What to Do if Your Teen Was in a Minor Fender Bender?

by Rosemarie Hardison
what to do if your teen was in a minor fender bender

Your kid finally has their learner’s permit, so — like any good parent — you take them out in your car to teach them the basics.

All goes well in the parking lot as they get used to steering, but disaster strikes when they pull into traffic. Your teen is still getting used to being behind the wheel, so they don’t stop in time when the car in front of them slams on their brakes.

In a minor fender bender like this, you and the other driver may agree to settle things without involving insurance.

Paying out-of-pocket may make more sense financially, even though you added your teen to your policy. But that doesn’t mean you’re ready for an unexpected repair. Here’s how you can handle this surprise expense on a tight budget.

Combine Resources

Can your teen pitch in? It’s important you sit your kid down and talk about the situation. It’s only fair that they contribute towards the cost of repairs if they have a part-time job. You may also want to put their allowance on hold until you balance the budget.

This can be a difficult conversation, but it’s an eye-opening topic for your teen. It may be the first time they experience an unexpected expense.

Try to be understanding; everyone makes mistakes or runs into something out of their control. Take it as an opportunity to talk about how important budgeting for the unexpected is for their financial health. An emergency fund can help them cover the unknown once they fly the coop.

Inquire about a Financing Plan

Some auto shops provide financing plans for their customers. These plans push out your payment, so you don’t have to cough up all the money at once.

These arrangements wind up functioning like a short-term personal loans. While you might not receive a cash advance upfront, you will owe your mechanic for the work they do.

Most auto shops will break up your outstanding balance over several payments, much like a lender does with installment loans. You may even have to pay interest and fees on top of it as well.

Borrow Money Online

Not all auto shops offer financing. There’s also a chance you still can’t afford the repair upfront, even after negotiating a financing plan.

Now’s the time you might want to weigh the pros and cons of borrowing a legitimate personal loan or cash advance. Take some time to visit MoneyKey to learn more about online loans. Online loans offer quick and convenient applications in emergencies, and you may be able to choose between an installment loan or a line of credit.

An online line of credit can be helpful in an unexpected emergency, as you can draw against your credit limit multiple times. You can dip into this limit if the first repair doesn’t fix all the issues. It also stays open as long as you pay off what you owe. You can keep it on standby for the next repair that surprises you.

Start Saving for the Unexpected

Your teen’s first fender bender might come as a shock, but unexpected auto repairs are parred for the course as a driver. Your rotors can rust, a stone may chip your windshield, or your taillight could fail.

The American Automotive Association (AAA) recommends you save $50 a month for these surprises, above and beyond your usual tune-ups and tire exchanges. Committing to this goal can help you in the next emergency, with or without your teen.

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