What Are Common Types of Unexpected Expenses?

Whether it’s a medical emergency, a car breakdown, or a burst pipe, the unexpected can cause a strain on your budget and your daily routine. Planning can help you be better prepared for unexpected expenses, including knowing what options may help you budget during an emergency.

a young woman calculates expenses on her laptop

There are several common unexpected expenses that can catch you off guard. Unexpected expenses can include:

Household Expenses:
  • Plumbing or Electrical Emergencies
  • Appliance Repair or Replacement
Auto Expenses:
  • Breakdowns
  • Replacement Parts and Repairs
  • Car Accidents
Medical Expenses:
  • Accidents and Injuries
  • Illness
  • Hospitalization
  • Hospice Care
Family and Other Expenses:
  • Job Loss and Unemployment
  • Funerals
  • Pet Emergencies and Vet Bills
  • School Tuition and Fees
  • College Tuition and Fees
  • Tax Increases
Natural Disaster Expenses:
  • Fire
  • Flood
  • Tornado
  • Hurricane
  • Ice Storms and Blizzards

No matter what category your situation might fall into, any unexpected expense can stretch your budget past your comfort zone. Planning can help you feel more secure when an unexpected expense occurs and allow you to explore some of your budgeting options without feeling pressured to make a split-second decision.

How to Budget for Unexpected Expenses

Budgeting for the unexpected can seem difficult because there are so many variables and unknowns about the future. However, getting started doesn’t have to require a significant change in your savings habits.

Emergency Fund

If you don’t have an emergency fund established already, consider setting one up to cover unexpected expenses.

A general rule of thumb for an emergency fund is to save up enough money to cover two to three months of your expenses. If you don’t have an emergency fund or you haven’t yet saved up as much as you’d like, we’re here to help. Check out our emergency fund savings calculator to help you figure out a savings plan that’s tailored to your finances.

If you’re a Huntington customer, you can also take advantage of our Savings Goal Getter tool to help with establishing an emergency fund and meeting any other savings goals. You can also take advantage of Money Scout®, our automatic savings tool that analyzes your spending habits, income and expenses to find money that hasn't been used in your checking account--from $5 to $50--then automatically moves it from your checking to your savings account.

Preventative Measures

Taking preventative measures and planning can help you better prepare for unexpected expenses. Does your employer offer medical coverage? Opting in could help you cover emergency healthcare costs and hospitalization bills. Have a four-legged friend? Signing up for a pet insurance plan could help you afford to cover vet bills in an emergency. Even routine maintenance on your home and car can help avoid costly repairs, breakdowns, or replacements in the future. Spending a little extra cash on upkeep and prevention could help save money in the long run.

Borrowing for Unexpected Expenses

If you have an emergency and find that you haven’t yet saved up enough cash to cover the cost, it can feel stressful. Making the decision to borrow money to cover unexpected expenses can seem daunting. But make sure you take the time to explore all borrowing options that might be right for you. Every lender has different requirements and qualifications, so check with your bank or credit union to explore your individual options. A few common options you might consider for unexpected expenses are lines of credit and short-term loans.

Lines of Credit

A line of credit allows you to borrow money within a predetermined credit limit. This can be a valuable option for covering unexpected expenses when you aren’t sure how much an emergency might cost upfront. Repayment plans can vary depending on the lender, so make sure to note whether you will need to pay back the borrowed amount with a lump sum or by making payments over time.

If you’re a Huntington customer and need to cover unexpected expenses, Standby Cash might be a solution for you.

Standby Cash Need Extra Cash? We’re Here to Help!

Here’s a fact—sometimes money gets tight. Big expenses, small expenses, they can add up. That’s why Huntington invented Standby CashΩΩ. Huntington keeps extra cash on standby for our customers. You can qualify for Standby Cash based primarily on your checking and deposit history, not your credit score.

Learn More

Standby Cash is a line of credit that could be available to you right now. Log into your Huntington account online or in the mobile app to see if you qualify. You could access between $100 and $1,000 in just a few clicks. And it’s free (meaning zero interest) when you set up automatic payments, otherwise a 1% monthly interest charge (12% APR) applies to your outstanding balance.

