What are the Different Types of Contingency Funds?

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  • Written By: Lily Ruha
  • Edited By: Allegra J. Lingo
  • Last Modified Date: 13 September 2019
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The different types of contingency funds are budgeted by governments, businesses, individuals, and families for the purposes of emergencies and uncontrollable events. Governments use emergency funds in the aftermath of natural disasters, fires, and other unforeseen events. Temporary assistance funds are also allocated by governments for low-income families who are unable to meet their basic food and housing needs. Businesses set aside funds in the event of product market changes, equipment malfunction, and other issues impacting profitability. Some individuals and families set aside emergency funds to be used in the event of job loss, unexpected medical costs, car problems, and other unplanned events.

Governments establish contingency funds to meet society’s needs in the event of unplanned calamities and events. After a natural disaster, such as a hurricane, resources are needed to provide shelter to the affected, repair damages, secure the area, and restore general functioning. Large-scale electrical and brush fires are other instances where emergency funds may be applied to protect people, restore safety, and support basic human needs. Such funds must typically be used under predefined guidelines and only in emergency situations.


Other types of government contingency funds offer temporary assistance, also known as welfare funds, to individuals and families who fall below specific income levels. Individuals typically seek government assistance funds due to limited access to jobs, inability to work due to illness or disability, and/or deficiencies in marketable skills. These funds are intended to meet a family’s food and shelter expenses. Governments often offer services alongside funds to empower individuals to gain new skills for the purpose of entering the workforce. In some regions, fund recipients are required to enroll in job training and counseling programs to assist them in securing higher incomes.

Businesses also establish contingency funds to protect themselves against bankruptcy in the event of uncontrollable events. A competitor may introduce a product that suddenly reduces the demand for a company’s main product and profit generator. Company equipment can unexpectedly malfunction, causing productivity loss and potential lawsuits. Investments in the markets or new marketing plans may not produce desired results. Businesses that set aside contingency funds are able to weather these financial challenges and buy time to revise products, fix equipment, and implement new investment and marketing strategies.

Individuals and families can create their own contingency funds during their budgeting processes. Emergency funds set aside to deal with unexpected expenses can help families to avoid debt and deprivation. Unexpected job loss, car repairs, medical expenses, and replacement of important household appliances are just a few examples of circumstances for which a family’s emergency funds may be used.


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