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How NOT to respond when your kid gets into a car accident

Updated: Jan 4

No one wants to imagine their child being involved in an auto accident, but the truth is, it can happen to anyone at any time. Being prepared for such a situation is not only a matter of personal safety but also crucial for preparing how to respond.

Below is a Facebook post my wife shared with me. The post shares one side of the story, and fails to provide context for the husband's state of mind. Thus, I'm not judging him, but rather using this as an example of how quickly a strong relationship can unravel when folks fail to talk about money.

How NOT to respond when your kid gets into a car accident
Facebook Post Reveals a Preventable Money Fight

How to Plan and Prepare for an Auto Accident

Establish a Thoughtful Insurance Plan

Safety should be the driving force behind constructing an appropriate auto insurance plan for our children. Here is what we did with our children.

Give your kids a stake in the game

Every family is different. Auto insurance is expensive. I fully recognize that what we do comes from a certain level of privilege. We pay for our kids' auto insurance. They are responsible for paying any increase in their insurance that derives from a citation or an at-fault accident. Our hope is that the significant cost increase will encourage caution.

I also see the value in having your kids pay for all of their auto insurance. Frankly, we debated back and forth on this.

Talk about money regularly

If you're talking about a disaster's financial implications when disaster strikes, you're talking too late. As a matter of fact, you're likely responding with emotion and have failed to adequately plan. And this is how money fights begin.

You and your partner should talk regularly about money. Professionals recommend meeting weekly, or at least monthly. If you're like us, one of you manages most of the money, but you both have equal control over how our money is used.

Moreover, financial conversations such as the example in this post should not occur in front of the kids. This is called financial enmeshment, which occurs when parents involve their children in adult financial matters before the children are cognitively and emotionally ready to cope with the information. It can be very damaging to a child's development.

If this isn't something you already do, consider the following articles and podcasts for ideas:

There are several tools you can use to plan your finances. We recently started using Tiller spreadsheets because it automates budgeting and updates automatically daily.

Select the Most Suitable Insurance Policy

We prepared an unbiased guide to select the most suitable insurance policy for your family. Our previous post, How to Choose the Right Car Insurance: A Comprehensive Guide, includes:

  • Understand Your Coverage Needs

  • Evaluate your needs and preferences

  • Factors influencing the cost of your coverage needs

  • Research Different Insurance Companies

  • Compare Quotes and Policy Features

  • Evaluate Customer Service and Claims Process

  • Consider Your Financial Situation

What to do if You're in an Auto Accident

We really like many of The Secure Dad resources. As it pertains to this topic, we love his downloadable Post Accident Checklist, found in his article What to do After a Car Wreck.

His post, What to do After a Car Wreck, includes a podcast and also reviews the following:

  • What to Expect After a Car Accident

  • Assess Danger and Injuries

  • Calling for Help

  • Talking with the Other Drivers

  • Set the Tone

  • Should You Stay or Go?

  • Talking with the Police

  • Avoid Paperwork

  • Getting Home

How to Respond After an Auto Accident

The safety of both individuals involved in the accident should always be the top priority. Discussing safety measures and protocols with your child beforehand can help ensure that you're both on the same page about what actions to take.

Before you rush to draw conclusions about his response, remember that we don't have the full story. Perhaps he is hypersensitive to significant spending changes and they are already facing challenging financial circumstances.

What we know is that life is full of surprises and tragedies. Preparing for the worst emotionally and financially will best position us to respond appropriately when tragedy strikes.


Learn More

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