Think you live in a safe neighborhood? Whether it’s a result of dropping your guard in familiar territory or inevitable due to frequency, most car accidents tend to happen within just a few miles of home.
You don’t have to be near your house for an accident to hit close to home, in another sense. We all know how much a fender bender can ruin your day. But what do you do when you’re at fault in an accident that could potentially ruin your financial stability?
Don’t let down your guard when you’re on the final stretch home. And don’t leave home again without reviewing these four tips protecting your finances in case you’re ever responsible for an accident.
Tip No. 1: ‘Right-Size’ Your Auto Insurance
They essentially mean the same thing, but there’s one critical distinction between “responsibility” and “liability” when it comes to auto accidents. It’s OK if you’re responsible for a car accident, as long as there’s an insurance company that’s liable for it.
Liability insurance is as essential as wearing a seatbelt when operating an automobile, because it can help you protect your assets if you’re ever responsible for property damage or bodily harm.
You need to choose enough liability coverage to pay any damages you might incur in an at-fault accident. But if you’re paying too much for auto insurance, you might be tempted to choose a low dollar amount of liability insurance.
When’s the last time you checked car insurance prices?
You should shop your options every six months or so — it could save you some serious money. But don’t waste your time hopping around to different insurance companies looking for a better deal.
Use a website called EverQuote to see all your options at once.
EverQuote is the largest online marketplace for insurance in the US, so you’ll get the top options from more than 175 different carriers handed right to you.
Take a couple of minutes to answer some questions about yourself and your driving record. With this information, EverQuote will be able to give you the top recommendations for car insurance. In just a few minutes, you could save up to $610 a year.
Tip No. 2: Cover Your Life, Not Just Your Car
Let’s just say it. Death, death, death — it’s an uncomfortable word to use, and it’s a topic many of us would rather skirt.
While it’s inevitable our time will come someday, there are preparations we can make now to help our loved ones cope in a world without us.
While there are exceptions, typically debt doesn’t disappear when you die.
Have you thought about how your family would manage without your income after you’re gone? How they’ll pay the bills? Send the kids through school?
Life insurance can help you leave money behind for your loved ones. In many states, this money is protected from lawsuits.
So now you’re probably thinking: I don’t have the time or money for life insurance. But your application can take minutes — and you could leave your family up to $1 million with a company called Bestow.
Rates start at just $16 a month. The peace of mind knowing your family is taken care of is priceless.
If you’re under the age of 54 and want to get a fast life insurance quote without a medical exam or even getting up from the couch, get a free quote from Bestow.
Tip No. 3: Gas Up Your Emergency Savings
It’s probably not likely you’ll want to tap your emergency savings to pay out a settlement if you’re at fault in an auto accident, unless the damages owed are minor. But being without a car, even temporarily, can be expensive. That’s where your emergency savings could help.
You’ve probably heard the best way to grow your money is to stick it in a savings account and leave it there for, well, ever. That’s bad advice, especially if you’re just trying to start an emergency fund or nurture a fledgling savings account.
Maybe you’re just looking for a place to safely stash it away — but still earn money. Under your mattress or in a safe will get you nothing. And a typical savings account won’t do you much better. (Ahem, 0.06% is nothing these days.)
But a debit card called Aspiration lets you earn up to 5% cashback and up to 16 times the average interest on the money in your account.
Not too shabby!
Enter your email address here, and link your bank account to see how much extra cash you can get with your free Aspiration account. And don’t worry. Your money is FDIC insured and under a military-grade encryption. That’s nerd talk for “this is totally safe.”
Tip No. 4: Carpool Your Debt with Consolidation and Refinancing
Personal loans aren’t just for bougie people who want to update every surface in their kitchen with massive granite slabs, status seekers who really shouldn’t be buying that car on that salary or the “all gas, no brakes” types that rack up massive amounts of credit card debt.
Personal loans are just that — lines of credit offered for a wide variety of personal reasons. There aren’t many better uses for a personal loan than keeping a personal injury lawyer from turning your life into a massive estate sale.
If you need a personal loan up to $250,000, a website called Fiona can match you with a low-interest loan you can use to pay off every balance you have. The benefit? You’re left with just one bill to pay every month, and because the interest rate is so much lower, you can get out of debt so much faster. Plus, no credit card payment this month.
If your credit score is at least 620, Fiona can help you borrow up to $250,000 (no collateral needed) with fixed rates starting at 2.49% and terms from 6 to 144 months.
Fiona won’t make you stand in line or call a bank. And if you’re worried you won’t qualify, it’s free to check online. It takes just two minutes, and it could save you thousands of dollars. Totally worth it.
This was originally published on The Penny Hoarder, which helps millions of readers worldwide earn and save money by sharing unique job opportunities, personal stories, freebies and more. The Inc. 5000 ranked The Penny Hoarder as the fastest-growing private media company in the U.S. in 2017.