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 a year. I went self-employed in July 2011 and make between $80,000-$100,000 through blogging, a rental home, and professional pet sitting. 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). I even have all of my favorite tools on a resource page - I hope they help you too. This all gives me the time to be with my aging family members, the flexibility to stay close with my friends and family, and it should help if we finally get pregnant too! Please contact me any time at budgetingfunstuff*at*gmail*dot*com with questions or just to brainstorm! I’d love to help!