What Are Common Types of Unexpected Expenses?

Read Time: 4 Min

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 $1,000 or more in monthly deposits to a Huntington personal checking account for three consecutive months, and an average daily balance of $200 or more in your checking account. Other eligibility requirements apply, including your recent overdraft and/or return historyΩΩ. 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 believe you are going to overdraw your account, you can use Standby Cash and make a transfer to prevent the overdraft from occurring. If you had an overdraft for more than 24 hours, you become ineligible to use Standby Cash until your account is no longer negativeΩΩ. So, make sure to keep an eye on your finances and avoid overdraft and return transactions.

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

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

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 -$50. Subject to eligibility, terms and conditions, and other account agreements.

ΩΩ Standby Cash is subject to terms and conditions and other account agreements. A 1% monthly interest charge (12% Annual Percentage Rate) will be added to outstanding balances if automatic payments are not scheduled. Available through online banking or the Huntington Mobile app to individuals with an active consumer checking account with at least three months of consistent deposit activity of $1,000 or more, and an average daily balance over the last 30 days of $200 or more. An active or recent bankruptcy or other legal process may disqualify you. Other eligibility requirements apply, including your recent overdraft and/or return history, regardless of whether you are charged overdraft or return fees or they are waived with our 24-Hour Grace® and $50 Safety ZoneSM services. We reserve the right to change eligibility criteria at any time. Line amount and/or ongoing availability may vary based on changes to your deposit activity, average daily balance, and number and length of overdrafts and/or returns on any of your Huntington deposit accounts. When any of your Huntington deposit accounts are in an overdraft status for more than one day, your Standby Cash line may be suspended until they are no longer negative. If 90% or more 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. Business checking accounts are not eligible for Standby Cash.

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.