Fighting the Insurance Company
John's fight with the insurance company is a hassle, but not an emergency, thanks to his savings.
Dave's ANSWER: If you save up $10,000, you can definitely get something safe and reliable for less than that. In the mean time, I would look at this as a rental car. If you bought a replacement car for $1,500, that would leave you with $5,500 in your emergency fund. Just be your own insurance company, and when your insurance does pay out and you get through all this mediation and other stuff and get the money back, you just build it back into the emergency fund.