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High cost of crashes: Drivers seek ways to save on out-of-pocket accident expenses

Posted at 8:52 AM, Jan 19, 2023
and last updated 2023-01-19 16:01:19-05

(WXYZ) — If you’ve ever been a nasty car wreck — you know it’s not cheap.

New numbers from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration are confirming just how pricey getting into an accident is.

Traffic crashes in the U.S. cost society $340 billion in 2019. To put those numbers into perspective — that is just over one thousand dollars for each of our country’s 328 million people.

Crashes can cost hundreds — if not thousands of dollars.

That is the case for Tammy Voyce who says the crash she got in could not have come at a worse time for her and her family.

She said she feels like she has to pinch pennies sometimes.

"For essentials, diapers, clothes for the kids and gasoline," said Tammy.

Back in October, Tammy of Inkster was rear-ended.

"The whole bumper is out, the lift gate, back door is jammed shut," she said. And she can't open the trunk at all.

The cost to repair the mini-van — more than it’s worth. She said it would cost more than $4,000 to fix the car when it's valued at $2,000.

Tammy — a single mom — tells me right now, she can’t afford to buy a new car.

"If the kids were older it would be a lot easier, a lot better to handle, it wouldn’t be such a big deal, but just like right now is like not the best time," she said.

Turns out a lot of drivers are just one crash away from being in Tammy’s shoes.

James Sneed said he couldn't afford to repair his car if he got into a crash.

"I don’t think I would be close, I have ten bucks in the bank maybe," said James.

Shane Henry, president of Consolidated Agencies said, “it has gotten harder in that post covid inflationary environment to find ways to save money but there are a a still things you can do.”

Shane gave me these three tips to help save money if you do get into a crash:

One: stay calm and take plenty of photos, especially if you are not at fault.

Two: get multiple estimates to get the best deal possible to fix your car.

And three: build a relationship with both your insurance agent and you local auto-mechanic. Find someone you can trust.

"There’s options out there, and you just have to find them. You have to take your time,” he said.

As for Tammy, she thinks it will be a few years before she can buy a new car.

“I don’t know, I’m just kind of stuck with it right now,” she said.

That same study we mentioned at the start of this story also found 36, 500 people died in crashes in 2019.

So while paying up is a huge pain — sometimes you just have to count your blessings.