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Teens and Car Insurance
Q: We have two teenage sons who drive. We have been able to find and purchase a car for each of them, but their insurance rates are astronomical. Is it unreasonable for my husband to require them to give half of their savings to pay for car insurance?
A: Having raised two teen drivers, I know how much their driving increases parents' insurance premiums. I believe that your request for your sons to contribute to their insurance premiums is a reasonable one. You have purchased cars for both of them, which is very generous. If they have been earning money, it would have been reasonable for you to ask them to contribute some of their earnings to purchase their cars.
I do not have an authoritative answer to give you regarding their surrendering half of their savings to put toward these increased insurance costs. How did you arrive at their giving you half of their savings? Can they contribute a percentage of their summer job earnings, as opposed to taking it out of their savings? The debate that you will have with them is not whether they should contribute, but how much they should contribute.
Having a car is a privilege, not a right. I hope you can all arrive at a fair contribution on their part to help with the insurance costs and the maintenance of these cars. I trust that you will be fair in your requests and that they will understand their responsibilities in sharing these costs. You all may come to the conclusion that it is too expensive for the family to maintain these two additional cars. They are certainly not necessities. They are luxuries. This reality should inform your discussions and negotiations.
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Carleton Kendrick has been in private practice as a family therapist and has worked as a consultant for more than 20 years. He has conducted parenting seminars on topics ranging from how to discipline toddlers to how to stay connected with teenagers. Kendrick has appeared as an expert on national broadcast media such as CBS, Fox Television Network, Cable News Network, CNBC, PBS, and National Public Radio. In addition, he's been quoted in the New York Times, Washington Post, Chicago Tribune, Boston Globe, USA Today, Reader's Digest, BusinessWeek, Good Housekeeping, Woman's Day, and many other publications.