According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, approximately 38,000 Americans are killed each year in U.S. vehicle crashes. This causes $55 billion in work losses and medical expenses.
It only takes a split second for an accident, but the aftermath can last a long time. Many expenses can result from a car accident that causes damage to your vehicle. You could find yourself in financial ruin if you don’t plan. There are ways to get financial help in an emergency and protect yourself against financial ruin.
More than a crash
According to the National Safety Council (NSC), motor vehicle accidents cost $463 million every year. These are the costs of a car accident depending on the type of injury.
Average vehicle crash costs (NSC).
Your vehicle’s damage can be anything from minor scratches to total destruction. These are the typical costs of repairs for your vehicle after an accident.
- Bumper replacement cost: $880 to $13,390
- Repair scratches: $150 – $3,500
- Windshield Replacement: $869 – $2100
You may have to file a claim if your personal items are damaged in an accident. Your accident may also cause damage to other property such as fencing, sheds, garages, or landscaping. A good policy of car insurance can help to offset some of these expenses.
Some households can be pushed over the edge financially by an accident. It doesn’t take much. Many Americans don’t have much savings so one accident could lead to bankruptcy.
It is easy to accumulate medical expenses quickly, especially if you need long-term care. The average emergency room visit costs $3300 while an inpatient hospital stay is approximately $57,000. Drivers may need to hire a lawyer when dealing with large sums. However, if your lawyer demands payment upfront, it can present significant financial difficulties very quickly.
After an accident, car insurance premiums are likely to rise. The average annual policy rose $637 after one collision. Car insurance companies will likely charge higher premiums if you have an accident record.
It is easy to see how a driver could be financially devastated after a crash.
Low-income families: A special case
Low-income families are particularly dependent upon regular employment. They often have hourly jobs that can be easily disrupted by an accident.
You may have to miss work if you are seriously injured in an accident. If you don’t have enough time off to cover your recovery, this could prove costly. It can take several weeks, or even months, to heal from injuries. This is especially true if you don’t have a paycheck to cover the expenses.
Employers may offer additional accommodation to employees who are injured. Others might opt to terminate employment and find a replacement. It can quickly become difficult to pay these growing expenses without regular income. This could lead to financial ruin and bankruptcy. There are ways to get financial help.
Parties directly involved in motor vehicle accidents pay almost 75% of the expenses. These are some organizations and parties that may be able help you if you require financial assistance to cover your accident-related costs.
When you require financial assistance in an emergency, there are many forms of federal support that can assist you.
- Community Action Partnership – This non-profit assists nearly 150,000 families in securing affordable and safe housing each year. They also provide financial assistance through referrals and training.
- Volunteers of America – VOA provides housing for more than 25.000 seniors, veterans and families in dire need of housing.
- The federal program provides additional funding to assist low-income families with rent and utility payments. These federal funds can be disbursed to individuals by local and state governments.
- Housing Choice Voucher Program – Also known as Section 8 housing. This program assists low-income individuals and families to secure stable and safe housing at a lower rate.
- U.S. U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development: HUD is an acronym for the Department of Housing and Urban Development. It offers low-income housing as well as other forms of subsidized housing and financial aid so that low-income households do not face homelessness.
- The American Rescue Plan: Nearly $10 billion in housing assistance is available to homeowners who are facing foreclosure or severe debt through the Homeowner Assistance Fund.
These are some resources that may be able help.
- Choose Hill-Burton Facilities – In exchange for federal funding there are hospitals and nursing homes that are required to offer free or reduced services to low-income patients.
- Medical Assistance tool: Also known by PhRMA, this tool allows low-income families to have access to prescriptions that they otherwise wouldn’t be able to afford.
- Medicare Savings Programmes: This program offers support for medical expenses. It helps you pay your premiums and copays as well as deductibles. This program is only available to those who are 65+ or disabled and have been in the Medicare system for at least two years.
- The HealthWell Foundation – If you don’t have enough insurance, you might be eligible for assistance with premiums, out-of-pocket hospital expenses, and overall medical debt.
- The National Association of & Charitable Clinics: The NAFC offers healthcare support through its 1,400 clinics in the U.S.A for low-income families and individuals.
You can also get legal support to help with your debt management and other support needs.
- American Bar Association: Free Legal Help The ABA can help with pro bono or legal assistance.
- LSC Legal Aid Locator: The Legal Services Corporation (LSC), established by Congress, provides funding and access for more than 130 non-profit organisations in all 50 States, as well the District of Columbia, and the U.S. Territories
- LawHelp.org – This online directory will help you locate free legal assistance in your local area, based on what kind of legal support you require.
- Upsolve – If you’re considering bankruptcy, Upsolve will help you get the legal support that you need to make the right decision. There are many resources available to assist you in filing for bankruptcy.
General financial aid
These programs and organizations also offer emergency support to people who may be in financial distress.
- Financial Coaching Project The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, (CFPB), provides financial coaches to assist veterans and low-income individuals with one-on-1 financial coaching.
- Modestneeds.org This tax-exempt charity offers minor grants to low-income workers. It has assisted more than 16,175 households since 2002 through its online grant application.
- 2-1-1 Call 2-1-1 to reach United Way’s 24/7 financial support line, which can provide assistance with utility bills and other services.
- TANF provides assistance for low-income families with grants to U.S. states, territories and tribes. Families with children may receive TANF grants from their state or regional provider to support them and provide emergency cash payments.
- Feeding America – This non-profit provides emergency food assistance through a large national network, which includes 60,000 food pantries, meal programs, and 200 food banks. You can also get long-term assistance to help you get on your feet again.
- Lifeline – This program is offered by the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) and helps with everything, from utility bills to cell phone service and landline services.
- Low Income Home Energy Assistance Program: This federal program provides support for heating and cooling costs, energy emergencies, and low-cost home improvement projects, such as weatherization.
- Protection & Advocacy of Social Security Beneficiaries (PABSS) – This program provides assistance to social security beneficiaries who are eligible for vocational rehabilitation or employment services.
- Natural Disaster Emergency Relief – For areas that have been affected by natural disasters, additional federal assistance could be available to help with food, bills and unemployment.
When borrowing, be cautious
Sometimes, pressing for immediate results can lead to us making decisions that we wouldn’t make if we had the time or the resources to analyze the situation. These options may prove to be more trouble than worth when you are looking into emergency financial assistance.
- Retirement funds: You could be charged steep fees and penalties for withdrawing too early from your retirement fund, even if it has some cash value.
- Payday lenders: These loans are secured against your next paycheck and have rates that range from 400% up to over 1,000 percent.
- Credit card withdrawals
It is usually a good idea to exhaust all federal, private and non-profit donor support options before you sign up for expensive fees or loans. Scam programs are something you should be aware of. Federal Trade Commission (FCC), warns that free grants could be fraudulent and can pose a risk to your identity as well as your finances.
Crowdfunding resources such as GoFundMe might be a good option to provide immediate financial assistance without the risk or long waiting period that comes with grants and loans from the government.
The bottom line
A car crash can cause severe destruction. An accident can cause severe damage and require immediate attention. There is help if you know where. Private donors and the federal government make it possible for many non-profit and public organizations to create and grow financial support programs and grant programs that help victims of motor vehicle accidents. You might be able to find other sources of help before you decide to take out a loan at sky-high interest rates, or withdraw large amounts.