The Costs of Car Crashes: What to Expect

They say your entire life can change in a just a single moment. That’s definitely the case when it comes to automobile accidents. Even if they don’t end in fatality or permanent injury the costs you could incur can have a major affect on your budget.

Recently MoneyNing writer Ashley Ereniz highlighted a few car crash-related expenses you’ll need to be prepared for. While some may be obvious there are others you may not have considered:

Rental cars/transportation

Unless your accident is very minor your vehicle will likely need to have some sort of work done before its ready to hit the road again. Additionally, if your car was totaled, you’ll probably have to wait for the insurance company to cut you a check before you can go out and buy a new one. In the interim you’ll still need to get around and, realistically, relying on friends and family can only get you so far.

This is where renting a car could come in handy. Many car insurance companies offer coverage plans that include rental car fees but, if you decline that, you’ll be stuck paying out of pocket and rental cars can be pricey. Alternatively you may consider services like Uber or Lyft (if you’re in markets that they serve) or good ol’ fashioned taxis to get you around until your car is back in shape. Of course the cost of these rides can add up quickly so, if you really need to save cash or your car is out of service for an extended period of time you may have to resort to public transportation.

Tip: With most car insurance polices the price for adding rental coverage plans for accidents is minimal. Avoid the hassles and potential large expense of rentals/rides and add it to your policy. While you’re at it make sure you have uninsured accident coverage as well. Getting hit by an uninsured driver can be a nightmare expense if you don’t have coverage.

Medical care

Car accidents can not only be painful in the moment but can also do a number on your body if you don’t take care of your injuries properly. In addition to any immediate medical attention you may require, some doctors might recommend that you receive subsequent chiropractic care. Depending on the severity of your injury these appointments can continue for some time and, worst of all, could cost you out of pocket until your insurance companies (auto and health) settle. Ideally you’ll get your money back eventually but covering the costs up front could put a strain on your finances.

Tip: Some health insurance policies don’t cover chiropractic care. Double check your policy to make sure it includes it. The last thing you want when you’re in pain is to be racking up expenses hoping your auto insurance will cover it.

Insurance deductibles and premium hikes

Hopefully your insurance includes full coverage and a low deductible. Sadly this isn’t always the case. Skimping on insurance coverage might save you money on your monthly or annual premium but could cost you a ton in the event of a severe accident. That’s why it’s a good idea to review your policy carefully when purchasing and so you understand what costs to expect should something happen. On top of the deductibles you will have to pay to have your vehicle repaired there is also the chance that your insurance rates could go up as the result of your accident — even if you weren’t at fault.

Tip: If your current insurance company does try to hike up your rates it’s probably best to shop around for some additional quotes before renewing. It’s possible your recent accident will mean you still can’t find a cheaper rate but it’s certainly worth a try.

Auto accidents can happen to anyone regardless of how careful you’re being or how short your commute is. Worse yet even small fender benders can deliver a big hit to your finances. While no one plans for an accident, taking a closer look at your insurance policy and preemptively preparing your finances for the worst will help you get by when the unthinkable occurs. Drive safe!


Jonathan Dyer

I'm a small town guy living in Los Angeles looking to make solid financial decisions. I write for a number of finance websites, including HuffingtonPost and Business2Community. I founded in 2015 to focus on personal finance and the emerging FinTech markets.

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