First it’s the impact. Then comes the damage assessment. Everyone is okay including your child.
The car could cost thousands to fix, thankfully your insurance company is footing the bill, but what about your child’s car seat?
“The integrity of the seat might be compromised and you could put your child in danger,” said Luis Rivera, program coordinator and technician with Safe Kids Connecticut in Hartford.
Now that $300 car seat needs to be replaced and you don't have the cash to do it.
“Most customers don't know and most insurance companies aren't going out of their way to tell you,” said Tony Cavallaro, office manager at Airport Road Auto Body in Hartford.
NBC Connecticut's own Alyana Gomez was recently involved in a minor accident and her insurance company wasn’t forthcoming about the possibility of replacing her child's car seat, but when she asked about it, they agreed to reimburse the full amount.
“I guess I never read the fine print in my insurance policy for one thing so if it was accessible to me I’ve never taken advantage of it,” said Ed Caputo of Canton.
Some consumers aren’t sure exactly when to replace their child’s car seat.
“If it wasn’t damaged I think I would have continued using it,” said Olga Burgos.
Luis Rivera is a car seat technician with Safe Kids Connecticut.
“On a car crash you will see stresses here where the belt is holding onto the base,” said Rivera.
The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration says a car seat doesn’t have to be replaced after a minor crash.
Here’s how they classify a minor crash: If the vehicle was driven away from the crash site, if there were no injuries, if the air bags didn't deploy and if there is no visible damage to the safety seat.
Rivera said the damage won’t always be visible though.
“It might be microscopic, it might be inside the seat,” he said.
Best advice is to ask your insurance company first. If they’ll replace it no matter the condition, take the free seat and drive with peace of mind.
NBC Connecticut contacted several well-known insurance companies. Progressive Insurance told us they do not cover car seat replacement. Geico says they do. Allstate and State Farm says they cover it, in accordance with the NHTSA.