Handling the Car Situation with Your Nanny
Don't drive yourself crazy. Here are tips for discussing if and how your nanny should drive your kids.
Depending on where you live and how busy your kids are, it may be essential to have a caregiver who can drive your kids to and from school, to play dates, lessons or games. If transportation is a top job responsibility, make sure you list it in your job description -- then follow this advice to help make sure you've covered the details in the interview and once the job starts.
Her Car or Yours?
Ideally, yours. Often, parents have the newer and safer model car with multiple air bags, and car seats properly secured into the backseat. However, if the cars are needed for your commute to work, you may decide to use the nanny's car. In this case, you should provide a gas allowance and wear-and-tear fee. Make sure the nanny's car is in good enough condition to be transporting your kids and that it passes all the checks. Safety is most important here.
According to USAA, if your nanny is driving your car regularly you must notify your insurance carrier. USAA says that even if your caregiver is only driving your car periodically, it is best to review your options with your insurance company regarding coverage. Adding your nanny to your policy could result in a change in your premium (those under 25 years old typically have higher premiums). Factors include age and driving record.
USAA also recommends that your caregiver contact her insurer to discuss additional options to her policy. One type of coverage to consider is a non-owned auto endorsement, which is primarily designed for someone using an employer's car for personal business.
By taking steps on both ends, you are proactively protecting your assets in the event of an accident.
Fender Benders and Minor Damage
Unfortunately, accidents happen. Even if it was a minor fender bender, your child might be rattled and your nanny may be hesitant about driving for a while. Discuss the incident with both of them. Your nanny may need a change in the routine -- if she was driving your car when the accident occurred, she might feel more comfortable using her own. Work together to create a new plan.
Fender benders tend to be below the deductible so, unless someone else was at fault, it will be an out-of-pocket expense. Find out the cost of the damage and decide how to handle it with your family. Then communicate this to your nanny and present options, especially if she is responsible for covering part of the cost. Consider what is fair and what she can afford. As the nanny's employer, you set the grounds for her salary. If she was on the job when the accident occurred, it is probably better that you cover the cost.
Accidents should be taken seriously and it is important to keep communication open when handling them. Make sure to detail your rules on driving and safety (i.e. no texting or talking on the phone) from the point of hire, and do what you can to put a system in place.
Trusting your nanny in a car with your children is a hurdle for many parents. In addition to setting clear rules about speeding and other safety precautions, take time to drive with your nanny around the neighborhood and other places she'll be frequenting with the kids (soccer practice, dance class) so she's familiar.
Establishing confidence with your nanny behind the wheel is one of the first steps in creating a trusting partnership with her.
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