Mathew B. Sims is Editor-in-Chief and has authored, edited, and contributed to several books. He has been working in the insurance industry ensuring content is accurate for consumers who are searching for the best policies and rates. He has also been featured on sites like UpJourney.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Aug 27, 2020

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Things to remember...

  • Car seats are required by the majority of states in order to protect infants and small children in case of a car accident
  • After an accident, if you need to have a car seat replaced, your comprehensive insurance policy may cover the cost of the replacement
  • Even if a car seat does not appear to be damaged in an accident, it is much better to be safe than sorry in having a fully functioning car seat
  • In addition to getting the car seat covered by your insurance company, it is important to make sure that it is also installed correctly so that your child is always safe

If you are transporting a child in your car, it is imperative that you find and install the appropriate car seat. The age and weight of the child determine whether a car seat is necessary for them.

It is recommended that the car seat is placed behind the front seats and facing to the rear.

There are different laws in each state mandating the use of a car seat for children of certain ages and weights as well as the use of a safety belt. If you are involved in an accident with a car seat in your car, you should have the car seat replaced before using it.

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Table of Contents

State Laws Mandating the Use of Car Seats for Infants and Small Children

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According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), if your child is 12 years old or younger, he or she should be riding in the back seat of the car and with a properly fastened seat belt.

For children under the age of two years, almost every state has a law requiring them to be in a car seat.

When your child has outgrown his or her car seat, they are required to transition to a booster seat in every state except for Florida and South Dakota until they have grown enough to use an adult seat belt. The requirements vary by state according to the age and weight of your child.

Even if you are waiting for your car insurance company to cover the cost of a replacement car seat, it is important to have a replacement seat installed in the meantime.

It is unsafe to drive with your infant or small child in the car with you even for a short distance if your child is not in the appropriate car seat.

Besides the obvious safety concerns, you could also get an expensive and frustrating ticket from a police officer for not having the required child safety car seat in your car.

The state fines for child car seat offenses increase with each additional offense.

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Recovering for the Cost of Replacing a Car Seat After an Accident

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If the other driver was at fault for the crash, then you file a claim through their insurance policy to include the cost of having your car seat replaced. Make sure to keep copies of all receipts documenting the cost of replacing the car seat when you file your claim.

If you are in one of the 12 states in the country with a no-fault car insurance system, then your own insurance company would be responsible for replacing the car seat.

Some states, such as Illinois, even require the car insurance company to accept responsibility for replacing the cost of a car seat after an accident.

If your car insurance company seems reluctant to cover the cost of a replacement car seat, you can always show them a copy of the manual for your car seat, which will almost certainly advise that a car seat cannot be used again after a car crash.

For some insurance companies, they will only cover the cost of replacing a car seat if it was actually occupied by a child passenger at the time of the accident. This will vary by different insurance companies.

You are not necessarily obligated to get the exact same model that you had before after a car crash. For example, you may want to purchase another size if your child was about to outgrow his current car seat.

Just make sure that you keep all receipts and documents related to your expenses after a car crash in case you have any problems with getting reimbursed for the replacement.

If your insurance company gives you a problem with reimbursing the cost of your car seat after an accident, then this may be a sign that you should find another insurer.

This is where the quality of service is just as important as the low price you pay for car insurance.

It is easy to obtain quotes online from different companies, and you should consult friends and families about their experiences in filing a claim through their car insurance companies for further research.

The Final Word on Auto Insurance Coverage for Car Seats

It is against the law in the majority of states to transport a child in your car without the proper car seat. If your car is involved in an accident, it is probably a good idea to have the car seat replaced regardless of whether you can specifically identify any damage to it.

If you have comprehensive car insurance, you can probably have the cost of replacing the car seat reimbursed under your policy. The other driver’s insurance company will cover the cost of replacing your car seat if the other driver caused the car accident.

Make sure that when you install the new car seat, you are following all safety instructions from the manufacturer.

Be sure to enter your zip code below now to find car insurance rates that work with your budget!