Answer this question….

December 5, 2013 · 32 comments

What’s the most expensive emergency you’ve ever had?

Good question right? If you’re like me you’re lucky enough to have never really had an emergency. I think my answer is $0.

I know one day we will have to tap our $10,000 Efund for a medical, car, or home issue, I dread that day. But until said emergency comes, I’m going to vicariously live through your stories.

Do tell. :)

1 Anne @ Unique Gifter

Also boring… probably $0. I’ve had unexpected car repairs and replacements, but non urgent ones. Blew a truck tire sidewall once, that cost $500 because we had to replace the pair. However, not really an emergency, more an annoyance.

2 Allie

Thankfully, so far the only thing we’ve had to dip into our emergency fund for was when my husband’s laptop started acting like it was going to bite the dust. He’s in grad school and kind of needs the computer, so we shelled out $100 or $200-something for a new hard drive last month.

3 Dillon

The worst emergency I had was a flat tire, when I had $0. Discount Tire replaced the tire for free from me after I had a breakdown because I couldn’t afford it. They told me to pay it back later and I eventually went back to pay it and they said don’t worry about it. I think the tire was only $80, but I had no money. Since then I have had a motorcycle accident and other emergencies, but none felt like such a big deal as that flat tire….probably because I had money to cover the expenses and was able to replenish my savings quickly.

4 Emily @ evolvingPF

We’ve never had to access our Emergency Fund. But I think that’s because I like to re-define anything that I could possibly foresee and plan for as not an emergency – car breaking down, unusual medical expenses, etc. The biggest almost-emergency we’ve had is my car needing $1600 in repairs, but instead of making the repairs we just stopped driving the car (took it off insurance, etc.). It turned out that having two cars wasn’t necessary (my husband and I work at the same place so we just had to shift our schedules a little), so we’re just waiting and saving up for the repairs until we change jobs and need the second car again.

5 Doug Nordman (The-Military-Guide)

When my Dad ended up in the emergency room with a perforated ulcer. They saved his life, but we also realized that he was in early stage Alzheimer’s and no longer capable of living independently.

Dad had previously refused all offers of help with powers of attorney or joint financial accounts, so I was starting with only the scrambled contents of his four-drawer file cabinet and a pile of unopened mail.

My expenses began with last-minute airfare to his town, followed by the costs of moving him to the care facility (250 miles away) and closing down his apartment. The first couple weeks I spent several thousand dollars. Over the next four months I spent another $15K before the long-term care insurance kicked in. By the time I was appointed conservator (10 months later) he’d racked up over $10K of legal bills.

It was eventually all reimbursed but at one point I’d fronted over $18K of his expenses. The emergency fund was a huge relief, and I didn’t have to use our home equity line of credit or pay interest on credit-card charges.

6 andree

Biggest emergency I’ve had to deal with was when my inlaws travelled to the US with insufficient insurance, and got into a motorcycle accident. The kicker was they weren’t wearing helmets.
The medical flight home for my MIL was 75K – just the flight, not the weeks in Intensive care – and the insurance only covered 50K. Between my SIL & us, needed to come up with 25K before they would even book her flight home.
As with all emergencies – it happened at the worst possible time for us.

7 Emily

Hmm… take your pick. Primary vehicle totaled in a collision (absolutely nothing like shopping for a new car while dealing with the shock and stress of the old car) $25K, out of work for four months for medical reasons $6K, furnace shuts down in the middle of March $2K, leak in the roof $500, dog chews on the wrong thing $300…

8 Debt BLAG

Oh gosh. For me, it wasn’t a shock event, but a slow bleed as the financial crisis progressed. Through it, I maintained some form of an emergency fund until I no longer could.

9 Sara

We just used $1000 of our e-fund for the first time as my grandmother passed away on Thanksgiving and her funeral was 4 days later. Last minute travel + holiday weekend = worst possible combination, but I was SO grateful that we had the money and didn’t have to stress about not making her funeral.

10 Rubymer

Roommate moving out and me having to pay double rent when I could not find a replacement for a month, cost : 650$

Car window broken into, cost : 300$

Both happened in the same month too. Fun month.

11 Larry

About $3000 to replace my older HVAC unit a few years ago.

About $3000 this year for a dental implant, since our annual insurance cap is $1000.

12 jane savers @ solving the money puzzle

A Christmas Day furnace repair was the beginning of my slide in to a HELOC debt so huge I am still not out from under it. I live in Canada so when the furnace breaks you just have to fix it. Of course it went on the HELOC.

I had to take money from a retirement account to replace the furnace several months later and I was heavily taxed because of it. I got in a hole and I am still not out.

Happy to be writing from Canada where you have a medical emergency, go to the hospital and you don’t get a bill afterward. My son had minor surgery a few years ago and I would probably never get out of debt if not for the fact that all I had to pay for was the parking at the hospital.

13 Brian@ Debt Discipline

Transmission in car ran me about $1300 to replace 2 week before Christmas about 8 years ago. I didn’t have an emergency fund in place at that time and paid for it via credit card. Ouch!

14 Sarah

Right before Christmas 2009 my Grandmother passed away which resulted in $2,500 worth of plane tickets to North Dakota for my family of 4 for her funeral. Then right after Christmas my husband’s brother went into a coma and we bought him a ticket to Texas to go be with him. Unfortunately he passed and the funeral was in Colorado so we had to by 4 tickets once again for the funeral. The total for all that flying was nearly $3,500. So in a 6 week period we spent a good chunk of our emergency money on plane tickets.

