President Obama might not have been feeling so festive on the Fourth of July – that’s the day his eldest daughter, Malia, turned 16. Among other things, it means she will be old enough to get her drivers’ license, which could double Barack and Michelle’s insurance bill.
Insurance.com estimated the President’s car insurance bill at $1,526 year based on his personal vehicle, a 2009 Ford Escape Hybrid SUV. That bill is for a middle aged professional couple living in an urban area. When Malia was added to the theoretical policy, the premium doubled to $3,292 a year.
Realistically, there’s a good chance that the Secret Service won’t let Malia drive. No member of the First Family has been allowed to drive regularly in decades for security reasons. Of course, there’s no need to drive when you have Marine One (the big green helicopter) standing by to take you where you want to go.
The days when Presidents like Truman and FDR were allowed to drive their own cars ended long ago. The last President seen driving regularly was Ronald Reagan, who occasionally drove around his ranch in a jeep. Reagan was never allowed to drive on the streets like most modern Presidents.
My guess is that the Service isn’t going to allow Malia to drive anywhere. She’s probably going to have to wait until her dad’s term is over to get behind the wheel on a regular basis, so the Obama’s car insurance bill probably won’t go up anytime soon.
The first President to own a car in the White House was William Howard Taft, who offended his friend, predecessor and horse lover, Theodore Roosevelt, by turning the White House stables into a garage. Taft didn’t actually drive the car – he had a chauffeur. Before then, Presidents were regularly seen walking around Washington and riding streetcars. It was a very different time.
Being in the White House is obviously no fun. Not only are you surrounded by the press and politicians all the time, but you also cannot even drive a car. One has to wonder what sort of person runs for the job in the first place.
Parents of teenagers should take note. If your money is tight, it might be a good idea to tell your kid there will be no car until he or she turns 18. That might be a tough conversation to have, but it could be a necessary one.
As car insurance rates keep creeping up, many more American teenagers are going to have to settle for a bus pass instead of a driver’s license on their 16th birthday. Malia Obama at least has the Secret Service to haul her around. I just have to wonder how that will work out when she starts dating.