Monday

Is Nanny Liable for Dented Car?

Received Monday, January 18, 2010
Perspective and Opinion on ISYN Wrecked car... I dented the bumper of the nanny car while going to grocery store to get icing for cookies for a playdate. No one involved. Family did not have me on insurance and they want me to pay. About $1000. (I am full time/live in.) I personally feel that even for me to pay part of it is wrong. I am the employee. I feel it is 100% their responsibility even though of course I am so very sorry and feel so bad about it. Please comment to help me decide how to proceed.

30 comments:

TC said...

They should have had you on the insurance but that shouldn't matter. They have insurance on the CAR and it should cover the damage minus the deductible.

If you are in a company car and you get a ticket I believe you are responsible so why wouldn't you be responsible for damaging the car?

I would tell them you will pay the deductible but that's it.

Nanny Sarah said...

If you feel this way- talk to your boss. I was in a bad situation with this type of thing. I was driving back in the neighborhood- very icy. The employees car was a older car- I hit some black ice and ended up in a ditch ( the steering column was bad- I found out later)- the employee did not care for the car- although I told him few times the car needed repairs.

the dad went horribly mad at me and acted like it was my fault. He called a bit**. I found out later that he was very aware of the issue with the steering column and blamed me anyway. His son was in the car with me and he let us drive an unsafe car.

Just talk to your boss and see if you can work something out.

Just Me said...

Agreed that you should've been included on the insurance in the first place.
The only reason you would need to pay the full $1,000 is if the deductible is that high. It keeps the premium down but not by that much. My deductible is $250 and we're broke but can afford the payments still.
I agree that you should pay the deductible but nothing further.

so tired of asshole parents said...

The parents should have had you on their insurance. Why in hell would they allow you to drive a car that you are not insured for?

Are they taking taxes out of your check? Hope so, because if I were you I would claim whiplash and sue them for everything they are worth.

nanny md said...

You should have been on their insurance or had your own with them paying a portion of it. I am pretty sure it is illegal in most states to not have at least minimum. So they would have paid the difference for you.

I do agree you should pay part or all of the deductable. It sounds like the dent was your fault. Like the saying goes, you brake it you buy it.

Personally, your bosses sound like they do not budget well for incidentals and are trying to pass the buck and get away on the cheep.

As and employer, I would have my nanny split the deductable if she was at fault and pay it in full if it wasn't her fault. Plus, have my insurance cover her driving my car. To not have coverage like that is just stupid in my opinion.

talesfromthe(nanny)hood said...

You need to pay the deductible, and then you need to let them know that you won't be driving anywhere for anything until they show you proof that they have insured you to drive the nanny car.

JacksMom said...

I am not a nanny, but because I do occasionally drive a company car, my employer is required to carry me on their auto insurance.

In the six years I've worked there, two employees (including me) have been involved in accidents. Neither was required to pay anything out of pocket, regardless of fault. The reasoning is: we wouldn't have been driving at all, if we hadn't been on company business.

Technically, you were on Company business, so using my employer's reasoning, you shouldn't have to pay anything.

It's not your fault that they didn't put you on their policy. They probably didn't want to pay the extra premium to put you on the policy and figured that the car was covered anyway, should you get into an accident. They're now being petty and cheap. I'll bet they're not reporting this incident to the insurance at all, and will use the $1000 to get the bumper fixed on their own.

If you'd gotten hurt in the accident, it would be viewed as a Worker Compensation case, regardless of fault. Do they have work comp insurance?

Nanny in San Diego said...

I am in 100% agreement w/Jack's mom. You shouldn't have to pay a dime to the family. They should have had you on their car insurance policy and since they didn't, then tough luck to them. They were probably just trying to save $$. Again, if you were not working, you would never have had the accident. They need to pay up. And if I were you, I would consider moving on...these folks are cheap.

NannyfromFargo said...

You should not have to pay the $1000! I once had an accident with my employer's car. The children were in the car, too. The damage was on the front corner of the car, and so three parts that met at that corner needed to be replaced! Yikes....

I was really shook up from the accident. But I won't forget what the mom told me. She said, "It is a car. It is metal. Metal can be replaced, but people can't."

And they had good insurance on the car and never said a word to me about the damage, which I was worried I would have to pay. They were very good about the whole thing.

I hope that your employer's understand that you were on the job and doing a job errand like someone above mentioned.

Bint Ethel said...

