My father-in-law returned our truck with a $1,500 fender bender. My in-laws have been flippant and declined to pay. Ought to we push it?

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Expensive Quentin,

My husband determined to purchase a brand new truck at 0% curiosity in 2019. On the time our son was 13 years outdated; he could be driving quickly sufficient, so we determined to not commerce in our different 2010 truck throughout the buy. 

My in-laws have horrible money-management expertise. My mother-in-law drives solely when she completely should, leaving all of the driving to her husband. 

My father-in-law borrowed the truck for the 2 years we didn’t want it. He carried the insurance coverage and did the upkeep and minor repairs wanted to maintain it operating. The truck remained in my identify. 

No police report was filed

A yr in the past, my father-in-law was concerned in a supposed hit-and-run, denting the entrance fender. No police report was filed. The incident was by no means disclosed to us — nor was an estimate of repairs sought. 

The day my father-in-law returned the truck for our son, the injury was disclosed. The day earlier than, he reportedly despatched photographs of the dented fender to a restore store, and the estimate for repairs got here again at $1,500. Their deductible is $1,000.

My mother-in-law was flippant concerning the injury — saying that my teen driver would most certainly injury it himself, so getting one thing fastened that will likely be broken finally appears foolish.  

My in-laws, of their 70s, are about to take out a 30-year reverse mortgage on their residence. They reside off my father-in-law’s Social Safety. What function ought to my in-laws play within the restore of the fender?

Daughter-in-Regulation

You’ll be able to e-mail The Moneyist with any monetary and moral questions associated to coronavirus at qfottrell@marketwatch.com, and comply with Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.

Expensive Daughter-in-Regulation,

Let’s assume it was a hit-and-run incident. The chance of an vehicle insurance coverage firm declining the declare will increase exponentially the longer a coverage holder waits to report an accident.

Your in-laws would want to file a police report. However that doesn’t assist them with their deductible. That $1,000 is, I presume, the rationale they didn’t inform you concerning the fender bender within the first place.

The simplest technique to take care of a troublesome or awkward scenario is to fess up as quickly as potential. The delay in telling you’ll solely have exacerbated your in-laws’ anxieties over the accident, resulting in additional procrastination.


‘Their horrible money-management expertise could also be instantly associated to this type of obfuscation.’

Certainly, their horrible money-management expertise could also be instantly associated to this type of obfuscation. As any monetary supervisor will inform you, ignoring money owed, addictive habits or unhealthy spending patterns solely makes issues worse.

Inform your in-laws to return to you when one thing occurs sooner or later, fairly than ready so lengthy after the very fact. That permits you to make selections collectively. You might, for instance, have helped them to pay for the deductible.

Inform them that it’s as much as you to resolve whether or not your son can reside with a truck with a broken fender, and whether or not this can be a severe concern or not. Protecting secrets and techniques erodes belief in a relationship, and also you don’t need that to occur to you.

Don’t belief them along with your property once more, and write off the debt. 

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