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Your Most Expensive "Emergency"?
Old 06-08-2016, 07:56 AM   #1
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Your Most Expensive "Emergency"?

There have been several threads relating to emergency funds and such. As I sit here and type this, I am having a very large hardwood tree removed to the tune of about $3,000. Granted, this is not really an "emergency" expenditure for us but it got me thinking about what would be a true emergency and how much that might cost. I figure that housewise, the most I would be looking at would be maybe $7-10K for complete AC replacement. Most other high costs would be covered by insurance. So...I am thinking the highest expense that I might have to cover would be dental work.

Anyway...what is the largest unexpected (emergency) expense have you had to cover? So far, I am going with $7,000 for roof replacement (not really unexpected but our timeline got moved up when it started leaking in more than 2 spots).
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:23 AM   #2
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Ours was around $35K in medical expenses when my son broke his arm. That was our share of the total cost after 3 surgeries and 3 months of intravenous antibiotic treatment, and included a fair amount of travel. We didn't have that much and were extremely fortunate that my employer gave us an interest free loan.
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:45 AM   #3
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Hurricane Ike - probably $10K - several thousand in tree work, plus damage to the roof and my $4K standby generator got hit by lighting

easily could have been worse, insurance covered part of it but I had a $6K tropical cyclone deductible


New roof on rental house last year was $7K


Sump installation in basement two years ago was $7K


I guess I spend $7K a year on "emergencies" - I'm looking at a $6500 mustang right now that I'm calling an emergency too
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:53 AM   #4
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Ours was around $35K in medical expenses when my son broke his arm. That was our share of the total cost after 3 surgeries and 3 months of intravenous antibiotic treatment, and included a fair amount of travel. We didn't have that much and were extremely fortunate that my employer gave us an interest free loan.
Wow...$35K is a significant amount. I am very thankful that we have EXCELLENT insurance and would most likely not be out of pocket more than $10K a year but, never say never!
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Old 06-08-2016, 08:55 AM   #5
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Wow...$35K is a significant amount.
yep, that's a true emergency - I hope he had a good recovery
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:04 AM   #6
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Vanguard says that a good size for an emergency fund, is enough to cover 3-6 months' expenses. Or, more during a recession, if employed in a high risk industry, if income isn't steady, or if retired with assets in volatile investments.

I think that's about right and it is consistent with my emergency fund balances in the past. Truthfully I'm not sure what my biggest unexpected/emergency expense was.
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:06 AM   #7
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A driveway replacement, $10K on my own home. Not a true emergency, but certainly necessary. Over 25-30 years, it's not much. A $12K parking lot replacement on a rental.

I am replacing two furnaces next week, ~$4K total. One at my own home, another $2K in August.

Next year, estimated taxes... Another large bill 4x a year.

It comes and goes faster than you expect...
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:24 AM   #8
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Right after I left my full time employment(not FIRED) I had to have 2 root canals and 2 crowns with no insurance. I think it cost nearly $4K which is about 1/4 of my typical annual expenses. I think from now on I may just have to tooth pulled and leave a hole unless it's a front tooth. The only large expense I see in the foreseeable future would be an expensive car repair like a new transmission. I can't think of anything else where a four figure+ expense is even possible. My max OOP is $500 and I don't expect to own a home after July 1st.
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:30 AM   #9
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I think from now on I may just have to tooth pulled and leave a hole unless it's a front tooth.
are you serious?
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:33 AM   #10
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A basement wall caved in. First guy suggested 50k then said he wanted nothing to do with it and took off(he did suggest arson). Found an expert on basement repair who wanted to stay warm for the month of December, he did it for 13k.
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:34 AM   #11
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I had one tree die on my property line, and a storm could have dropped it on my neighbor's $1 million house. The tree surgeon came and cut a 30" tree on the other side of my lot--instead of the right tree. I paid another tree guy $1K to take the tree down piece by piece.

Then I had another tree die and it couldn't be dropped without taking down an overhead electrical line. It took a crane to take it down piece by piece.

Another tree at my old house was hanging over the house, and it had to be carefully taken down piece by piece. Two alcoholic down and out tree guys dropped it for $350 but I had to haul away the tree.