15 Rachelle

True story- I one time crashed my parents car into a parked car. They never asked me for the money, but I felt bad about it so I gave the a gift of $1,500. E-fund for the win!

16 Rebecca @ Stapler Confessions

We haven’t had to dip into the emergency fund yet ::crossing fingers and knocking on wood:: But we have had some crappy expenses come up recently — a $950 car repair, a $1200 legal bill, etc. Blech.

17 CR

Five or so years ago, one of my front teeth just broke while I was at work eating. Good thing I didn’t swallow the tooth :-) Anyway, I had to make an emergency visit to a dentist to fix it and I had to do that twice because the first fix didn’t last 24 hours. I also had to pay for the permanent work done 2 weeks later. Within 3 weeks, damage was around $2k.

18 reddog

My furnace broke in the middle of November, it was getting down to the 40’s in the house at night so we had to get it fixed (2 month old baby can’t be in the cold like that) so it was $300 to fix the furnace. Then it ran out of fuel anyway, so there was another $500 since when it broke it used up over 100 gallons of fuel in 3 days… The fuel situation was only an emergency because of the over-consumption we were not expecting to need fuel for a few more weeks, and had to use money from savings. It wouldn’t have been so bad if I hadn’t just had 6 weeks off of work un-paid for maternity leave at the time, which cut out all of my “spending savings”.

19 Brian

My wife had her blood pressure go nutty with 6 weeks to go in her pregnancy and we had to do an emergency c-section. So as a result my son spent 10 days in the NICU. Total bill for that came in around $75K… thank God we have solid health insurance so we only had to pay like $6K.

20 Monica

Typically, the unplanned things happen in threes for me. For example,in one month it was an expensive car repair ($1000), then it was an emergency visit to the vet ($500), followed by an unexpected medical bill ($300). We’ve been lucky for emergencies (unplanned expenses for which we have to dip into the emergency fund) not to go beyond a few thousand dollars.

21 Amanda

Probably when we needed a new roof after three years in our house (this was 10 years ago). It cost about $5500. We were able to scramble around and pay for it with ALL the cash we had plus a credit card that we paid off the next month…but it was tight.

Shortly after that I convinced my husband that an EF was the way to go. Since then, when bad things happen (car wreck, dog dying after 2 expensive days in doggie ICU) they have not been emergencies. They are just rotten things that we have the money to pay for without worrying about it.

22 Zach Turner

Had a snowboarding accident. The airlift off the mountain alone cost $6,000!

23 Penguin

Six months after graduating college and starting work, I had to have a root canal and crown on a tooth. All together it was about $2000. Luckily, I had the money since I was still living like a poor college student even though I didn’t need to.

24 HoustonVisitor

I was in the middle of moving to a new place and I was now the owner of 2 homes. I didn’t want to put my old place on the market until I had moved out. My mom needed a heart valve repair operation and neither of us lived in Houston. So I flew to Houston and stayed in a motel for about 20 days near the hospital. Then I helped my mom get back to her home and I stayed for a bit and then I returned home and back to work. I don’t get paid for family leave so between carrying 2 homes and no pay for a month and airfare and motel, [ not going to count food as I was going to eat anyway ;-) ] … I’m going to say that emergency cost me: $8400.

25 Megan

Somewhat recent pet emergency – urgent issue that required an overnight at the emergency vet. All in with follow up treatment was about $1700. (Pet is fine now!)

26 Mary M

Biggest emergency expense averted $3440 transmission replacement, paid $50 out of pocket for MaxCare plan deductible. Traded the car a few months later and even got a $900 refund back from the price I paid for the plan – which originally cost $1899. Made money on that decision.

27 Rebecca

over 4 months in 2012 my son needed over 100K in emergency and inpatient psychiatric care. He was 6 at the time. Over time insurance picked up some, but all of our savings is gone and credit cards were maxed out again. I don’t even know how much extra we spent in travel as my father had a stroke while my son was in the hospital over easter. We are slowly rebuilding our finances again.

But he is doing very well and is an incredibly happy almost 8 yr old now! Thank you Jesus!

28 Whitney

I’ve had a lot of emergencies but the most expensive is when my 10 week old puppy, Daisy Lou, broke her leg. I paid $700 for the puppy, $649 for health insurance. She broke her leg and the emergency vet was $333. The health insurance did not cover a broken leg, not simply b/c it wasn’t covered but b/c technically there was not a doctor at that particular office that could operate on broken bones. I had to replace the cast several times b/c 1) puppies are full of energy so casts fall off easy and 2) b/c my other 6 month old puppy kept trying to pull it off. Each time I replaced a cast it was $333. Daisy Lou ended up needing surgery to have her leg heal properly. Then another surgery to have the plate removed. By the time this puppy was 6 months old I had spent $5000. Now, some say (jokingly) I should have put her to sleep and gone back to the breeder and gotten another. Even if I wasn’t so attached there was no way I could have done that b/c she didn’t have a disease she had a fixable problem. The whole thing was just a shame. Despite the broken leg she grew very well and is a beautiful dog. I just love her to pieces. She is my $5000 boxer.

29 Kate

20k. A car in a place with no public transit, and strict environmental standards for vehicles (no cars older than three years, for example)

It hurt.

30 Mo D.

$1000 car repair; thank goodness for emergency funds!!!

31 Cerri

Nearly back to back ER visits + 2 weeks stays for my SO during a medical emergency. AFTER INSURANCE it was 8k and 11k and 6 months of him out of work (loss of over $12000 income). Absolutely would not wish it on anyone!

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