Does Health Insurance Cover Car Seats

Insurer may cover car seats replacement after accident with right coverage; otherwise, pay out of pocket or claim against other driver’s insurance.

Cut seat straps to ensure it’s unusable.

Read on for needed coverages and claim steps.

Health insurance covering car seats
Health insurance covering car seats: Photo source (Healthline)

How Does Insurance Cover Car Seat Replacements After an Accident?

Car seat replacements covered by optional comprehensive and collision insurance, typically not required after auto loan payoff.

Comprehensive for non-collision incidents like theft, vandalism, or fire; collision covers damage from car accidents, regardless of fault.

How To Replace a Car Seat After an Accident

To replace a child car seat after an accident:

  1. File an insurance claim, needing collision or comprehensive coverage.
  2. Include the car seat in the claim.
  3. Provide documentation: photos of damage, serial number, expiration date, and purchase receipt.
  4. Cut the seat’s straps for disposal; insurers may want photos of the cut straps.
  5. Accept the settlement, based on the car seat’s depreciated value.

Selecting a New Car Seat

When replacing a child car seat:

  1. Follow state laws and manufacturer guidelines based on age, weight, and height.
  2. Seek UNR 129-Size and ECE R44 certification, or check for IIHS and Consumer Reports testing.
  3. Choose seats by age: rear-facing to forward-facing (1-3 years), booster (4-7 years), then seat belt (around 12 years).
  4. Prioritize comfort, legroom, seat tilt, and headrest position.
  5. Ensure ease of installation for frequent use.
  6. Confirm compatibility with your stroller to avoid extra costs.
  7. Opt for easy-to-maintain fabric covers.
  8. Consider additional features like a five-point harness, side-impact protection, breathable fabric, or LATCH system compatibility.
  9. Register the car seat with the manufacturer for safety updates and recalls.

Do You Have To Cut the Straps on a Car Seat for Insurance?

Insurance companies may require you to cut the straps on a child car seat before they reimburse you for its damages.

This is to ensure that the car seat is not reused or given to somebody else.

Even if a car seat appears fine externally after a car accident, it may have suffered internal damage that isn’t visible or hard to spot, such as:

  • Hairline cracks in the plastic seat
  • Side impact foam could be dented or cracked
  • The harness may have stretched
  • Damage to the buckle’s internal components
  • The tether strap may have stretched

A damaged car seat should never be handed down to someone else, no matter how expensive and high-quality it was when purchased.

Free or Affordable Car Seat Replacement Alternatives

If your auto insurer doesn’t cover it, consider:

  1. Charities like Buckle Up For Life or WIC for free car seats.
  2. Government programs (Medicaid, law enforcement, fire departments) for free seats or low-cost options.
  3. Hospitals for discounted seats or assistance finding free/cheap ones.
  4. Local Women’s and Children’s services for budget-friendly options.
  5. Call 211 for help finding affordable car seats and financial support.

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