UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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If you have a baby car seat in your vehicle, then it could be damaged in an accident. When a car seat is damaged, will car insurance pay to replace or repair it?
Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about how car insurance covers car seats.
Comprehensive Car Insurance Policies Should Cover Car Seats
If you have a comprehensive car insurance policy, then your policy should cover the cost of repairing or replacing a car seat after an accident.
Typically, car insurance policies do not cover any items in your vehicle. Car seats, however, are one of the few exceptions to this rule.
If your vehicle has been involved in an accident, and your car seat was in the vehicle at the time of the accident, then that car seat may be seriously damaged – even if it doesn’t look damaged. Many parents agree it’s better to be safe than sorry: err on the side of caution and replace the car seat with a fully-functioning unit.
Additionally, most car seat manufacturers recommend replacing the car seat after any type of accident. Even if there’s no visible damage, the car seat’s structural integrity may have affected by the accident.
Most States Require Children and Infants to Use Car Seats
The majority of states in America require infants and children to use car seats.
Some states require car seats based on the age of the child, while other states require car seats based on the weight of the child.
Generally, every state in America has some type of regulation requiring children under the age of two to be in a car seat.
After outgrowing a car seat, children are required to transition to a booster seat in every state except for Florida and South Dakota. They must remain in the car seat until they are old enough to use an adult seat belt safely. States have different laws (based on the age and weight of the child) determining when a child is old enough to use an adult seatbelt safely.
When to Replace a Car Seat
You should replace a child’s car seat after any type of accident – regardless of whether it was a minor or severe accident.
Sometimes, there is visible damage to the car seat. Certain buckles, straps, or padding might be broken.
In other cases, there’s no visible damage, but you should still replace the car seat to be safe.
Assuming you have full coverage car insurance, and the accident was covered by insurance, your insurance company should cover your car seat replacement insurance claim.
How to Make a Car Seat Insurance Claim After an Accident
Depending on the circumstances of the accident, there are several ways to make an insurance claim after an accident.
If the other driver was at fault for the accident, then you would file a claim through the other driver’s insurance policy. The claim will include any damages to your vehicle, personal injury expenses, and additional costs, along with the full cost of replacing your car seat.
Twelve states in America have no-fault insurance systems. In these states, your own insurance company is responsible for replacing the car seat. You file a claim through your own insurer (assuming you have comprehensive coverage). If you only have basic liability coverage (the bare minimum required by your state), then you may not be able to make a claim.
No matter what type of claim you’re making, it’s important for you to keep all receipts documenting the cost of replacing your car seat. Your car insurance company will need this documentation to cover your car seat replacement insurance claim.
What Happens If the Insurance Company Denies your Car Seat Replacement Claim?
Some car insurance companies will push back against replacing a car seat. They’ll claim the car seat has not been damaged and is perfectly fine to use again, for example.
This is not true. Show your insurance company the user manual for your car seat. Virtually every car seat manufacturer states that a car seat cannot be used against after a car crash. The car seat needs to be replaced.
Some car insurance companies will refuse to replace your car seat unless a child occupied it at the time of the accident. If this exclusion is stated in your policy, then you might not be able to make a claim for car seat replacement.
In most states, it is illegal to transport a child without a car seat. Rules vary from state to state based on the age and weight of the child.
Most car seat manufacturers require you to replace a car seat after an accident. Even if the car seat appears undamaged, its structural integrity may be compromised.
If you have comprehensive car insurance coverage, then your insurer may cover the cost of replacing your car seat after an accident. Or, if the other driver was at fault, you may be able to file a car seat replacement claim through the other driver’s insurance company.