Does auto insurance cover car seat replacement?

Your child's car seat may need to be replaced after an accident to make sure it's working correctly. Will your car insurance cover a replacement car seat? That depends on what kind of car insurance you have and how the accident occurred.

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A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

UPDATED: Jun 13, 2022

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Here's what you need to know

  • Your child’s car seat may need to be replaced after an accident, even if it has no visible damage
  • The severity of the accident and the manufacturer’s instructions will determine whether you need a car seat replacement
  • Your collision or comprehensive insurance may cover car seat replacement

Car seats are there to protect your child in an accident, but they’re only reliable if you ensure they’re properly installed and maintained. After a car seat has been in a wreck, it may need to be replaced to ensure your child’s safety.

After an accident, you may wonder if your insurance will cover the cost of a new car seat. If you have car seat insurance coverage, the money may not have to come out of your pocket. Read on to learn what kind of coverage you need for car seats and how it works.

Does car insurance cover car seat replacement?

You may qualify for a free car seat through insurance, but it depends on what occurred and the type of coverage you have.

Collision insurance on a car covers car seat replacement expenses if your vehicle collides with another or any other moving object. So, for example, if your car hit a guard rail and your child’s car seat got damaged in the process, you could file a claim so that your collision auto insurance company reimburses you for the cost of the seat.

Alternatively, you may need to use your comprehensive car insurance. The coverage will generally pay for expenses resulting from accidents other than collisions. For example, suppose someone vandalized your vehicle while it was parked at home, or a tree fell on your car and damaged your car seat. In those cases, your comprehensive insurance may pay for replacing the car seat.

It is worth noting that your liability coverage will not pay for your kid’s car seat replacement. However, if another driver is responsible for the accident, their liability car insurance coverage may pay for your car seat. In the same way, your liability coverage could pay for someone else’s car seat if you are at fault.

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How to Get a Replacement Car Seat Through Insurance

Even when you have the proper coverage, there are a few steps you can take to make it more likely you’ll be reimbursed for your replacement car seat. Below are tips to get a free or discounted car seat through insurance when you file a car insurance claim.

  • Gather all the relevant documents you will need to support your claim. These include your car seat receipts, photographs of the seat, and any relevant documentation from the accident.
  • File a claim with the insurance company and provide relevant documents as quickly as possible.
  • If your claims adjuster shows up in person, show them the car seat in question. Alternatively, you can submit photographs.
  • Always ensure the car seat is disposed of correctly so it can’t be reused by someone else. This could pose a danger to another child.
  • If your damaged car seat is no longer available, research a similar type of seat price range and offer that information to your insurance adjuster.

You must provide any information that will enable the insurance company to reimburse you fairly for replacing your car seat. The better the information you provide, the more likely your claim will be accepted.

When should you use your car seat replacement insurance coverage?

Depending on the situation, you may not need to file a car seat claim. The cost of children’s car seats varies widely. Typically, infant seats cost $80 to $500, booster seats cost $11 to $320, convertible seats cost $40 to $450, and all-in-one car seats cost $100 to $300.

On the other hand, auto insurance deductibles range from $100 to $2,000. So, if the cost of replacing your car seat is less than your annual deductible, there is no point in filing a claim. However, if you have other damages from the same accident, these would all fall under the same claim, making it more likely you’d meet your deductible.

Do I need to replace my child’s car seat after a car accident?

According to the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA), you need to replace a car seat after a moderate or severe crash. However, if your car is involved in a minor accident, you may not need to replace the car seat.

Minor crashes include the following situations:

  • You were able to drive the car away from the crash site.
  • The door nearest your kid’s car seat wasn’t damaged.
  • Nobody in the car got injured.
  • None of the airbags in the vehicle were deployed.
  • The car seat has no visible damage

The manufacturer’s requirements will also determine a car seat’s reusability after an accident. Some manufacturers’ instructions state that you must replace your car seats after a crash, regardless of how severe the accident was.

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Auto Insurance May Cover Car Seat Replacement

If you have relevant coverage and your car seat was damaged or rendered unusable in an accident, your auto insurance company may cover all or some of the cost of replacing it. The exact amount your insurance provider will pay depends on various factors, including your deductible and the extent of the damage to your vehicle. At a minimum, be sure you have collision and comprehensive coverage to get reimbursed for replacing a car seat.

Even if you have to pay some money out of pocket, it’s usually better to replace a car seat after an accident. It may even be required — and your child’s safety may depend on it.

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