We see roof mold on houses all over the place. Owners are replacing the roofs because they're unsightly, but the roofs aren't leaking and are still servicable.

I would think the roof on my new house would be $12K or more to replace.
It's steep, very tall and the back side is probably 28' to the gutters.

One relatively new medium size HVAC system was installed prior to my buying our house.. The second medium size unit is 15 years old and running on borrowed time for my fully finished basement. Fortunately I seldom have to run it--cool enough down there already. It'd cost $6K to replace.

People need to have a separate savings account to accrue money for such expenses, and they should put in a set amount monthly into it.
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:36 AM   #12
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Had a power outage in the heart area a couple years ago - woke up to a year or so of bills coming in that were in the $150k area. Kaiser Permanente ended up covering all but a tiny amount after sending about a 6" thick file worth of bills and re-bills to us. My gal does do documentation and just kept banging away till it was all cleared up. Kinda stressful in the interim though.

The good thing our lifestyle is that there really haven't been any emergency expenditures - unexpected, yes, but thus far nothing we couldn't cover.
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:40 AM   #13
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Originally Posted by aaronc879 View Post
Right after I left my full time employment(not FIRED) I had to have 2 root canals and 2 crowns with no insurance. I think it cost nearly $4K which is about 1/4 of my typical annual expenses. I think from now on I may just have to tooth pulled and leave a hole unless it's a front tooth. The only large expense I see in the foreseeable future would be an expensive car repair like a new transmission. I can't think of anything else where a four figure+ expense is even possible. My max OOP is $500 and I don't expect to own a home after July 1st.
Wow...hate to hear about the dental work. I have some concerns with this since my mother has had the worst luck with dental health even though she has been going WAY above and beyond in trying to keep them healthy. But...I do what I can. Floss everyday, semi-annual cleanings. I don't think there is much more I can do.

As for a car, we have two and only really need one. So, I don't think I would ever have a car emergency unless they both were out of commission at the same time (unlikely). *IF* they both blew up and had to replace one, then I we would probably get something about 5 years old and quite utilitarian in nature (like a Civic or something similar) so it certainly wouldn't break the bank.
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:40 AM   #14
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are you serious?
Yes, i'm serious. I'm not rich like you. If it's a back tooth, it doesn't need to be replaced. I have more money than the average american but I still only have very low six-figures. I'm not going to spend $2K every single time I lose a tooth. That's for rich people like you.
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:47 AM   #15
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Here are some related E-R threads.

Unexpected Expenses?
Unexpected expenses after ER
Unexpected expenses
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:47 AM   #16
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I guess you could catagorize this as an emergency.

$25,000 for daughter's funeral expenses. She passed away unexpectedly at 22 years old, one month from finishing college. She had no student debt as we paid for the four years and she had a job.
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:52 AM   #17
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HAving my deck rebuilt. Though I could have a few boards replaced but the contractor made a lot of sense. Replace a few boards this year....a few more next year, etc. etc. Since we will live here at least another 10 years....decided to tear it down and rebuild the deck. Cost was $10,000. Glad I did it. Looks beautiful.
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:54 AM   #18
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I guess you could catagorize this as an emergency.

$25,000 for daughter's funeral expenses. She passed away unexpectedly at 22 years old, one month from finishing college. She had no student debt as we paid for the four years and she had a job.

Wow. Obviously don't know you ....but deep condolences. We come on here to talk finances, retirement, etc. but your post puts it all in perspective. God bless.
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Old 06-08-2016, 09:56 AM   #19
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I guess you could catagorize this as an emergency.

$25,000 for daughter's funeral expenses. She passed away unexpectedly at 22 years old, one month from finishing college. She had no student debt as we paid for the four years and she had a job.
Sorry for your loss. I suppose my parents had the same cost for my sister's funeral in 1986. She was only 18 and had a full academic scholly to OU. It was a huge blow to our family.
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Old 06-08-2016, 10:21 AM   #20
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Yes, i'm serious. I'm not rich like you. If it's a back tooth, it doesn't need to be replaced. I have more money than the average american but I still only have very low six-figures. I'm not going to spend $2K every single time I lose a tooth. That's for rich people like you.
rich in what manner? that's kind of presumptuous
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