I too, agree with JAck's mom.
Your employers are ridiculous. It's their fault for not having you on the insurance. What if you had been hurt? Being cheap doesn't help in the long run. Unfortunately you may have to find another job.

cali mom said...

Jack's mom and Nanny in SD said it. It was ILLEGAL of them to have you drive their car on THEIR business without adding you to their insurance. Would you have ever driven the car even one block if you had been aware that they did not have you on their insurance? Probably not. Especially not with their kids. And you would not have been driving it at all when the damage happened if not for THEIR business.

I'd refuse to pay a dime and let them take you to small claims court for it, where they can confess publicly that they were requiring you to drive their children in their car with no insurance. Of course, you can say that since you naturally assumed they were following the law that you had been insured all the time or you would have never agreed to drive their car without being insured. I don't usually suggest people just "find a new job" in this economy but this is unnacceptable all around and I don't see how a working relationship could be restored after this. They are WAY out of line. The kind of people who would require you to drive their kids around with no insurance are people you do NOT want to work for! And I bet they are indeed just going to keep this on the sly from the insurance company.

be careful said...

I agree with most people here. You were on company business. You were not breaking the law (ie by speeding), so I don't believe you should have to pay. Also, from this point forward, I would probably refuse to drive their car anywhere, unless they will put in writing that they will not hold you responsible for any further damage or injuries. Their actions have proven them untrustworthy.

Kaitlyn and Daniel said...

NO! You do not pay them anything. They should have had you on the insurance, bottom line.

I was in a similar situation and thankfully my employers were very easy-going about it. Their insurance covered everything and when I was ticketed because the registration was not in the car, they paid for that as well.

cali mom said...

Thinking about this further, I'd say that IF they'd had you on the insurance, it would be fair for you to pay the deductible, or at least half of it. But they are trying to get the best of both worlds by not having you on the insurance, not having this repair go through insurance, and having YOU pay the full amount instead of a deductible. Screw them, that's slimy.

Village said...

Do not pay a dime of it. What they did is illegal. You were driving without insurance. That is illegal in ALL states. Tell them you were under the impression you and the car were insured, as is required by law, and you have no interest or obligation to pay for the damages, plus, you demand to be put on their insurance, or you will no longer be driving the children anywhere.

If you don't stand up for yourself, no one else will.

Village said...

One more thing. You are not responsible for the deductible. IT'S THEIR CAR!!!!!!! Do you think they would pay for yours?

Christina said...

I was in the same situation, was stuck in an ice storm, on my way home from classes in my employers car (full time live in) and around the corner on our street, I slid and hit the curb, breaking the axel and some other things totalling over $1500, they made me split it with them. And eventually the car got taken away because I ended up having an accident that truly was my fault, and the took the car away and I was forced to quit because i couldnt afford to not have transportation to school.

Bloomfield babysitter said...

Shoulda woulda coulda...the bottom line is if they think you are responsible and want you to pay you should work it out amicanly or prepare to look for another job.

The right thing here would be for them to be thankful you and the kids are OK and that no serious damage was done. Since this was done during working hours performing duties as part of your job they should realize this and not dare ask you for a cent. However, sadly this is not the case.

Morally are you liable? Yes ONLY IF you were careless, talking on your cell or trying to text while driving. If this was honestly an accident Then it would be a nice gesture for you to offer half the deductible if any.

It will really boil down to how badly you want to keep this job and if you can afford to pay towards this. Good luck.

Wondering said...

Well now this makes me paranoid.

I drive my charges around every day in my own car... if something happened would I be able to compel my employers to pay for any damages or would it be my responsibility?

nyc mom said...

I haven't had to deal with having a nanny drive since we don't own a car, but seems like as with all things, this is the type of thing that should be spelled out in the Work Agreement at hiring. The fact that it was not is an error on both employer and employee's part. I believe it is the responsibility of the parents to make sure they have proper insurance, but you are also responsible for asking for proof of this as part of being a professional nanny who drives. So I think both parties bear some blame for the lack of insurance.

In this case of ambiguity, as an employer, I would pay the costs. However, I would clarify going forward that any person driving a car is responsible for damage that occurs if the damage is their fault (to the level of the deductible). If the other driver's fault or no fault can be identified, then the employer should pay. I don't think the fact that an accident happens while working absolves the employee of all personal responsibility regardless of profession. As a doctor working in a hospital, I am still personally liable for malpractice judgments above the amount of the hospital's insurance plan if I am found legally responsible, in addition to malpractice judgments appearing on my public record. I do not expect that I can just say, "I'm not responsible if my error resulted in that patient's permanent injury because it happened while I was working for my employer." If you aren't willing to be responsible for driving accidents caused by your error while working, don't take a job that involves driving.