To qualify for Standby Cash, you need a personal checking account with consistent monthly deposits of $750 or more for three consecutive months. With Standby Cash, your credit score does not impact your access and once your approved within a few clicks online it is available for immediate use. Once you open Standby Cash, the account and your activity are reported to credit reporting agencies, so your use could positively or negatively affect your credit score.

While Standby Cash is not overdraft protection, Huntington customers can leverage it to help clear up an overdraft. If you hold an overdraft for more than one day, you become ineligible for Standby Cash. So, make sure to keep an eye on your finances to possibly avoid an overdraft before it happens and so you can take advantage of every opportunity to quickly remedy an overdraft when it occurs§.

Short-Term Loans

Short-term loans may allow you to borrow a lump sum that you pay back over time with interest. It can be a quick way to access cash, which could come in handy for covering unexpected expenses. You can typically access a couple hundred to few thousand dollars with a short-term loan, depending on your needs, qualifications, and lender. Qualifications vary by lender, so consider their requirements, interest rates, and repayment plans when applying.

Creating and maintaining a savings plan for unexpected expenses can help keep your finances on track when accidents and emergencies put a strain on your budget. When you bank with Huntington, you have access to digital banking programs and tools that can help you meet your goals.

Related Content

Emergency Funds: How Much Should You Save?

Huntington Bank explains how you can build an emergency fund and why you may need one. Learn how much you should consider saving for emergencies and where to keep the money.

Read more

Checking & Savings Account Benefits & Features

With a Huntington account get access to tools and services to have a healthier relationship with your money. Overdraft forgiveness, $50 safety zone, Standby Cash and more!

Read more

Savings Goal Getter and Standby Cash are service marks of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated. Standby Cash is patent pending. Money Scout® is a federally registered service mark of Huntington Bancshares Incorporated.

Money Scout automatically schedules transfers from your selected checking account and credits your selected savings account. A money market account (MMA) cannot be a selected savings account for use with Money Scout. A scheduled transfer may be canceled before midnight ET on the day it is scheduled. Transfer amounts and frequency may vary and will reduce the money available in your account to cover other transactions. You are responsible for ensuring your account has sufficient funds. You may be charged overdraft fees if your account falls below $0. Subject to eligibility, terms and conditions, and other account agreements.

ΩΩ Subject to terms and conditions and other account agreements. Available through online banking or the Huntington Mobile app to individuals with an active consumer checking account open at least three months with consistent monthly deposit activity of $750 or more. Other eligibility requirements apply. Amount available through Standby Cash is subject to change based on changes to customer eligibility, including checking and deposit activity, overdrafts, and daily balances. A 1% monthly interest charge (12% APR) will be added to outstanding balances if automatic payments are not scheduled. If 100% of the approved credit line is drawn three months in a row, Standby Cash will be suspended until it’s paid to a zero balance. When any of your Huntington deposit accounts are in an overdraft status for more than one day, your Standby Cash line will be suspended until they are no longer negative. Business checking accounts are not eligible for Standby Cash.

§ Standby Cash may only be used to fix an overdraft while 24-Hour Grace® is in effect. If any of your checking or deposit accounts remain overdrawn for more than one day, your access to Standby Cash will be suspended. Once your accounts are no longer overdrawn, your access to Standby Cash may be reinstated.

The information provided in this document is intended solely for general informational purposes and is provided with the understanding that neither Huntington, its affiliates nor any other party is engaging in rendering financial, legal, technical or other professional advice or services, or endorsing any third-party product or service. Any use of this information should be done only in consultation with a qualified and licensed professional who can take into account all relevant factors and desired outcomes in the context of the facts surrounding your particular circumstances. The information in this document was developed with reasonable care and attention. However, it is possible that some of the information is incomplete, incorrect, or inapplicable to particular circumstances or conditions. NEITHER HUNTINGTON NOR ITS AFFILIATES SHALL HAVE LIABILITY FOR ANY DAMAGES, LOSSES, COSTS OR EXPENSES (DIRECT, CONSEQUENTIAL, SPECIAL, INDIRECT OR OTHERWISE) RESULTING FROM USING, RELYING ON OR ACTING UPON INFORMATION IN THIS DOCUMENT EVEN IF HUNTINGTON AND/OR ITS AFFILIATES HAVE BEEN ADVISED OF OR FORESEEN THE POSSIBILITY OF SUCH DAMAGES, LOSSES, COSTS OR EXPENSES.