Many of us don’t need our insurance cards often, but when the moment comes, having that card on hand is crucial. Quick access to your proof of insurance will be necessary if you get pulled over for a traffic stop.
The way drivers prove they are insured is with an insurance card. Each insurance card features a policy number unique to your insurance account. After a car accident or if you get pulled over by the police, you’ll need the proof of insurance with you in the car.
In this article, we’ll tell you where the policy number is on the card, how to find it and when you’ll need it.
Where can I find my car insurance policy number?
Every provider’s insurance card will look different. No matter who the provider is, the card will list a policy number.
Most policy numbers are between 8 and 10 digits. The placement of the policy number will change depending on which provider issued the card. Many car insurance cards list the policy number around the center of the card, and the number will usually have the words “policy number” in front of it.
You need to have this card with you—either physically or digitally—before you get behind the wheel.
Insurance companies will typically provide you with two cards for each vehicle on your policy. You may find it helpful to put a card in each respective vehicle and have the primary driver of that vehicle keep the other in their wallet or a safe place at home. The policy number is the same for all vehicles on your policy.
Another number to know: VIN
A vehicle identification number, or VIN, is a number unique to a motor vehicle.
The VIN will usually be listed on an insurance card near other information about the registered vehicle, such as make, model and model year.
A VIN holds many important details on the car, like manufacturer, engine size, plant where the car was assembled and the country that made the car.
Why do I need my car insurance policy number?
You might not need your car insurance policy number for a long time, but it’s essential at certain times.
Here are the most common situations where the car insurance policy number is a must:
- At the DMV: When you go in to register your vehicle or renew your license plate, the DMV will ask to see your proof of insurance. A few states have exceptions to this rule, so check your local DMV website to see what they require.
- After an accident: When you get in a car wreck, you must exchange insurance information with the other driver. You’ll also need to call the police so they can file a report, and the police may also want to see your proof of insurance.
- Getting pulled over: When you get pulled over by the police, they will ask for license, registration and proof of insurance. Failing to have any of these items with you is illegal in most states and could mean a hefty fine or other consequences.
- Contacting your provider: When you call your insurance provider, they’ll ask for your policy number to look up your account. If you don’t have your policy number, they may be able to find your account using other information, such as birthday and social security number.
While these are the most common situations, there may be others. Always know where to find your card because you never know when you might need it.
What to do if you lose your policy number or insurance card?
Car insurance providers generally issue two insurance cards for every vehicle insured under the policy. The best practice is to keep one card in your vehicle’s glove box and one card in a safe place at home.
If you find yourself without an insurance card, you have a few options.
If you call your provider, they can mail you new cards. Many insurers also offer online resources, which makes the process much faster. Most providers can email you a printable company or let you access the card through an app.
If the provider has an official app, you should be able to find your policy number at the touch of a button. These digital insurance cards are now accepted in most states as proof of insurance if you get pulled over.
What if I need someone else’s policy number?
After a car accident, the drivers involved need to exchange insurance information. When this happens, you’ll need to ask the other driver for their insurance. A good way to go about this is to offer yours first as a sign of goodwill.
Accidents usually leave people shaken, and it might be difficult to write down all the necessary information in the moment. We recommend taking a picture of the other driver’s insurance card with a smartphone. That way, you’ll have everything you need to file a claim later.
After an accident, call the police right away so they can file a report, which will be helpful if there is any dispute in who’s at fault in the accident.
If you fail to get the other driver’s insurance information, the police report could help. It will list the other driver’s personal information, along with their insurance information, so you can get their policy number for the claim.
- Driving without insurance is illegal in most of the U.S.
- Keeping your insurance card in your glovebox is recommended.
- Using an app for a digital insurance card to serve as proof of insurance is an option in most states.
A policy number is listed on your car insurance card, which is issued by your provider after you sign up for the policy. Providers usually issue two cards per vehicle. It’s a good idea to keep one in your car and one at home for backup.
Remember, the policy number is different from the VIN, which is used to identify the car, not the insurance policy. The policy number is generally 8 to 10 digits and listed in the center of the card. It should be labeled as a “policy number.” If there are any questions, your insurance provider will be happy to help.