Preparation is important in a life that’s full of uncertainties. We prepare for tests and college admittance exams. We prepare for meetings. We prepare for vacations.
People prepare for so much in life when we know something is on the horizon, but unfortunately few of us fully prepare for the unknown. We know an injury or accident can happen at any time, but it’s something that few people want to think about. That aversion overrides preparation.
The San Diego legal team at SeriousAccidents.com sees this scenario play out everyday. As an experienced personal injury lawyer Michael Pines has worked with many people who are struggling to make ends meet because they can’t work after an injury or accident. “Even if an accident was caused by someone else and the person has a good case, settling a lawsuit can take months,” says Mr. Pines.
Every family needs to prepare financially for a major injury or accident so they can survive when income isn’t coming in to cover bills. Here are suggestions that Mr. Pines shares with his clients on how to start creating an emergency fund and financial safety nets.
Save a Little Every Month
A little can go a long way in your savings account. Saving for emergencies is an essential part of any household budget. Unfortunately, it’s often the last thing that gets factored in. Below are a few ways you can make saving a priority and start building a sizable emergency fund.
- Make an automatic, monthly withdrawal from your checking account to a savings account every month
- Divert a part of your paycheck to a savings account. That way you are never tempted to use the savings for something else
- Find one or two discretionary purchases that are regularly made each month and forgo them so that money can go towards savings
- Set savings goals – When you set a goal it keeps you focused and more invested in saving
- Use an app like Mint to track your progress and get a better idea of where you can save more money each month
- If you refinance a loan add the amount you save every month into a savings account.
Have the Right Insurance
Insurance was created to help people prepare for the unexpected. Basic coverage is just the start of what insurance can offer. To make sure you’re fully covered, consider the options below:
Health insurance is now a must, which is a good thing. Medical bills have long been the number one cause of bankruptcies in the U.S. But no two health insurance plans are exactly alike. The monthly premiums are important, but if there’s a serious injury the out-of-pocket maximum becomes the biggest factor. This can range from less than $1,000 to well over $10,000 for family insurance plans.
You’ll also have to pay close attention to what is covered by your plan. While most medical needs are covered you may be limited on where and who you can receive treatments from if you want insurance to cover the cost.
In the event that the worst happens, is your family prepared to survive on one income or none at all for even a month? Life insurance is designed to help people cover the cost of funeral arrangements (which are $6,600 on average), but it can also provide financial support. For people that are in good health life insurance is relatively affordable, however the monthly premium will depend on the payout. To make sure you are secure, the payout should cover the funeral costs and at least one year of salary.
This type of insurance is used expressly to cover financial costs after an injury or accident that leaves you unable to work. Policies can cover both short-term and long-term disability so you have paycheck protection as long as you need it. For anyone that is self-employed disability insurance is a must because you won’t have worker’s comp like traditional employees. But even salaried employees can benefit from disability insurance if they are injured while they aren’t at work.
Auto insurance is required in every state except New Hampshire, but the level of coverage is usually the bare minimum. Many states, including California, only require that a driver have $15,000 in bodily injury coverage per person. It’s always recommended that drivers get the highest level of coverage that they can afford. If you are on the road a lot for work it’s even more important than your own auto insurance can cover the cost of major injuries after a serious accident.
Being prepared for an accident or injury is an investment in your family’s financial security. You hope that you never actually need it, but you have peace of mind knowing you have a safety net for life’s uncertainties.