The following is another post from my younger sister, Teresa Ward. She already wrote about how she got a free breast pump. Now she found out how to get a free car seat!
I promise not to bombard Crystal’s loyal readers with baby/toddler bargains, but just like the free breast pumps, I had to share my latest insurance steal that could save parents $$$!
That Necessary Car Seat…
One of the more expensive baby products that ALL babies and toddlers need is a car and/or booster seat. They vary widely in costs from $60 on sale/online for a basic model like the one below to $400 for a new model or one purchased at a speciality store.
You might think the difference in price buys more safety for the little one, which I would argue is money well spent, but the truth is ALL car seats sold in the US must meet Federal Safety Standards and pass multiple crash performance standards. Yes, a few of the high end seats do have extra bracing or maybe shock absorbing material they claim to be effective. But judging from the specifications I researched, it appears more money mostly buys you the newest fabric trend or a few bells and whistles that your little one might never use/aren’t proven effective.
So I was already planning on getting a lower end car seat that had great customer reviews and great customer service for our second vehicle (we were already gifted a different car seat which is awesome, but we need two as per our lifestyle and having an extra base alone wouldn’t work for us).
Free Car Seat Opportunity
Happily, I just happened to receive a flyer summarizing our car insurance benefits while car seat shopping. We are insured through Texas Farm Bureau, and one of their much touted benefits listed was the Child-Saver Program. Basically, this program boils down to a partnership between TFB and Child Source to give heavy discounts on car and booster seats (and for TFB to randomly add a few child safety articles in their flyer). Eager to see the deals, I logged onto TFB’s website using the member link online and was directed to an order form.
I was pretty happy to see a Cosco Apt 40 RF CC047FSM Car Seat listed at the member discount co-pay of $35.50 (no shipping or tax fees added)! Features of this car seat actually exceed minimum requirements. The seat comes with:
- the ability of both rear facing (for newborns) and front facing (for not-so-newborns) modes
- 4 harness heights
- 3 buckle locations
- side impact protection
- 2 integrated cup holders (win for when the baby is older!)
- 5 point harness with up front adjuster.
Grabbing the Deal
While I wish the insurance company offered more options to choose from, I did enough research to be very happy with the 4-star rated Cosco car seat (as listed on Amazon). My baby book even mentioned it as a steal-deal at retail of $70-100…to think, I swiped it for a fraction of that!
I happily filled out the half-page order form, wrote a check for $35.50, and slipped both into the mail to Child Source, the company that my insurance works with to supply this great deal. Side note: I have also read multiple reviews that Cosco (not to be confused with Costco, a chain store) has excellent customer service, and even accepted a car seat that was used for 6 months for a full return. I love companies like that!
A month after I sent my check, I opened my front door to see my car seat was delivered!
I would recommend researching and ordering car seats a few months in advance of your due date since processing seems to take a few weeks with any insurance for anything (especially during the holidays like my order), and you never know exactly when D-day is 😉 .
Also listed on the order form was a booster seat for $25.50, which I will totally order as soon as my much anticipated son gets to that stage. Just figured I would mention that for other parents of infants and toddlers 😉 .
Search for this
I did a quick google for this post and saw a few other car insurance companies offering discount car and booster seats (including Arkansas Farm Bureau and Mississippi Farm Bureau who offers theirs at only $25 a car seat). It’s definitely worth a quick call/email to your car insurance company!
I would also recommend calling a mainline or national line, as I am not sure how familiar local offices would be with this type of benefit. I’ve also read that a few medical insurance companies and employers will provide discounts as well – so give your medical insurance and HR a call too if the car insurance company doesn’t pan out.
Overall, I spent about ten minutes finding the order form online and ten minutes filling it out and sending a very small co-pay – and saved a minimum of $35-50 depending on where I would have bought it plus taxes/shipping costs (while avoiding the temptation to purchase an even more expensive car seat). My insurance company even allows me to purchase up to three discounted seats, so I could have multiplied the savings and bought one for every vehicle (but it wouldn’t make sense to return the gifted car seat, so next time!). This is also a great option for a back-up car seat for the much loved grandparents or caretakers to use.
Hope this helps you or someone you know!
FYI: I worked at a dead end cubicle job from 2005-2011 for about $30,000 per year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $70,000-$90,000 through blogging, professional pet sitting, hubby's reffing, and our rental home. If you’d like to start your own site (link to my free step-by-step guide), I highly suggest checking out Bluehost (my referral link with a nice discount for you, PLUS a free custom header banner from me!). Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!