Top 3 Reasons to Use Your Emergency fund

27 Oct

The majority of financial experts recommend having at least three to six months’ worth of expenses in an emergency fund in the event you have unexpected expenses that come up. However, once you have your emergency fund set up and funded, you will have to decide what constitutes an emergency and when is it ok to break into your emergency fund.

While every person will have a different definition of an emergency, the following three scenarios absolutely warrant breaking into your emergency fund:

Job loss or transition to a new career

This is probably the number one reason that people dig into their emergency fund. An unexpected job loss or transition to a new career can throw anyone’s budget into disarray. Unfortunately, the pandemic has pushed thousands of Americans into this position.

If your profession has a high turnover rate, for example, nurses, retail associates, workers in the food industry, accountants, and sales professionals, you may want to consider upping your emergency fund to 9 months to a year of expenses if possible. This will ensure that you have enough to cover any unexpected interruptions to your income. 

Regardless of how secure you think your job is, emergencies and unexpected unemployment can happen to just about anyone, as the pandemic has made all too clear. Always make sure you have an emergency fund ready for these situations and if you lose your job suddenly, do not hesitate to break open your emergency piggy bank.

Insurance deductibles 

If you have to make a claim on your auto or homeowners insurance, there is a good chance you will have to pay a deductible before your coverage kicks in and your insurer pays the balance. 

Deductibles on both homeowners and auto insurance can vary dramatically depending on your choices when you purchase the policy. Deductibles typically range from $250 up to $2,500 or higher and you will need to cover this expense before your insurer will pay out your claim which means you may have to dip into your emergency fund if you cannot cover the cost out of pocket. 

If you live in an area that is prone to severe storms your homeowners policy may have a percentage deductible for issues such as wind or hail damage. These types of deductibles can dramatically increase your expenses. As an example, if you are carrying $300,000 in homeowner coverage but have a 3% deductible for windstorm damage, your deductible would be $9,000 which you would have to cover before your insurer would pay out the balance of your claim. These types of costs may require you to break into your emergency fund.

Unexpected death

Much like an unexpected job loss, an unexpected death in your family can be devastating both emotionally and financially. Despite your loss, bills will continue to come and will have to be paid. Costs can quickly pile up, and you may now be trying to cover your monthly expenses on a smaller household income if the death was a family member that contributed to your household. 

Even if the deceased had a life insurance policy in place, insurers can take up to 60 days to pay a death benefit and if they must investigate it could be even longer before you receive a payout. An emergency fund can help make this type of situation less stressful and make sure you are able to cover your expenses while you adjust to your new situation. 

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