Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our content.
How to pay for emergency home repairs
Personal loans, federally backed programs and more ways to cover a quick fix.
When your homeowners insurance doesn’t quite 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.
7 ways to pay for emergency home repairs
How you’ll want to cover the expenses of an unexpected home repair will depend on the extent of the damage, how much you’re able to contribute from savings and how your home was damaged.
Grants for home repairs after a natural disaster
The Red Cross and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) are the first two places you should turn to if your home is damaged during a natural disaster like a flood or hurricane.
The Red Cross can assist with cleanup in your home after a disaster and often funds home repair grants. FEMA also offers grants for major repairs that include fixing your home’s foundation, roof, septic systems, utilities and other essentials.
Since grants typically last until funds run out, it will be easier to qualify if you apply as soon as possible after the natural disaster hits.
3 tips to prepare for an emergency home repair
If you don’t want to be caught off guard by a repair, these tips can help you prepare before disaster strikes:
- Keep a list of contractors. Storing numbers in your phone is smart, but you should also 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 emergency.
- 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. 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 place to live if those bills are your mortgage or home equity loan.
- 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.
Compare personal loans
We update our data regularly, but information can change between updates. Confirm details with the provider you're interested in before making a decision.
If you don’t have the money for repairs when the unexpected happens, you’re not alone. You’re also not out of luck. Start your search with our comprehensive guide to personal loans so you can jump right into comparing lenders when you have to cover an emergency home repair.
Frequently asked questions
Image Source: Stutterstock
More guides on Finder
How COVID-19 has changed business lending in 2021
Embedded financing and a de-emphasis on credit scores look like they’re here to stay.
Moving expenses deduction for 2020-2021
Learn what the moving expenses deduction is, how to claim it on your taxes and more.
Emergency fund: What it is and how to build one
This type of savings account can save you from a lot of financial stress and anxiety.
What happens to my home loan if I die?
Learn about what will happen to your home loan when you die and how to avoid any nasty situations with some pre-planning.
You now have until May 31st to apply for a PPP loan
Businesses have two more months to get applications in for first- and second-round programs.
What the American Rescue Plan Act means for your small business
The newest stimulus legislation provides for restaurant grants, debt relief for farmers, PPP loan updates and more. Here’s an overview of what’s included.
How the Restaurant Revitalization Fund works
The Restaurant Revitalization Grant offers grants of up to $10 million to make up for revenue lost during COVID-19.
How to start a cleaning business
From making a business plan and getting insurance to marketing and setting your prices — here’s how to start your own cleaning business.
How to move to Canada
Explore the options and programs that Canada has in place to help you move to Canada.
Texas disaster assistance for the 2021 Winter Storm
Here’s where to get financial help for yourself and your business if you’ve been affected by the storm in February 2021.
Ask an Expert