Being in a car accident is downright scary. Depending on the severity of the crash, you’ll have to deal with health problems, emotional overwhelm, and property damage. Although most drivers know what to do following an accident (i.e., contacting the authorities, exchanging information, seeking medical attention, and filing a claim), many have no idea how to protect themselves and reduce the financial impact of the collision.
The reality is accidents are expensive. Whether it’s a minor or serious accident, the costs to resolve the matter could be several thousand dollars. As most motorists don’t have that kind of money to spare, it’s essential to understand the potential costs and find a practical solution to reduce the financial burden. Continue reading for advice.
Common Car Accident Expenses
Let’s start by evaluating the common expenses associated with a car crash.
- Traffic Fines – If the local authorities determine that the accident was the result of a traffic violation, the responsible party will have to pay tickets and other legal fines.
- Insurance Deductible – A deductible is the amount of money the driver must pay before the insurance company provides coverage. Depending on your policy type and deductible options, it could cost you anywhere from $250 to $1,500 or more.
- Increased Premium – Unfortunately, most drivers will notice a spike in their monthly insurance payments after filing a claim (whether they’re at fault or not). Insurance rates can increase by as much as $2,828, depending on where you live.
- Medical Care – From body aches and whiplash to broken bones and brain injuries, the medical expenses after a car accident are high. If the injuries are severe enough, you may have to pay for additional care like follow-up visits, physical therapy, or surgery. Even with health insurance, drivers will need to cover copays, prescriptions, and other out-of-pocket expenses.
- New Vehicle Purchase – Many car owners learn the hard way that their insurance providers won’t outright replace a vehicle after an accident. They will cover the cost of repairs as long as it’s not more than the current cash value of your vehicle. Otherwise, your vehicle is declared a total loss, and you will receive a check for the value of your car. All too often, the amount disbursed isn’t enough to purchase a new or used vehicle purchase, meaning you’ll be on the hook for the rest.
- Lost Wages – When your injuries prevent you from working on a temporary or permanent basis, you’ll have to find a way to sustain your everyday expenses due to a loss of income.
Reducing The Financial Impact
As you can see, the financial implications of a car accident are steep. Whether you’re the guilty party or not, finding ways to lighten the load is essential. Below are a few practical tips.
- Hire An Attorney – When dealing with serious accidents where financial obligations are high, it’s best to consult first-class attorneys for truck accidents. An Atlanta auto accident lawyer (or legal professional in the appropriate jurisdiction) can help protect your rights and your wallet. They can help you determine fault, negotiate with insurance companies, and seek compensation through the local court system. Lastly, consulting an attorney is often free; many offer affordable payment options or contingency clauses that can save you money.
- Dip Into Your Savings – If you have an emergency fund, now would be a good time to use some of the cash to cover accident-related expenses like the deductible or medical co-pays.
- Government Assistance Programs – Various government-funded programs assist low-income individuals and families in their time of need. For instance, filing temporary disability may be necessary if you’re recovering from serious injuries. You may also be eligible to get help with medical insurance, groceries, rent, and utilities.
- Credit Cards And Loans – Sometimes, the financial aftermath of an accident is more than you can bear. Fortunately, you can use credit cards or loans (home equity, retirement, or personal loans) to tide you over. Of course, it’s important to borrow responsibly as you’ll be required to repay these funding sources on time to avoid further repercussions.
One minute, you’re going about your day, and the next, you’re in an accident that will cost you thousands of dollars to resolve. Although you have auto and health insurance to reduce the impact, the out-of-pocket obligations can be overwhelming. Use the above solutions to help lighten your load so you can focus on your recovery.