Car Insurance Policy Number: What Is It and Why Do You Need It?
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We live in a world of numbers. We have numbers to identify everything, from our bank accounts to our medical records to our monthly bills. Everything, including us, has an identifying number attached to it in some way, it seems.
Car insurance policies are no exception. When you purchase insurance for your car, you’ll get a copy of your insurance policy. These papers will list a policy number; this is your account number. It is what insurers use to identify your file, and thus your insurance information.
If your policy covers multiple vehicles, the same policy number will apply for all the vehicles unless you’re purchasing an individual policy for each vehicle.
Finding Your Policy Number
Not having your car insurance policy number doesn’t negate your insurance coverage. It can, however, making filing a claim much more arduous than it has to be. So, where can you find this number when you need it?
The first place to look is on your insurance policy itself. Most insurance policies are an assembled combination of different standard forms, including coverage forms, a declarations page, and endorsements. Your policy number is generally found on the top of each page.
If you’ve just taken out the policy, you’ll receive a cover letter with your policy when it arrives via mail to your home. Your policy number is in the cover letter. Be sure you don’t get your policy number confused with your car’s Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).
You’ll also receive an auto insurance ID card or cards. Your policy number should be on this card.
And finally, you can find your policy number on your insurance invoices. Most companies will want this number included on your check if that’s your method of paying your premium.
Where to Keep Copies
When you purchase an auto insurance policy, or you renew your old policy, you’ll probably receive a thick packet of documents. You aren’t expected to carry this big packet of papers around with you. But it is your responsibility to provide proof of insurance when asked by a law enforcement official or others. So, you do need to have a copy of something with you when you’re driving to show that you’re in compliance with your state’s mandatory insurance laws (where applicable).
This is why the insurance company will issue you a set of auto insurance ID cards. These will have your name, your insurance company’s name and the name of your agent. It will list the dates of coverage and usually includes some reference to the type of insurance you have, such as liability, collision, etc.
The insurance card will also have your policy number. This is the most important information on the card because it is the identifier that’s needed to verify your active coverage.
Why does the insurance company give you two copies? You’re intended to keep one in your wallet or purse and one in your car. However, with identity theft now a major concern nationwide, more and more are shying away from keeping a copy of the insurance card in the glove compartment or inside the center console.
The solution is to keep a digital copy on your phone. Most of us have our phones with us at all times. Why not use them to store personal papers such as insurance cards? States have done a good job of keeping up with technology here. As of June 2017, New Mexico was the lone holdout against allowing drivers to use electronic proof of insurance when complying with a law enforcement request for proof of coverage.
Times You May Need Your Insurance Policy Number
There may never come a time when you need to produce your insurance policy number. But when you do need it, you really need it. Most states have minimum requirements for car insurance that you must have if you’re driving. That means, by extension, that you must be able to provide proof of insurance when requested.
Here are some specific times you may need to provide proof of insurance by showing your insurance policy number.
· Police officer. Should a law enforcement officer pull you over or you find yourself in line at a vehicle checkpoint, you should be able to show proof that you have insurance coverage.
· Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). In most states, you may need to provide proof of insurance when the time to renew your license plate comes around.
· Insurance company. An insurance company may want to see proof that you currently have insurance coverage before offering you a new policy with them. In this case, they’ll most likely want to see a copy of your original cover letter showing your policy number or a copy of the declarations page that came with your initial insurance packet.
· Lender. If you’ve financed your car, the lender will probably want to hold the loss payee designation on your policy. They’ll want proof of this listing, of course. In this case, they’ll want to see a declarations page rather than your insurance card.
· Claimant. If you’re involved in an accident, whether you are at fault or not, a police officer or the other driver involved will expect you to produce proof of your insurance coverage. The officer will need the information to fill out the police report and the other driver will want the information so he/she can follow-up with you regarding repairs and other matters resulting from the accident.
Our World of Numbers
In our modern global society, numbers make the world go around. Your car insurance policy number is an easy one to keep at hand.