You say in your OP that you dented the bumper? Can you explain exactly how this happened? If someone hit your car while you were in the store, I would not think you were responsible. But if, for example, you made a driving error and cut a corner too close, then I believe it is your fault.

I am a bit confused by the insurance issue though. As TC said, I was under the impression that a car is insured, not individual drivers. So even if you were not added to the insurance, unless the family identified you as an employee driving (thus volunteering to the insurance company that they were in error), any damage to the car should be covered minus deductible.

just maybe said...

I think, similar to a rental car, you may pay more for having multiple drivers. For instance, when your teenager starts driving, you must add them to the insurance (you can get discounts if they get good grades or something). I think it only applies to people who live in the house (like a live-in nanny), but it might also apply to a full-time employee. Or I could be totally wrong.

BayAreaMom said...

A friend of mine has an au pair (a young live-in nanny from another country). Since the au pairs are arranged through an agency, there's actually a policy on car issues like this one. The au pair is expected to pay up to $250 is she is on the job or up to $500 is she was driving the car for personal reasons.

Btw, for those of you talking about insurance - insurance would pay regardless of who was driving, but the issue with minor damage like this is that it may be cheaper to keep the accident out of insurance files and pay out of pocket, since a claim like this would result in higher premiums later.

TC said...

NYC mom I know at least where I live that the law is the CAR must be insured not necessarily the driver. I think that has more to do with the individual insurance company. I know when I was a young after my parents divorced they kept the same insurance man just had different policies. It turned out to be much cheaper to insure mine and my brother's cars on my dad's insurance and my mother put our names on hers.

The parents may not have been doing anything illegal but they should have put the nanny on the insurance and they should file with the insurance company...after all that's what insurance is for

Janet English said...

Absolutely not! They probably don't want to report it because that might jack up their insurance rate but that is their problem not yours.

Melissa said...

If it were me, i would offer to pay some, but definitely not all or more than 25%.

I am a full time/live in nanny and the parents aren't even that well off but they have good insurance that has coverage for someone who is an occassional driver. So even if I was driving and got into an accident, it would still be covered.

Let us know how it works out!

mom said...

Having not read all of the previous comments, I'd say this is a shared responsibility.
You had no business driving a car without having insurance, and they had no business letting an uninsured driver use their car. Had you killed or seriously injured somebody, do you have the means to take care of their medical needs, potentially for life, or their burial needs and an income source for their family in the event they had been the major breadwinner? Do they? Because if that had happened, my guess is that the family could go after either one of you for those expenses.

Having insurance not only protects you, but is a courtesy to those you risk every time you start your car and take it onto the street. While it may be customary for an employer to provide insurance for an employee, it was your responsibility alone to make sure you were covered, one way or another, before you took a car onto the street.

JustAMommy said...

as a mom, I would NEVER ask you to drive my car without expecting to cover damages in most cases.

If you were drunk, got a moving violation for reckless driving as a result of the accident, or had borrowed the car to go on a date, that would be one thing, but a fender bender during a run to the grocery store? Nope.

You should not be liable for the damages.

rebecca nanny for 14 yrs said...

I would offer to pay the co-pay for the insurance, explain that they can take it out of your pay over the next 2 months-

nanny of 14 yrs said...

Im so sorry that your going through this. You were on company time so pay the deductable-then talk to you employers to put you on the insurance- I was in a accident w/ one of my kids that I nanny for and the car was under full insurance-no problem- in fact they made sure I had a rental during the time of repairs- there are good families out there you may have to leave to look for them!

OP said...

THANK YOU! I totally forgot I posted this. They will not go thru their fullcoverage insurance (It's a lease) in order to save money. They are getting some garage to fix it. And yes, I am leaving. No one I know could believe this kind of behavior, especially me! I haven't given notice yet, but I think they know I'm saddened about our value differences. I had to tell them that when they take off a week, it's pretty common to pay your nanny her salary. (????) They ended up giving it to me, but I was surprised that I had to have a meeting about it. In many years I have NEVER had a family not pay me when they took off. They really need an au pair, 15 years younger than I am, but they can't b/c I work 60 hours. Their last nanny was illegal. Thank you for reminding me that my surprise at their request was not too crazy. best wishes