Personal loans, federally backed programs and more ways to cover a quick fix.
When your homeowners insurance doesn’t cover that leaky roof or broken water heater, you have plenty of financing options to lift you out of a crisis and back into home comforts.
8 ways to pay for emergency home repair
How you’ll want to cover the expenses of an unexpected home repair will depend on the extent of the repair, how much you’re able to contribute from savings and how your home was damaged, among other factors.
For small repairs, a personal loan might be the fastest, simplest option. If you’re recovering from a natural disaster, however, you might be eligible for the support of government-funded programs.
3 tips to prepare for an emergency home repair
Got a big storm coming your way? Prepare ahead of time so that you can get your home back as soon as you can after.
- Keep a list of contractors. Storing numbers in your phone is smart, but write down a list of contractors in your area and stick it in your wallet in the event that you lose cell service. Look for those on call 24/7 in case of emergencies.
- Call your insurance provider. Contact your insurer to confirm what’s covered by your policy and what you’re responsible for. After an emergency, most insurers send an assessor to look over the damages and let you know how much you’re covered for. But it helps to know before so you can think about financing if you need it.
- Know your disaster relief options. Ask your local housing administration about potential grants and other forms of disaster assistance so that you can apply as soon as possible, if necessary, to increase your chance for approval.
How much do common home repairs cost?
Home repair costs can vary according to the value of your home, where you live and the extent of the damage. But here’s a ballpark of what you can expect for common home repair and improvement costs, according to a July 2018 HomeAdvisor survey.
|Repair type||Average cost||Average range||Lowest and highest cost|
|Water main repair||$797||$322–$1,292||$140–$2,800|
|Repair or replace electric panel||$1,105||$519–$1,698||$125–$3,000|
|Level or mudjack concrete slabs||$881||$543–$1,295||$300–$2,200|
|Stairs or railings||$618||$306–$975||$115–$1,750|
3 home repair solutions to avoid
If you don’t have a savings buffer to put toward unexpected home repairs, you might be tempted to juggle your existing personal expenses to scrape together what you need.
Applying for a personal loan could be a better option than these three ways people use to pay for home repairs — and keep you from landing in an even worse financial situation:
- Putting off payments on bills. Late loan repayments can seriously damage your credit score, making it difficult to qualify for financing in the future. But skipping your usual bills to foot an emergency expense could launch you into a spiral of debt, not to mention leave you without a home if those bills are your mortgage or rent.
- Paying with plastic. Paying for a new faucet or a caulk gun with your credit card might not set you back too much. But they typically come with much higher APRs than personal loans, and costs can add up quickly if you swipe for a big-ticket item.
- Using short-term lenders. A payday loan or installment loan might be a last resort when you can’t qualify for a personal loan or government assistance. But with APRs that can soar to 100% and even 400%, it’s the most expensive type of financing you can get.
How to prevent burst pipes in the winter
With temperatures plummeting into the sub-arctic zone over the past few winters, freezing pipes are no joke. To keep yourself from having to take out a home repair loan, take these steps to keep your pipes intact during the next polar vortex:
- Insulate everywhere. All exposed pipes are more likely to freeze. Look in you attic and other crawl spaces to make sure you didn’t forget any. Seal up any cracks that might expose insulated or uninsulated pipes to cold air.
- Let it drip overnight. Having a steady stream of warm water can help pipes from freezing during the coldest nights.
- Keep that thermostat steady. Turning down the heat while you sleep could make your pipes even more vulnerable to the cold if the temperature suddenly drops.
Compare personal loans
If you don’t have the money for repairs when the unexpected or unpreventable happens, you’re not alone. You’re also not out of luck, given your options that include loans, grant programs and opportunities to tap into your home’s equity.
Start your search with our comprehensive guide to personal loans, where you can jump right into comparing lenders or read more about how these loans work.
Frequently asked questions
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