Do You Need To Replace A Car Seat After A Minor Accident?

Updated October, 2020
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Guidelines from the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) indicate that drivers should replace car seats after moderate to severe crashes. A minor collision may not necessitate a replacement, but it's still a good idea to look into getting a new one just in case the old one sustained damage that may not be immediately visible.

Follow these guidelines from the NHTSA

In the past, the NHTSA recommended replacing child seats after accidents regardless of severity. Over the years, the organization has since altered its stance slightly.

In an effort to reduce costs for insurance companies and consumers, the NHTSA now suggests only replacing car seats in moderate to severe crashes. This also helps decrease the amount of time a family would have to go without a car seat.

How a minor accident is determined according to the NHTSA

How do you know the difference between a minor accident and a severe one? While it may seem obvious, you should ensure your crash consists of the following criteria before labeling it as minor.

  • No visible damage to the car seat
  • Airbags didn't deploy
  • No one in the vehicle sustained injuries
  • The door nearest the car seat lacked damage
  • You drove the vehicle away from the crash site

Don't risk it—if the crash was severe, get it replaced!

Not all car accidents are cut and dry. If you're ever in doubt, it's good to err on the side of caution and replace the car seat.

A damaged car seat puts your child in harm's way. In the event you end up in another collision, the car seat may not provide as much protection as a brand new one. Here are some signs you should replace your car seat immediately.

  • Bent frame
  • Cracks
  • Damaged straps

Does your insurance cover a replacement?

Comprehensive car insurance coverage protects you in the event of an accident. It provides you with funds to repair your vehicle, and that includes a damaged car seat. Your insurance may not have a choice either way. For example, California has a law that states that if you have full coverage and the accident was someone else's fault, then your insurance has to cover the cost of a new seat.

Steps to getting a replacement through your insurer

  1. When you initially contact your insurance to inform them of the crash, make sure to mention your child's seat.
  1. After the incident, you typically buy the new car seat on your own.
  1. After purchasing, provide your insurance company with a receipt of the car seat for reimbursement.
  1. After the collision, document any damage to the car seat by taking pictures.
  1. You submit all of this to your insurance agency, so a representative knows how much to provide.

It's important to make sure you install the child seat the right way in your car. If it sustains damage because it wasn't put into place correctly, your insurance may not cover it.

When the time arises, is my insurance going to be enough?

When it comes to car insurance, there are several factors to consider beyond monthly cost. A policy that covers you when you need it, has a low deductible, and offers several discounts can be hard to find - which is why we've done the work for you.

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Call an insurance expert
Our team will help you find the lowest insurance prices.
866-996-3156