The True Cost of a Car Accident
At best, car accidents are a pain and inconvenience. They can make you late to work or an appointment, leave you without a vehicle, or increase your insurance premium. In a worst case scenario, they can cause personal injury or death.
According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration, the total impact of car crashes in the United States tops out at approximately $836 billion each year. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reported that the total cost of car crash related deaths in Texas—including medical costs and economic losses—was $4.89 billion in 2013.
The cost of a car accident is more than fixing a damaged vehicle, though. The true, and sometimes hidden, costs of an accident include much, much more.
Vehicle Repair and Car Rental
Getting into a car crash can be complicated. Who is at fault, if you are both insured, what type of insurance you have, and the age of your car all become factors in determining who pays for what and when. Ideally, one of your insurers would pick up the tab for fixing the vehicle and other related expenses, but if one or both of you don’t have comprehensive collision coverage, you can end up with higher out-of-pocket costs. Even if you have comprehensive collision coverage, if you make the claim on your insurance, you will at least have to pay the plan’s deductible.
Depending on how long the vehicle will be at the mechanic’s, you may need a rental car to get to work, attend doctor’s appointments, and take care of other day-to-day errands. A rental car can cost $20 to $40 per day. This may also be an expense that comes out of your pocket.
If your vehicle is completely totaled, you must think about replacing it. Consider how much money you will receive from the insurance company, if you have a loan to pay off, and how much you can afford to spend on a new or used car. All of these factors will dictate what kind of replacement car you will be able to get.
In the unfortunate instance where you and/or your passenger(s) are injured during an auto accident and need emergency medical attention, costs can add up fast. There’s an ambulance ride, then an emergency room visit, admittance into the hospital, surgery, an overnight stay, prescriptions, follow-up appointments, and the list could go on and on for an indefinite period of time.
Additionally, car accidents—even non-injury ones—can leave drivers and passengers with whiplash and achy bodies. Appointments with a physical therapist, chiropractor, or massage therapist may be necessary to get you feeling back to normal. Typically, these types of appointments are completely out-of-pocket expenses.
If you are not afforded paid time off from your employer for sick days or to take care of personal issues, this can be another high cost for people in auto accidents. You might miss work because of the accident itself, hospitalization, appearing in court, meeting with a personal injury lawyer, or to go to follow up medical appointments. Lost wages can have a negative impact on replacing a vehicle, paying for day-to-day items, and covering household bills.
According to a recent study, making a single claim on your car insurance can causes an average premium increase of 41%. This type of increase could make owning a vehicle cost prohibitive and stress other important parts of your budget.
In some cases, if you are not at fault for the accident, your rates should not be affected.
While no one can prevent all car wrecks, everyone can help by taking a few steps to ensure the safety of themselves, their passengers, and and others on the road:
- Don’t drive distracted by talking on the phone or texting
- Don’t drive after drinking alcohol
- Keep both hands on the wheel
- Always wear a seatbelt
- Make sure children are in the correct car seat or booster seat for their age and size
- Obey traffic signals and speed limits
- Anticipate what other drivers will do
- Build an emergency fund to help cover unexpected expenses such as vehicle repairs or car accidents
If You Need Us, We’re Here: Hossley & Embry
We know how devastating car accidents can be. If you or a loved one has been injured in a car accident or is experiencing the residual effects of one, please call Hossley & Embry at (866) 522-9265. You can also fill out a convenient online form, and we will be in touch promptly. We offer free consultations, and we have the resources available (including charter aircraft) to travel throughout Texas and the United States on short notice to investigate your potential claim.
Cost of auto crashes & statistics. (2016, May 30). Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. Retrieved from http://www.rmiia.org/auto/traffic_safety/Cost_of_crashes.asp
Making one auto insurance claim can drive up your rate by up to 76 percent. (2015, January 27). Insurance Quotes. Retrieved from http://www.insurancequotes.com/auto/one-auto-insurance-claim-rate-increase
New NHTSA study shows motor vehicle crashes have $836 billion economic and societal impact on U.S. Citizens. (2014, May 28). National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. Retrieved from http://www.nhtsa.gov/About+NHTSA/Press+Releases/2014/NHTSA-study-shows-vehicle-crashes-have-$836-billion-impact-on-U.S.-economy,-society
Staggering toll: Car crashes cost $871 billion a year. (2014, May 29). USA Today. Retrieved from http://www.usatoday.com/story/news/nation/2014/05/29/steep-economic-toll-of-crashes/9715893/