My $1,500 Accident!

My recent car accident is a great example of why you need an emergency savings account.  I was riding my bike to work one Friday.  I took my regular route. Traffic was normal.  Nothing was out of the ordinary .  .  . then bam! I got hit by a car, flipped over the car with my bike, and landed on the concrete on top of the bike.

When I woke up, the driver was holding my hand and trembling.  A small circle of people surrounded me.  He said, “Someone call an ambulance!”  Instantly, my first thoughts were, “Sh**, an ambulance is $400 – $500 for a 10-minute ride!  Maybe I can stand up and ride in someone’s car.”   (Yes, those were really my first thoughts.)  I tried to stand but couldn’t move.  I reluctantly sighed to myself, “An ambulance it is . . .”

So far the medical costs have been $1,230! Do you have $1,200 lying around your checking account?  I don’t.

The costs above included my health insurance covering 85% of costs after I met the $200 deductible. (To answer the most asked financial question: No, I can’t sue the driver.)

Those were only the medical costs!  For the next 3 weeks, I was using pain killers, crutches, a neck brace, and a wrist brace.  I looked as bad as I felt and used a few luxuries to ease my suffering.  I took cabs more often and bought lunch and dinners, rather than carry food to work or standup to cook.   I also bought some clothes as a distraction.

So far the accident has cost me $1,512!   Without an emergency savings account, I would have gone into credit card debt.  Medical costs are the #1 reason for bankruptcy in the US.

Emergencies—car accidents, losing your job due to the recession, needing a new set of tires, a flood in your apartment—are surprises.    That’s why you NEED an emergency savings account.  You can start one this week by saving $5, $25, $50, or any amount your can consistently save each month.

What would you do if you had a $1,500 accident?  If you don’t have an emergency savings account, how will you start one?

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4 responses to this post.

  1. Pretty! This has been a really wonderful post.
    Many thanks for providing these details.

    Reply

  2. Yvette,
    Post semester and just now catching up on reading, emails and blogs posts. So sorry to hear about your accident and hope that you are recovering! Isn’t it sad that at these times of crisis, we actually consider not taking an ambulance when it is most likely the best choice. I know this was a choice I considered last year when I had an unforeseen accident (aren’t they all?) in the Colorado River in the middle of the Grand Canyon. I was fortunate that the helicopter flight out was free. However, the ambulance ride was more than the subsequent surgery. I have major medical coverage and thus I have opted to establish a Health Savings Account. The HSA features and benefits are worthwhile especially when it comes to having an available health emergency fund. And, in the years I don’t use it, it accrues interest. Just another option in this increasingly complex health insurance climate. Again, I hope that you are feeling better. What a scary accident!

    Reply

    • Sarah,

      Sorry to hear about accident. A helicopter, wow! I’ve spent 4+ hours on the phone to understand my health care benefits and correct mistakes in charges. Yes, I’d call it all very complex. But the HSA is one good option to have. It’s great that you’re taking advantage of it. Most people don’t. Keep reading and commenting!

      Reply

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