October 24, 2016

A “Loan” from the Emergency Fund

Yesterday was a normal day until we got inside our truck.   I noticed a huge crack running across the front windshield.   It started on the bottom right corner (passenger side) pointing up, then curved across toward the left, ending on the driver’s side.   We never saw anything hit the windshield or any point of impact.  It just cracked.  I researched the internet for clues on what might have caused it.  Most of the articles indicated that even a small pebble hitting the windshield can cause a chip as small as a pencil dot that can grow into a large crack.  Temperature changes seem to aggravate cracks.  It was about 100 degrees outside yesterday, and the car was sitting in a parking lot for about an hour when it happened.

Now we have to spend money to get the windshield replaced, as this could be a safety hazard.  Estimates so far are running around $400-$500.  Insurance might cover it, but the cost of a windshield replacement is below our deductible.  I am still shopping around for a vendor that will give the best price with the most quality.

I few years ago I would have easily charged the credit card to cover the unforeseen expense.  Now I have learned the hard way- this is why you need an emergency fund.  I hate to dip into it but I think this qualifies as an emergency expense.  Dave Ramsey recommends a $1000 emergency fund while paying off debts, and that is usually sufficient to cover most small emergencies.  However if you are trying to save for a financial collapse or even a period of unemployment it would have to be more.  I will consider this a “loan”against the emergency fund.  Thinking of it this way forces me to pay back what I have used up.


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10 Comments on A “Loan” from the Emergency Fund

  1. It is my understanding that regardless of one’s insurance deductible, that here in Pennsylvania, Erie (auto) Insurance will replace windshields absolutely free of charge as they consider damaged windshields a safety hazard.

    Otherwise, depending on the year, make and model of your truck, you might be able to find an intact windshield from a wrecking yard [ http://www.autop.com/ ] at a considerable savings. Good luck!

  2. Similarly, I have “borrowed” from savings to pay for something special such as a cruise vacation or other treat. I then pay off my loan from myself just like any other debt. This has worked well and prevents erosion of my future retirement money (not that retiring is on the radar screen any time soon, if ever).

    Be sure to check your insurance on the windshield. I believe that our policy also has a reduced deductible for windshield replacements.


    • Checked with the claims dept of my auto insurer – cracked windshield falls under the comprehensive. The deductible applies but is considered “no fault” Estimates are still under the deductible though.

  3. Sounds like a heat crack. I hope you can get it fixed acting on some of the tips people left you. I’m embarrassed to admit it, but in my state a cracked truck windshield is considered a fashion statement. Mine is cracked and it just stays that way.

    • LOL A good way of looking at it – a fashion statement! It may take us a while to get it fixed, while trying our time to get the best deal.

  4. ATH brings back some fond memories of all the vehicle “fashion statements/black eyes I’ve seen….maybe you could host a sub thread for a “worst crack in the windshield” photo contest.

    Love the contingency idea. Even though my wife and I are paying off CC debt, mortgage, and school loans, it’s always smart to have some cold hard cash in an account somewhere.

    We ended up creating sub accounts in our savings, entitled: Car, House, Health, and Property Tax–for their respective emergencies.

    Each one gets a meager allotment every month, but it’s pretty cool that our property taxes just came due and this time we have more than enough to cover it in the account…

    • Definitely hide some cash somewhere, separate from the savings sub accounts. That is cool you have more than enough to cover property taxes. CA is not a cheap place to live!

  5. It won’t help you now, but if you’re not with USAA and are eligible to use them, switch. I had a crack in my windshield and they fixed it free of charge. It doesn’t matter where you live with them.

    I had to learn the hard way about cracked windshields when I moved to OK. I was used to Florida where we rarely had hard freezes. I had a knick in my windshield that never spread until I moved to Stillwater, where some snow got in it, then melted the next day, then froze the next night and expanded inside the knick, causing it to spread. I didn’t do anything about it until it spread all the way across the windshield. I eventually had to pay to replace it.

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