Six in 10 Americans Lack Savings For Emergencies

Only 38% of Americans said they have $500 in the bank to cover an emergency

Car accidents, unexpected medical bills, an emergency plumber visit—there are all sorts of events that can interfere with even the best budget plans.

But according to a study released Wednesday, more than 60 percent of Americans do not have enough rainy day funds set aside to deal with even minor calamities.

Just 38 percent of Americans said they could cover an unexpected emergency room visit or even a $500 car repair with cash on hand in a checking or savings account, according to Bankrate, which commissioned the study. About 26 percent would reduce spending on other things, and 28 percent said they would either borrow from family or friends or use credit cards.

You hate to see so many people who are one relatively modest financial emergency away from a downward spiral," said Claes Bell, a Bankrate analyst who examined the survey results.