My husband decided to buy a new truck at 0% interest in 2019. Our son was then 13 years old; It would be leaving soon enough so we decided not to trade in our other 2010 truck during the purchase.
My in-laws have terrible money management skills. My mother-in-law only drives when it is absolutely necessary and leaves the driving entirely to her husband.
My father-in-law borrowed the truck for the two years we didn't need it. He carried the insurance and performed the maintenance and minor repairs necessary to keep operations running. The truck stayed in my name.
No complaint was made to the police
A year ago my father-in-law was involved in an alleged hit and run that dented the front fender. No complaint was made to the police. We were never notified of the incident – nor were we asked for a repair estimate.
The day my father-in-law returned the truck for our son, the damage became known. The day before, he reportedly sent photos of the dented fender to a repair shop and the estimate for the repair was $ 1,500. Your deductible is $ 1,000.
My mother-in-law was reckless about the damage and said that my teenage driver would most likely damage it himself, so it seems silly to fix something that gets damaged.
My in-laws, in their 70s, are about to take out a 30-year reverse mortgage on their house. You live on my father-in-law's social security. What role should my in-laws play in repairing the fender?
daughter in law
You can email The Moneyist with financial and ethical issues related to the coronavirus to firstname.lastname@example.org and follow Quentin Fottrell on Twitter.
Let's say it was a hit-and-run accident. The likelihood that a car insurance will reject the claim increases exponentially the longer a policyholder waits to report an accident.
Your in-laws must file a report with the police. But that doesn't help them with their deductible. That $ 1,000 is, I suppose, why they didn't tell you about the fender bender.
The easiest way to deal with a difficult or uncomfortable situation is to give up as soon as possible. The belated notification to you only exacerbated your in-laws' fears about the accident, leading to further delay.
"Your terrible money-handling skills may be directly related to this type of concealment."
In fact, their terrible money-handling skills may be directly related to this type of concealment. As any finance manager will tell you, ignoring debt, addictive behavior, or unhealthy spending patterns only makes matters worse.
Tell your in-laws to come to you if something happens in the future instead of waiting so long after the act. So you can make decisions together. For example, you could have helped them pay the deductible.
Let them know that it is up to you to decide whether your son can live with a truck with a damaged fender and whether or not this is a serious problem. Keeping secrets undermines trust in a relationship and you don't want this to happen to you.
Don't trust them again with your property and write off the debt.
By emailing your questions, you consent to their being posted anonymously on MarketWatch. By submitting your story to Dow Jones & Company, the publisher of MarketWatch, you agree that we may use your story or versions of it in all media and platforms, including through third parties.
Check out Moneyist's private Facebook
Group in which we look for answers to life's thorniest money problems. Readers write to me with all sorts of dilemmas. Ask your questions, tell me what you want to know more about, or take part in the latest Moneyist columns.
The moneyist regrets not being able to answer questions one by one.
More from Quentin Fottrell: