Do I need to replace my car seat after a crash or accident?

Do I need to replace my car seat after a crash or accident?

minor-car-accident replace car seat after a crash

Why You Should Replace Your Car Seat After A Crash For Increased Car Seat Safety

The question you are probably here asking: Do I have to replace my car seat after a crash?

Answer: It depends on the severity of the crash you were involved in based on NHTSA’s five criteria (listed below) and what your specific car seat manufacturer says about that specific child restraint. If you are unsure after reading this post, the best thing to do is call the manufacturer of your specific car seat.

Many car seats need to be replaced if they were in a vehicle that is involved in a crash — even if the child was NOT in the car seat  during the crash. Crash forces can be extreme. The seat will withstand some crash energy even if the seat were empty and even more so if the car seat was occupied.

most common car seat mistakesIn a substantial crash, the crash forces may be enough to bend the steel in your car’s frame, therefore, obviously enough to damage the plastic in your child’s car seat (even if you cannot see the damage with the naked eye).

Does your car seat or car seat booster need to be replaced?

In the past the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) recommended to replace a child restraint whenever it was in a crash no matter the severity of the crash.

However, NHTSA has revised that recommendation in an attempt to reduce the number of children without a child restraint while their crashed restraint is being replaced and reduce costs for consumers and insurance companies.

NHTSA Cites Child Car Seat Safety Studies

NHTSA cites several international studies which showed that after minor vehicle crash tests, even when there is visible stress to the child restraint, the restraint still performed well in subsequent crash tests.

NHTSA’s policy on replacing child restraints after minor vehicle crashes to the following:

  • NHTSA recommends that child safety seats and boosters be replaced following a moderate or severe crash in order to ensure a continued high level of crash protection for child passengers.
  • NHTSA recommends that child safety seats do not automatically need to be replaced following a minor crash..

Minor crashes are those that meet ALL of the following criteria:

  • The vehicle was able to be driven away from the crash site;
  • The vehicle door nearest the safety seat was undamaged;
  • There were no injuries to any of the vehicle occupants;
  • The air bags (if present) did not deploy; AND
  • There is no visible damage to the safety seat

Will Your Insurance Company Replace Your Booster Seat or Car Seat After A Crash?

Most insurance companies will replace your car seat in a crash without question.

When our car was merely stolen and the car seats were found a few blocks away having been thrown out of the car, our insurance replaced them just in case there was unseen damage. (Our car was later found torn to shreds on the inside, seat belts were torn out and who knows what else happened in there.)

The insurance company had us buy a new car seat right away and they reimbursed us from the receipt. They don’t require you to buy the same seat. For instance, if your child was about to outgrow an infant seat, the insurance company will allow you to buy a convertible in its place.

What to do with the crashed seat if it needs to be replaced?

You may have a couple of options depending on where you live. Some cities have recycling programs for car seats. If you cannot find a place to recycle your car seat you’ll need to dispose of it. To dispose of it properly, you want to essentially make it unusable by anyone else by cutting the straps and removing any detachable parts.

If you were in a crash, what was your experience with your insurance company? Share your comments below.

By Amie Durocher, Creative Director at Safe Ride 4 Kids and certified CPS Tech since 2004

Copyright 2015 Safe Ride 4 Kids. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed without permission.

This post was originally published August 2013 and has been updated for accuracy and comprehensiveness.

  • Brandy Cooke
    Posted at 13:33h, 06 January Reply

    My insurance company told me they never replace a car seat under any circumstances and that its my personal responsibility. I live in arozona. Could this possibly be true?

    • Amie
      Posted at 16:28h, 06 January Reply

      Most of the time car insurance will cover replacement of car seats no questions asked. Our insurance even covered replacing our car seats when our car was stolen and the thief threw out the seats a few blocks away. But I have heard of other parents complain that their company wouldn’t cover it for various reasons. One example is when the parent was at fault, the insurance company wouldn’t cover replacement. I think it often depends on the company and the coverage you carry.

      I couldn’t find a statute in Arizona regarding replacing car seats but I did find this website ( that says, “Collision coverage pays if your auto collides with an object, including another car, or if it overturns. Your insurer will pay to repair these damage even if the collision is your fault.” Here is the number to call Arizona Department of Insurance’s Consumer Affairs Division, 602-364-2499. Hopefully they’ll be able to give you some answers.

    • Edward oh
      Posted at 10:50h, 21 September Reply

      I got the same answer from the insurance company

    • Diana van
      Posted at 16:04h, 17 May Reply

      I live in Arizona as well. Some insurance companies will replace it some won’t. It depends on the company. When I was in the accident they did pay for the car seats to be replaced but they had to be of the same value as the damaged carseat. And it was after I paid for it then I sent in the receipt which sucks because you have to have the money to replace it then wait for 7-14 business days to get the renburstment . I buy really expensive car seats and have three kids so having a extra 900 dollars sitting around for car seats isn’t a reality. So it made it hard.

      • Amie
        Posted at 08:40h, 18 May Reply

        Thank you for sharing your experience. That will be helpful for many readers.

    • B. Smith
      Posted at 13:35h, 12 October Reply

      This is not accurate as I have personally witnessed insurers providing replacements during my 5 years as a state licensed claims adjuster for a well-recognized auto insurer and during my 30-year career as a collision repair facility owner/operator.

      Insurers owe to place one back to their pre-loss condition…no better, no worse.

    • Colleen Morris
      Posted at 08:16h, 06 July Reply

      I live in AZ and my insurance.. State farm told me they will reimburse a replacement car seat with a receipt.

    • Angela
      Posted at 14:08h, 22 September Reply

      I live in California and someone hit my parked car. Their insurance told me I could buy new ones and they would reimburse me, and I have 4 car seats !

      • Amie
        Posted at 14:11h, 22 September Reply

        Wow!That’s impressive.

    • Jason m
      Posted at 07:27h, 06 April Reply

      I have been in 2 car accidents with my car seats progressive and geico replaced them both and the accidents were a year and a half apar

  • Stephanie Primo
    Posted at 20:16h, 12 March Reply

    Does infant a car seat have to be replaced if it was not latched (empty car seat) into the car when the accident happened?

    • Amie
      Posted at 11:46h, 13 March Reply

      If the crash was minor and there was no visible damage to the car seat then typically no. But it also varies depending on the car seat manufacturer. Even if it wasn’t buckled in, if it got flung around in the car, the seat could have received minor damage. The car seat manual should have information about if it is in a crash and if it doesn’t contact the manufacturer to be sure. Some manufacturers require that seats are replaced after a crash no matter what.

  • Amie
    Posted at 00:08h, 08 April Reply

    Q: Do we change the seat belts after a moderate to severe accident?

    A: That is great that you are thinking about replacing the seat belts. Ultimately the Authorized Dealer for the brand of car you own will be the best judge of that. You should only need to assess the seat belts that were being used at the time of the crash. Seat belts are generally a one time use depending on the crash severity. They do stretch as part of how they work and may not offer the same level of protection in a second crash if they are already stretched. I also understand that you might not be able to get the vehicle to the dealer for inspection. If you can’t get it to them ask them how your mechanic can evaluate the state of the seat belt. Maybe plan to provide them pictures of the crash and a description of injury/bruising from the seat belts on the occupants. In the end you will want to ask about who is going to assume the liability for their performance in a future crash if they are NOT replaced.

  • Aaron
    Posted at 13:43h, 21 July Reply

    I am in negotiations now with insurance, Just wondering if it is normal for them to prorate the seat (it expires next month) or if they should cover the whole cost to replace.

    • Amie
      Posted at 20:10h, 21 July Reply

      In our experience, it really depends on the insurance company. Some simply say buy a new one and send us the receipt and some want to prorate it and we’ve heard about some arguing about replacing it at all. I’m sorry, I can’t give an absolute answer.

  • Isha
    Posted at 16:52h, 26 July Reply

    The insurance company is asking me for receipts for my two car seats that were in the car when my car was hit what if I no longer have them what should I do?

    • Amie
      Posted at 21:25h, 26 July Reply

      You will need to ask that question to your insurance company. Many we have dealt with or heard about reimburse the parent based on the receipt for the seat they purchase to replace the seat in the crash. Was your car seat relatively new? Can you still purchase the same seat? Perhaps you can ask your insurance company if they can do this.

    • Melissa Mahler
      Posted at 10:45h, 05 April Reply

      My insurance asked for receipts also. Luckily for me I had bought the seats online and could look back at my previous orders on the website, but if I hadn’t? There is no way I still would have the receipts, one of them way purchased 2 years ago. We had to replace all four of our seats recently and my insurance company did try to tell me that they would not replace them due to the minor accident we had. Yes there wasn’t a lot of external damage, but we were going about 50mph in the snow and caught ice and slammed into the guard rail. We all had stiff necks for days. When we initially made the claim the person we spoke with said they would replace the seats so my insurance is following through, thank goodness!

  • Jimmy davis
    Posted at 09:55h, 29 July Reply

    I was in an accident where I was rear ended although the damage was not to major, our owner’s manual states that after a collision you must replace the seat belts. I contacted State Farm (the insurance company of the person), sent them a copy of the page in my owner’s manual and they paid for all the seat belts to be replaced. At first they said no but then I said I need them to send me a notarized certified letter stating they accept all liability if the seat belts shall fail and they quickly changed their minds.

    • Amie
      Posted at 13:45h, 30 July Reply

      Thank you for sharing. That is good information for others to remember.

      Posted at 14:59h, 08 October Reply

      thank you for this information !

  • Krista Walker
    Posted at 14:24h, 30 August Reply

    If just the base was in the car, do we need to replace it?

    • Amie
      Posted at 14:39h, 30 August Reply

      It depends. If the base was buckled in, it could have experienced some minor damage that may not even be visible.
      1. If the crash was minor based on NHTSA’s guidelines in the article and there was no visible damage to the car seat base then typically no.
      2. Some car seat manufacturers require that seats, even the base, be replaced after a crash no matter if the crash was minor or severe.
      You’ll want to check what your car seat owner’s manual says or contact the manufacturer to make sure.

  • cassandra fountain
    Posted at 10:05h, 07 September Reply

    i was in a wreck my vehicle had to be towed due to front end damage, my little boy was in his car seat at the time of the accident. do i need to have it replaced the cop said no since it showed no damaged but I’m worried about using it. we are both ok.

    • Amie
      Posted at 10:40h, 07 September Reply

      Hi Cassandra,
      Many times you cannot see the damage because it could just be a hairline fracture in the plastic. Which is why some car seat manufacturers require it to be no matter what. Others follow the NHTSA minor crash criteria listed in this article. Since your vehicle had to be towed it doesn’t meet all 5 of the criteria. Based on that we would recommend having the car seat replaced. You’ll also want to check the manual of the car seat and see what it says about if the seat is in a crash. Most car insurance companies are good to work with when replacing car seats (though we do hear stories here about some who are not).

  • Brooke Ibarra
    Posted at 19:56h, 26 September Reply

    I’m in Utah. I was rear ended with a car seat in the trunk. My manufacture says to replace it after every accident. The insurance adjuster says my car seat company just wants money that’s why they want me to replace it. “The NHTSA says you don’t have to- I think they’re more reliable.” So I don’t trust that. It was in the trunk which was damaged. My car was totaled out. Over $5700 in damages. What do I do?

    • Amie
      Posted at 11:43h, 27 September Reply

      While NHTSA did set some guidelines, each car seat manufacturer has their own rules about when a car seat needs to be replaced after a crash. And if you car was totaled, it doesn’t even meet NHTSA’s first guideline for non-replacement — that the car can be driven away. If the manufacturer of your car seat says it needs to be replaced after any type of crash, then it needs to be replaced. Do you have a copy of the car seat manual where it says it needs to be replaced? Perhaps you can send that to the adjuster or send him a link to the manual online. Ease of working with insurance companies about car seats seems to vary by company and probably by adjuster. Maybe you can ask for a new adjuster or to contact a higher up. Good luck.

  • Tina Kim
    Posted at 21:16h, 22 November Reply

    Geico is requiring medical documentation of injury before proceeding to replace the car seats. Wtf.

    • Amie
      Posted at 12:19h, 23 November Reply

      Wow that is the first time we’ve heard of that request. Many car seats require being replaced after a crash whether or not a child was in the seat (the seat still has to deal with crash energy). You can try: a. asking for a supervisor and/or b. requesting a letter stating that if you are in another accident and the seat fails, Geico will be liable. Some parents reported just having to send in a receipt for the new replacement seat and Geico reimbursed them. Hopefully if you speak to a supervisor or request the letter, that is what they’ll do for you without more hassle. Keep at it and good luck!

  • Kim B.
    Posted at 15:57h, 06 December Reply

    I am having such a difficult time with this. I was hit by another driver. The other driver was cited as at fault and their insurance company also found him at fault (to be fair the very sweet gentleman was apologetic and fully admitted he was at fault.) State Farm says they don’t usually replace car seats after accidents. However, I can appeal and they will consider it. I think, however, that if they refuse I will do as was suggested above and ask for a certified letter stating that they are responsible for any failures of the car seat should their be a future accident.

  • Alexis Hines
    Posted at 04:24h, 18 December Reply

    A tree fell on my car and totaled it the cat seat was in the car. Should I get a new one it doesn’t seem like any damage to it an the insurance company said to take it out.

    • Amie
      Posted at 12:16h, 19 December Reply

      It’s possible that there is damage that’s not visible to the car seat. Not knowing the specifics, we would say it’s safest to replace the car seat just in case.

  • Samantha marshall
    Posted at 20:41h, 20 December Reply

    Hi I was hit from the front and my car had front end damage so it had to be towed away from the scene. Nobody was injured but do I need to have my car seats replaced?

    • Amie
      Posted at 21:11h, 20 December Reply

      Oftentimes a car seat can have damage like a hairline fracture in the plastic that is hard to see. Some car seat manufacturers require that their seat be replaced after any type of crash and others follow NHTSA guidelines listed in this article. So it always depends on the crash and the car seat.

      Since your vehicle had to be towed it doesn’t meet all 5 of the NHTSA crash criteria which would mean it’s safest to replace the car seat. You’ll also want to check the manual of the car seat and see what it says about if the seat is in a crash.

  • Sherri C
    Posted at 14:16h, 15 March Reply

    My car was rear ended so hard that it bent the frame. I had 3 car seats in the car that were not in use. Should I require the insurance to replace them?

    • Amie
      Posted at 14:27h, 15 March Reply

      You always want to confirm with the car seat manufacturer since they all have different rules. But the description meets NHTSA’s guidelines for replacing seats. Remember that whether or not a child is in the seat, the car seat is still being restrained by the seat belt or the LATCH system and is feeling the crash energy. There could be cracks in the plastic that you cannot see which will reduce the seat’s effectiveness in another crash.

  • Casie Schoell
    Posted at 18:40h, 04 April Reply

    Hi thanks for the great info and answers. I’d like to know the rationale behind replacing boosters after a minor accident. My understanding is that boosters (low or high) only position the seat belt correctly. (Not including the convertible ones). They don’t surround the child or offer a physical barrier around them. Is that true? If so, and there is no damage to the booster that affects it, can hairline damage really inhibit its ability to position the seatbelt appropriately? I want to be safe, but also don’t want to add to the landfill if it’s not necessary.

    • Amie
      Posted at 21:29h, 04 April Reply

      True the booster is bolstering the child up to fit the seat belt and is not involved in actually restraining the child. However, what happens if there is a hairline fracture and the booster fails to continue holding the child to have the seat belt properly fit during a major crash? I’m not sure. I’ve never seen a crash test involving a hairline fractured booster seat. The other question is what does the manufacturer say in the owner’s manual of the booster seat? If the manual said not to use the seat after any crash but you do and it fails you take the liability in your own hands. Most technicians will tell you to keep the booster buckled even when not in use. If you do this, in a crash it will undergo crash energy. On the other hand, how minor of an accident was the minor accident? Did the booster move even though it wasn’t buckled? Did the police come? Was there an insurance claim? If the answer was no to the last 3 questions, it could be considered more of a “bump” than a “crash”.

  • Homam
    Posted at 22:02h, 26 April Reply

    Hi, Thank you for very useful information. I have a question and need help. In a parked situation I opened my car door and hit the adjacent car door. A small ding with no paint chipping happened. The insurance charged me for baby car sit replacement for $400 even it was not any real crash involved ( they billed my insurance for a total of $1250 that made my premium insurance payment $650/year more expensive and a negative point on my record.) Do you think their action is legal. What do you recommend? Thanks.

    • Amie
      Posted at 09:25h, 27 April Reply

      A door ding should not qualify as a crash that would need a car seat replacement as the car seat did not experience any sort of crash energy that could have damaged it. I can’t give legal advice as I’m not a lawyer or insurance agent. Personally I would ask to talk to a manager or higher at the insurance company to ask under what grounds they feel the seat needs to be replaced and if they could remove that charge.

  • Alexis Potaman
    Posted at 15:23h, 11 May Reply

    I am being told my Ameriprise that they want proof of damage to the car seat.

    • Amie
      Posted at 21:11h, 12 May Reply

      That’s the first time we’ve heard of an insurance company asking for proof. Some damage is not visible and some car seat manufacturers require that a car seat be replaced no matter what type of crash or damage it incurred. You can ask for a letter from the insurance company, preferably from the legal department, that they will assume all liability should the car seat fail in a future crash. Other parents have mentioned their insurance company would rather replace the seat than send such a letter when one was requested.

      • Dave Reich
        Posted at 12:33h, 29 September Reply

        It is probably too late for Alexis but if something similar happens in the future may I suggest getting an estimate and submitting it to the insurance company for non-destructive testing of the car seat using ultrasonic inspections to locate any hidden cracks.

  • Bekah Southern
    Posted at 11:39h, 24 November Reply

    I rear ended someone and was told we need to completely replace the front bumper by the dealer, My 5 point harness convertible was in the 3rd row. There is no one answering at the manufacturer and I need to know if I should replace my child’s car seat stat. It’s black fri and no one is answering the phones, I think this is crazy. Does anyone have any insight? Thanks.

    • Amie
      Posted at 13:05h, 24 November Reply

      The first thing you can do is check the owner’s manual for the car seat and see what it says about being in a crash and if the manufacturer follows the NHTSA criteria for a minor crash or if they require replacement under all circumstances. If you do not have the manual, most manufacturers have them available online. It may just take a little searching.

  • Jesseca
    Posted at 21:45h, 07 January Reply

    I am curious if we simply chose to have our car towed but meet all the criteria if the carseat would still need to be replaced? It was an extremley minor accident and it doesn’t even look like our car was hit, there is no visible damage to the carseat, and kids were not in the car or seat. He drove it to a nearby parking lot until the tow truck arrived.

    • Amie
      Posted at 09:25h, 08 January Reply

      It sounds like it was a minor crash so it wouldn’t need replacing but it always depends on the particular car seat. Many times you cannot see the damage because it could just be a hairline fracture in the plastic. Which is why some car seat manufacturers require it to be no matter what. If there’s any question about whether or not it’s still usable, you really want to check with the car seat manufacturer to see what they say.

  • Leanne Mockridge
    Posted at 14:26h, 10 February Reply

    I have just recently been in a car accident and the front of my car took all of the damage, my air bags did not come out and there was no damage to the either side of the Vehical. My question is I had two car seats in the back of my car one strapped down with seat belt, which we use harness for and the other not srappes down and not fixed in place. What advice would you recommend. Insurance company will contribute £100 to each of the car seats.

  • Leanne
    Posted at 14:27h, 10 February Reply

    I have just recently been in a car accident and the front of my car took all of the damage, my air bags did not come out and there was no damage to the either side of the Vehical. My question is I had two car seats in the back of my car one strapped down with seat belt, which we use harness for and the other not srappes down and not fixed in place. What advice would you recommend. Insurance company will contribute £100 to each of the car seats.

    • Amie
      Posted at 17:20h, 10 February Reply

      Hi Leanne, Ultimately the manufacturers of the car seats will be the definitive decision makers about whether or not you need to replace the car seats. As you are using pounds, I assume you are in the UK and I’m not up to speed on the recommendations there compared to the US. Does the UK have similar minor crash criteria? It sounds like the insurance company will pay for replacement seats. We would recommend allowing the insurance company to do that.

  • Allison
    Posted at 11:09h, 19 February Reply

    Our car was in a head-on collision (we were not at fault) and the person that hit us was uninsured (and it was a hit and run). We had a 5 point harness seat and a booster seat in the car. Our car ended up being totaled and I was injured. The booster seat went flying in the car, slamming into the seat ahead of it (not occupied at the time) and the 5 point restraint was occupied. We replaced both but our insurance company only reimbursed for maybe a third of what it cost to replace the seats. They claim they didn’t have to replace them at all.

    • Amie
      Posted at 11:29h, 19 February Reply

      Unfortunately, as far as we are aware and can find in researching laws, insurance companies are under no legal obligation to replace car seats. It’s a policy that varies based on which insurance company, and even which insurance policy, you have. If you have children and shopping for car insurance, it’s a good idea to ask each company what their policy is regarding replacing car seats after a crash.

  • Mr. Mulligan
    Posted at 06:50h, 11 May Reply

    As an adjuster: the insurance that is paying for the damages of car will pay for the car seats. If the accident was minor and no broken glass, no big.damage near the rear doors. The insurance company doesn’t have to replace it. I ask for receipts, photos of the car seats to match the receipts, photos before cutting the straps and after and then ask them to drop off the car seats at the fire department. Then I pay it. If they don’t have receipts I ask all the same criteria. a flat amount of $100 per car seat with no receipts.

  • Richard Resendez
    Posted at 07:33h, 15 May Reply

    Our car has been in 3 fender benders, does our car seat need to be replaced?

    • Amie
      Posted at 12:48h, 15 May Reply

      Were the car seats in the car during each of the fender benders? How minor were the fender benders? What types of car seats are they? Ultimately the manufacturers of the car seats will be the definitive decision makers about whether or not you need to replace the car seats. So you may want to call them with the answers to these questions.

  • tim
    Posted at 07:40h, 13 June Reply

    i want to know if it was only a fender bender that didn’t exceed 1-2 mph if i need to get a new and very expensive car seat

    • Amie
      Posted at 09:51h, 13 June Reply

      Hi Tim, Probably not as that would fall into a minor crash criteria. But you’ll want to confirm that with your car seat manufacturer as their policies all vary.

  • Lynn
    Posted at 17:50h, 15 August Reply

    I’m not in total agreement with the NHTSA’s assessment of a “minor” crash. We were just rear ended badly by an older, heavy, all metal Ford Bronco. We have a Honda CRV. We were stopped at a red traffic light and he hit us at 45 mph without any attempts to stop. The whole back end was pushed in and demolished (he apparently dozed off ).

    In this case, the air bags would not go off, the door nearest the child was not hit, The car could be driven away as the engine was fine due to being hit from behind and there were no injuries other than bruising from seat belts and muscle soreness. However, we took a full force hit that shoved us into the intersection and the car was deemed unsafe to drive by insurance. My grand daughter is 7 and was in a booster seat with shoulder/lap belt on. I had just happened to be looking a little to the side (I was the passenger) when it happened and could see her as she flew forward until the belt stopped her so it was forceful. I’m just saying being rear ended negates most of the criteria of the NHTSA but the booster took the full force of her weight going forward (onto the forward part of the seat) then her weight shifting backward as she went back towards the seat. Graco says we should not reuse it and our insurance is replacing it so that’s not the issue here. It’s just that their recommendation/criteria list doesn’t address a moderate rear end accident. The back windshield shattered and the force sent glass all the way to the dashboard. It knocked items out of my husbands shirt pocket. I think that’s enough force to consider it more than a “minor” crash based on their criteria.

    • Amie
      Posted at 18:01h, 15 August Reply

      Wow! Lynn, we’re glad to hear you are all OK, if shaken. You make a very good point about rear-end collisions that NHTSA does not seem to consider in their criteria. We do recommend to look at every crash on a case by case basis.

      • Chris Mendez
        Posted at 12:08h, 03 December Reply

        I think “bruising from seat belts and muscle soreness” counts as an injury. If you tap a car, you won’t have any bruising or soreness and that would be minor. If you get rear-ended and are sore, I think that’s moderate.

  • Zoe paylor
    Posted at 20:06h, 26 September Reply

    Hi there

    So I was involved in a car accident yesterday. Another car went straight in to the side of me. Drivers door and rear door took the brunt of the impact. (I had my two children in the back; luckily we’re all ok.) So my question is reading the minor crash criteria mine was minor apart from the fact that the door where one of the car seats were was actually hit, no visible damage to the car seat itself so should I still replace the car seat?

    • Amie
      Posted at 09:40h, 27 September Reply

      Hi Zoe, We would recommend replacing the car seat even if just one of the criteria are met. It would really be best to contact the manufacturer of the car seat to confirm with them.

  • Kristina Connors
    Posted at 07:45h, 10 December Reply

    My insurance company asked my during my first call to them if I had any car seats or boosters. They explained that no matter the severity of an accident there may be damage to the car seat plastic body during impact that weakened it’s frame and therefor compromises its effectiveness during next accident. They told me to take pictures of car seats and e-mail it to them along with make and model and they would send me cheque for replacement values of both. received cheque for over $900 3 days later.

    My accident only caused $5000 damage to my vehicle. Hit a Moose at night on the highway but was able to slow down enough that I basically knocked him off his feet and he landed on my hood and smashed the windshield. It was still drivable and I was not hurt in the least.

    Insurance company still insisted in replacing both car seat and booster. Ontario, Canada

    • Amie
      Posted at 14:58h, 13 December Reply

      Wow! That’s for both hitting a moose! And for the insurance wanting to replace the car seats even though you are considering it a minor crash. Some insurance companies are proponents of replacing the car seat for every crash. Sounds like you are all OK and we are glad to hear that.

  • Laura Higgins
    Posted at 10:31h, 15 February Reply

    I was in an accident with booster seats in the back seat. Children were not in them. One was clearly repositioned in the car. The other one had the car seatbelt looped through it, but not buckled in. The car was not towed. I had minor injury to my knee Do I need to replace the booster seats?

    • Amie
      Posted at 10:39h, 15 February Reply

      Whether or not the car seats can need to be replaced depends first on the manufacturer and whether the crash met the NHTSA criteria for a minor crash (sounds like your crash does). Some manufacturers require replacing the car seat for every crash, severe or minor. So you’ll want to confirm with the manufacturer(s) of your booster seats. We are glad you are otherwise OK and hope your knee heals quickly.

  • Aitiana Mesa
    Posted at 12:14h, 11 March Reply

    I was in a severe car accident. The car completely totaled, no damage seems to be done to the car seats but in my case should i replace them? Car is unfixable/not drivable and all airbags deployed.

    • Amie
      Posted at 12:31h, 11 March Reply

      You’ll want to confirm with the manufacturer of your particular car seats but, yes, it does sound like a crash in which the car seats will need to be replaced.

  • Kayla Thornton
    Posted at 19:19h, 21 October Reply

    We live in Florida. We were in a very minor No fault parking lot accident 3 weeks ago and all 3 car seats were replaced by USAA at a total of $950, the check was issued within 48 hours of the accident. Fast forward to October 18th and we were at no fault in a rear end collision and Geico (our insurance company) and Country Financial (at fault insurance company) have already offered another $950 check to replace the brand new seats.

    • Amie
      Posted at 23:02h, 21 October Reply

      Wow! We’re sorry you had two experiences crashes so close together and we’re glad to hear the insurance companies were so supportive in making sure your car seats are safe.

  • Joana
    Posted at 12:35h, 05 December Reply

    Hi ! I was recently rear ended and had my baby. In her car seat (not expired) and an extra car seat in the trunk that I use once in a while when I leave her at my moms but that one is expired would you happen to know if they will cover that one too ?

    • Amie
      Posted at 15:22h, 05 December Reply

      Since it was expired and technically not supposed to be in use, I doubt the insurance company will replace it.

  • A Lynn
    Posted at 12:48h, 09 December Reply

    I am in the process of having my seats covered by the insurance company. A woman backed into my car (very minimal damage, but her paint was left on my car and was a few scratches so it was a very minor accident). According to my carseats manufacturer they should be replaced. At first the insurance company wasn’t going to replace my seats, so I sent them the email from graco stating they need to be replaced, and when they said they wouldn’t cover them I just simply asked for a letter from them stating that they deem my seats safe for future use and they accept liability for my seats effectiveness. They sent someone out a week later to photograph my car and carseats as well as gather the information for my seats, another week later they called and said they will approve my seats that I have to buy them and send them the receipt, so now I’m just waiting for them to come pick up my old seats and after they do they will reimburse me for the seats. I hope this helps someone who may be having trouble replacing their seats.

    • Amie
      Posted at 13:06h, 09 December Reply

      Thank you for sharing your experience. I’m sure it will benefit our readers.

  • Ernestina Sanchez
    Posted at 20:00h, 24 February Reply

    I was told by the other parties insurance company that the law to replace was only in California and i live in Texas.

    • Amie
      Posted at 13:34h, 25 February Reply

      Hi Ernestina, As far as I’m aware from our research it’s not a law in any state. (Though since I’m not a lawyer and it’s possible we just haven’t come across these laws in our searches, I cannot say for sure.) It’s a safety issue and a liability issue if the insurance company refuses to replace a car seat which the car seat manufacturer says needs to be replaced. Assuming your car seat manual says it needs to be replaced or you contacted the car seat manufacturer and they said it needs to be replaced, and the insurance company is refusing? If this is the case, you can ask for a letter from the insurance company stating that the company deems your car seats safe for future use and the company accepts liability for my seats effectiveness in any future crashes.

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