’ll cover them all. Here are a few suggestions.
- Emergency Savings – If you have an emergency savings account, now would be a good time to withdraw funds. Just ensure that you replenish the account at your earliest convenience.
- Flexible Spending Accounts – If you have a medical or flexible spending account through your employer, you can use these resources to cover the costs of your accident.
- Shop Around For Attorneys – As attorney fees can be expensive, use comparative shopping strategies to find an affordable expert. You’ll find that many attorneys work on a contingency fee. Ultimately, they only get paid if you win your case. Then, you can use some of the proceeds to pay your lawyer without breaking the bank. Some law firms offer payment arrangements as well.
- Credit Cards/Personal Loans – Another option to get you out of a financial jam is to charge it to your credit card or apply for a personal loan. If you decide to use any of these solutions, ensure that you have the means to repay the balance to avoid falling deeper into debt.
- Picking up a Hustle – Many of us are picking up side hustles since lockdown began and continuing them as things begin to reopen. These can prove an invaluable financial resource and you may just find your new passion.
The reality is accidents happen all the time. No matter how safe your car is or how responsible you are behind the wheel, there’s no guarantee it won’t happen to you. Should you find yourself in an accident, don’t allow associated costs to add to your stress. Once you’ve taken the initial steps following your auto accident, sit down and identify your costs. Then use practical solutions like those listed above to resolve the matter.