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The 4 Most Common Unexpected Expenses and How to Plan for Them

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Frustrated man (Photo: @beachbumledford via Twenty20)
Unexpected expenses are a huge headache for anyone living on a budget. These expenses make it hard to pay for bills and do the things you want in life. Fortunately, you can plan ahead and try to prepare yourself for when these expenses pop up—and they definitely will at some point! Here are some of the most common types of unexpected expenses and what you can do to plan for them.

1. Car Problems

There’s more to owning a car than just getting in and driving. Eventually, you’ll have to have the oil changed or the tires rotated. Plus, as your car eventually begins to break down, as all cars do, repair expenses will pop up.
For unexpected breakdowns, one option is to see if the part is covered under the vehicle’s warranty. If you’re in an accident and have collision coverage, then your insurance should pay to have your car repaired.
There’s also mechanical breakdown insurance, which is designed for an older car that might not have collision coverage due to its value. Usually, this type of insurance will cost anywhere between $300 to a few thousand a year, depending on the make, model, and year of the car.

2. Medical Emergencies

While most people plan when they’re going to the doctor or need to have medical procedures, this isn’t always possible. Various medical emergencies, such as a burst appendix or a car accident, among others, happen regardless of whether we want them to or not.
And while the simple way to avoid unexpected medical emergencies is to take steps not to get sick, medical emergencies are often unplanned. One of the best ways to protect yourself is to have health insurance. Even though there are still costs associated with health coverage, they’re nowhere near as much than if you have no insurance at all.
A specific type of coverage is catastrophic health insurance. Catastrophic health insurance is designed to protect you in an emergency. And while such insurance won’t cover basic care, if you feel you need it, it could be worth the expense and give you peace of mind.

3. Unplanned Home Expenses

A major home repair can really put a dent in your savings. But for home owners without any savings, an unexpected home expense can be devastating. Many experts recommend setting aside 1% of your home’s purchase price each year to put toward home repairs.
In lieu of this, the easiest way to avoid costly home repairs is to perform yearly home maintenance. This hopefully will allow you the opportunity to catch a potential problem early and fix it before it can become a more costly repair later.
In addition, investing in a good home warranty can help protect you if an appliance or system breaks down and needs repair or replacement. Depending on the number of appliances you want to provide coverage for, a home warranty will cost you between $350 and $600 a year.
Homeowner’s insurance can also provide a safeguard depending on the type or repair. Many homeowner’s insurance policies will pay to repair damage from covered perils. In addition, if your area is prone to earthquakes or flooding, you should consider adding separate insurance for those as well.

4. Sick Pets

Many people who have pets consider them a part of their family. So, when they get sick, pet owners will rush them off to the vet for treatment. Of course, this costs money and can actually cost quite a lot, in the thousands of dollars range, depending on what’s wrong.
There is really no way to account for a sick pet. Some pets just get sick, and the older they get, the more chance they have of suffering from unexpected illness. Short of keeping them out of harm’s way, there’s little you can do to protect them from the normal aging process.
One thing you can do to try and mitigate pet care costs is negotiate with your vet on your pet’s bill. And, you can also buy pet insurance, which is designed to pay for your pet’s veterinary care to keep them healthy. While most people insure a dog or cat, there are also plans designed for birds, reptiles, and other types of pets.