Getting a safe car seat for your child is a vital part of caring for them. Proper car seats are required by law in every state in the US. However, you might not be aware that you may qualify for a free car seat through your insurance — either after a collision or in general. Here are answers to the most common questions you may hear about car seats and insurance.
Car Seats & Insurance
Does Insurance Cover Car Seat Replacement?
Many insurance companies do cover car seat replacement after a crash. However, this usually falls to auto insurance companies, not health insurance. There may be exceptions in the case of certain health insurers who view child car seats as a matter of health and safety.
Private insurance through employment varies widely in coverage. Your employer will choose the insurance plan and what it does and does not cover. At the end of the day, the only way to know if your particular insurance plan covers the cost of a replacement car seat after a collision is to do some research.
In many cases, the cost of replacing car seats falls under auto insurance, not health insurance.
A surprising caveat in the world of health insurance is that Medicaid often covers the cost of car seats. There are a few things you will need to do or show to claim eligibility, however.
First, you must be a citizen or permanent resident of the United States. You must also fit income requirements and agree to take a car seat safety training course. Other requirements might vary state by state.
How Can I Get a Free Car Seat from My Insurance Company?
As stated above, if you have insurance through Medicaid, you may be able to get a free car seat. This depends on your income, among other qualifying factors.
In general, private insurance does not cover the cost of a car seat except in the case of replacements after a collision.
Does Car Insurance Cover a Seat Breaking in My Car?
Car seats are made to stand the test of time, so they don’t often break. However, if your car seat breaks — for whatever reason — you might wonder if your car insurance will cover the cost of replacing it.
The answer might vary depending on your car insurance policy, especially if you have comprehensive coverage. In general, however, insurance companies will only reimburse you for the cost of a car seat after a vehicle collision.
Is Insurance Higher for a Car with Fewer Seats?
In general, the number of seats in your car should not affect your car insurance premiums. This may vary based on your insurance company. But this applies as a basic rule of thumb.
In terms of car seats, the number of seats will not change your insurance provided that all the car seats are installed correctly and in the proper place in your vehicle.
Does Changing Car Seats Affect Insurance?
As you probably know, you will occasionally need to change out your car seat. This might happen because of damage, but more likely, it is simply a matter of getting a new model as your child ages out of the old one.
There is no reason why changing your car seat should affect your car insurance. Depending on your coverage, you may need to update your information with your insurance company to let them know the current model you have in your car. However, these requirements vary. Check your insurance company’s requirements when you replace your car seat.
In a Minor Accident Does the Car Insurance Have to Pay For The Car Seat?
If you get in a car accident, even a minor one, you will need to replace any car seats in your vehicle. This applies even if there is no visible damage to a car seat. Although the seat may appear to be in good condition, the internal components may be damaged and unable to perform correctly.
In many cases, your car insurance will cover the cost of replacing any car seats. In 12 states, your insurance company is required to replace car seats under a no-fault car insurance system. Otherwise, you will need to file a claim and prove that you were not at fault for the collision.
Why Do Car Insurance Companies Ask If There Is a Car Seat in a Car After An Accident?
Car insurance companies are likely to inquire about the presence of car seats after an accident. This is because in many states they are legally required to cover the cost of a replacement, usually through reimbursement after the fact.
Will Car Insurance Cover a Torn Seat?
Car seats can become damaged through regular wear and tear. Superficial damage such as tears in the seat cover are not usually a reason to replace the seat entirely. This, of course, will vary based on the extent of the damage.
Unfortunately, car insurance coverage does not usually extend to damage from regular wear and tear. Insurance companies are only obligated to replace a car seat if the damage was from a vehicle collision.
Discounts for Infant Car Seats with Insurance?
Car seats can be an expensive investment, so it is natural to wonder if you can get a discount through your insurance.
If you have insurance through Medicaid, you may be able to qualify for a discount or even a free car seat through the program. This depends on the coverage in your state. To start, call your local Medicaid office to learn about sponsored programs for free or discounted car seats in your area.
Private insurance does not usually provide discounts for infant car seats. However, this will vary based on your insurance company and your coverage. You may want to do some research before your baby is born to find out if you qualify.
Car Seat Insurance Claim — Best Practices in Making a Claim (And Mistakes to Avoid)
After you get in a collision, you will need to file a claim with your insurance to cover the cost of getting a replacement. In some states, you will need to prove that you were not at fault for the accident. Of course, in some instances, this won’t be possible. In that case, you may need to cover the cost yourself.
However, if the accident was not your fault — or if you live in a state with no-fault collision insurance — you will need to file a claim with your insurance company. This involves proving no fault, as we stated above, and submitting a receipt for the cost of your replacement car seat.
So what should you know about filing an insurance claim and what mistakes should you avoid?
The car seat you had needs to go out on the curb to be discarded or recycled. But before you do that, make sure you take pictures of it, even if there is no visible damage. Similarly, take pictures of your car after the accident.
This has other uses for your insurance company, but it could also be helpful in filing a claim for a new car seat.
Make sure, among other things, that you get pictures of the car seat’s serial number and expiration date. Some insurance companies also recommend that you cut the straps (to ensure the seat cannot be reused)
Make sure you also keep your receipt from the purchase of your new car seat. This does not have to be the same model as your previous car seat. If your child has grown out of his or her old seat, feel free to make an upgrade. Regardless, keep that piece of paper to submit to your insurance company, as they might not be able to reimburse you without it.
Show the Insurance Company Your Car Seat’s Instruction Manual
Unfortunately, some insurance companies will try to get out of paying for your car seat replacement. You may have to present proof of their obligation in the form of your car seat instruction manual.
Here, it will stipulate that the car seat must be replaced in the event of a collision. If you don’t have the original manual that came with your child’s car seat, you can access one either on the company’s website or on request. You should be able to get a copy by emailing the car seat company’s customer service email.
Ask for Proof in Writing
If your insurance company refuses to pay for the replacement, ask them to submit proof of this in writing. To document that they refuse to provide a service to which they are legally obligated will create a paper trail. This will often prompt your insurance company to reconsider covering the cost of a car seat replacement.
Navigating your insurance company’s requirements for covering car seats can feel overwhelming. But maintaining your child’s car seat, especially after a collision, is vital for their safety. For this reason, car insurance companies are legally required to help you do so. With the right tools and resources, you can ensure that you get the coverage you deserve.
- 1Will my car insurance cover a broken baby seat?
- 2Apply for a car seat or booster seat reimbursement or allowance
- 3Practical Post-Collision Advice: How to Seek Reimbursement for a Car Seat after a Crash
- 4Insurance Companies Cover New Child Car Seats After Accidents
- 5Are car seats covered by my auto insurance?
- 6The Car Seat LadyAfter a Crash
- 7How to Get A Free Car Seat Through MedicAid For Your Little Ones
With two kids of my own, I’m passionate about child safety! I’m a research nerd who’s on a mission to make the world a safer place for kids – starting with car seats!
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