Do not all insurance companies restrict to only US approved seats?

3 ladybugs

New member
I called our insurance company this evening to ask about car seats as I am going to have to get one for my baby soon. In keeping with our 5 year plan (hoping DH will find a job where we can move) I wanted something that potentially could work in both Europe and the US. The insurance salesman (not an adjustor) said that the policy has NO restrictions on where the seat comes from for my son. :jawdrop: He did say that the policy limits the cost of the carseat to $250 but that could be adjusted if I proved I paid more for the seat. :D He suggested that I talk to an adjustor tomorrow (they are not in right now) to determine what would happen if I were hit by someone that had insurance that excluded European seats, just so I wouldn't get a surprise later.

However I am a bit in shock right now. I was always under the impression that you CAN NOT bring a seat in from Europe because you can't insure it and if said child was injured, they would blame the seat, that is uninsurable.
 

creideamh

New member
People have gotten into accidents with foreign seats and have been reimbursed for a new seat. It's just not a guarantee.

What is a guarantee is your state law. If your state law requires a FMVSS 213 certified (US) seat, you can be fined/penalized for using a foreign seat.
 

3 ladybugs

New member
People have gotten into accidents with foreign seats and have been reimbursed for a new seat. It's just not a guarantee. What is a guarantee is your state law. If your state law requires a FMVSS 213 certified (US) seat, you can be fined/penalized for using a foreign seat.
Is that based on my state or the state that the accident occurred in? I regularly travel outside my state (nj btw).
 

carseatcoach

Carseat Crankypants
Almost all states have proper use laws. If you are using an unapproved seat, it is the same legally as using no seat at all. That's not a big deal criminally in most states, sadly, but there is a chance that insurance could find you partially responsible for not properly restraining your child (as well as possibly not paying for the seat).
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
Of course it's unlikely you'll get a ticket.

We were in a crash with a kid in a foreign seat, and didn't get a ticket for improper restraint, and insurance paid a replacement cost.

That said, in the US there isn't really a need to import any more except in a few really specific medical circumstances. And technically it is illegal though a citation is unlikely.

As far as insuring, the seat may not be covered but injuries will anyway. Both medical and vehicle insurance pay every day for injuries to kids in improper, broken, expired, or no restraints, which is just as illegal. (UNLESS you're in Canada, where they apparently then can go after the driver/parent for reimbursement.)
 

wendytthomas

Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
Also, fyi, there are no American seats that are legal in Europe as well. If you're going for military then it's generally fine to use your American seats at least in your American cars. But if you go as a civilian and you have residency over there they can completely ticket you for misuse as well (they could as visitors, but most cops here and there wouldn't know, and wouldn't be that mean to a visitor to their country).

We lived in Europe for six months last year and I used my American seats throughout our stay. Technically illegally once our tourist visas expired. Day to day i wasn't concerned as I went around town, saw cops, and went through a couple of border crossings. But I have no idea what would have happened if we'd been in a crash. At the very least I would have had to turn my daughter forward facing before I wanted to because she was over the limits of all of the rear facing seats in my town. Hopefully that would have been the only thing.

Wendy
 

3 ladybugs

New member
Okay so I get that I will have get new seats when we get over there but what do you do before you can get them, fresh off the plane if you will? I guess it is likely that DH would go over before us and this would be a non issue, but what if we went over together?

Also if this is a known issue why doesn't one manufacture address this? I would think it would be easier all around.
 

gigi

New member
Unless the $600 or so to buy new seats once you move to Europe is a crippling financial burden, I'd buy American seats for use until you move and leave them with grandparents for when you return to visit. When you actually move to Europe sort out the seat situation. You could have seats waiting for you at your hotel and just take public transport there. Or your husband could go collect them and pick you up with them installed. There are a lot of easy solutions. We have great seats here in America now, often better that what is locally available in Europe (Swedish seats are legal all over the EU but often not available in store in other countries). Also, they have very low FF harness weight limits (about 40 lbs) because they mostly booster around 4 (exceptions for different parts of europe, of course). Anyway, my point is that it is much more practical to stick with American seats made for our laws and cars and buy European seats (which are made for European laws and cars - the seatbelts don't lock, latch is less common, they don't have top tethers, etc) when you get there.
 

creideamh

New member
Okay so I get that I will have get new seats when we get over there but what do you do before you can get them, fresh off the plane if you will? I guess it is likely that DH would go over before us and this would be a non issue, but what if we went over together?

Also if this is a known issue why doesn't one manufacture address this? I would think it would be easier all around.
You use your US seats. It's so unlikely anyone will notice/care, especially since you're Americans (I'm assuming.)

There are different testing standards for the US, Canada, and EU countries. (And Australia.) There are a few seats that are dual US/Canada that you can buy in Canada (our standards are similar), but no dual US/EU. Our standards are pretty different, pros and cons on each side.
 

wendytthomas

Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
Okay so I get that I will have get new seats when we get over there but what do you do before you can get them, fresh off the plane if you will? I guess it is likely that DH would go over before us and this would be a non issue, but what if we went over together?

Also if this is a known issue why doesn't one manufacture address this? I would think it would be easier all around.
I'd bring your US seats with you. You need them for the plane anyway. Many European seats are not airline approved.

Then you can decide whether to go with their seats (most of Europe forward faces at 20 or 26 pounds, boosters at 40 pounds), or continue to use your very likely longer lasting American seats. When we went I chose safety over legality. My daughter was the safest child in Dresden, of that I have no doubt. I could have easily bought my older child a German backless booster, but we needed one for right after the airport, so I brought hers with us. Hers was more comfortable than what we could get over there.

In the past couple of years I've been to a couple of talks from people from carseat manufacturers. At least one of which does have a large global market, I think the other is more US focused. The US focused one talked about what they need to do to get a seat to the market. They need to meet FMVSS 208, 213, 225, 302. Then they need to go through JPMA, ASTM, CPSC, and states regulations. Plus then they need to check on their own internal requirements as a company. So basically, a stack of two feet tall of checklists and requirements to meet. Europe has different ones. Then this year I went to a talk about why isn't there a global seat. What it mostly boils down to is a lot of cultural differences, in addition to the regulatory issues. We live different styles. We have different cars.

IF a company made a seat that was designed for both I could easily see it being twice as much money because they needed to pay for double the testing and double the design. So that cost of course has to be passed on somewhere, and it would come down to paying for it.

Wendy
 

3 ladybugs

New member
Okay so I should pay attention to the size of the seat when I get something for my baby (14 months old) because cars are smaller in Europe (compared to my Odyssey at least) though my 6 year old would likely not need a seat so it would be a non issue, still comfort can go a long way when it comes to a happy car ride.

So I shouldn't go with an Advocate I should go with either a Foonf or Fllo as those are the 3 I am trying to decide upon. My baby is tiny (a bit over 20 lbs at 14 months, under 30 inches as he is in a Chaperone). The Fllo is a bit lighter right? That could be good when traveling alone with the boys. :headscratch:
 

wendytthomas

Admin - CPST Instructor
Staff member
All of them are in the 25-28 pound range. Get wheels. Or a travel seat.

They all have lockoffs, so you don't need to practice a locking clip install.

Wendy
 

ketchupqueen

CPST and ketchup snob
Staff member
If your baby is tiny, you might be happier with a smaller, lighter seat since you'll be traveling so much.
 

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