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Jo C.
Jo C., Barrister
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Experience:  Over 5 years in practice
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Can incorrectly restrained child or the use of a non-approved

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Can incorrectly restrained child or the use of a non-approved child restraint invalidate your car insurance?

Thank you for your question. My name is XXXXX XXXXX I will try to help with this.

-Could you explain your situation a little more?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

What would you like to know?


It should only validate the insurance if the use or the fitting was material in respect of the incident being claimed for.

They could not refuse to pay out a claim for theft because there was an incorrectly fitted child seat.

They could refuse to pay out a claim for theft if the car had got expensive wheels on and a really expensive stereo which had not been declared because that may have affected the issue of the theft.

The only way of being absolutely certain that you don't have an argument is to make sure that only approved restraint so used and that they are fitted strictly in accordance with the manufacturer's recommendations, however remember that manufacturers "approval" is very often their way of selling more of their own accessories.

In that case, if it was exactly the same but not approved, you would still have to prove to the manufacturer that there was no material difference.

Just because something is not approved does not mean that it is equally as good or better, it just means that it is not had some kind of rubber stamp

Can I clarify anything for you?

Customer: replied 4 years ago.

There are quite a few people on various internet forums (not experts), who believe that using a child restraint from outside Europe, ie one that is not approved according to our standard, will invalidate their car insurance. But it's never clear if they mean that the insurance company won't pay out anything, ie repair/replacement of vehicles, medical and legal costs, loss of earnings etc, or whether they're simply referring to the cost of a replacement car seat.
The thing about using car seats' support legs inside or on top of filled storage boxes, is that many people believe that the floor inside these boxes is weaker than the floor of a car without storage compartments. I have been assured by various car seat experts that this is not the case and that some of these seats have passed crash tests without the leg being installed at all.
So just to be clear, the insurance would only be invalidated if the accident happened as a direct result of a seat not being fitted correctly. (Which would not be the case here). So what is an incorrectly fitted seat wasn't the cause of an accident, but did cause severe injuries to the child. Would that have insurance implications?
I would like to give you a link to the (short) discussion that made me come to you for advice. I hope you're able to see it.
Thank you, Margaret

Everything that you have just said is correct however if the child is injured as a result of the seat or the fitting thereof of the parents and whoever fitted it would possibly be on the end of a negligence claim.

I think the last comment at present from Wiebke Lax, starting “I know what you mean…” sums the matter up perfectly!

If I was a fitter, I would only fit approved seats in the approved way and I would refuse to fit seats supplied by the parent or anyone else.
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