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It is standard for virtually all auto insurance companies to send their customers two proof of insurance cards. One is meant to be carried in the vehicle at all times, the other is meant to be carried on the driver’s person or filed away in case it is needed. Proof of insurance, if stopped or involved in an accident, is a requirement in almost all states.
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Carrying insurance is not an option. It is a requirement to fulfill motor vehicle and auto insurance laws established by each state. New Hampshire is the only state that does not legally require insurance, although they do require proof of financial responsibility. Each state has its own requirements based on revenue, accidents, and uninsured motorist statistics.
Because it is required by law, you must have proof of this insurance with you whenever you drive. When you are stopped for a moving violation or involved in a car accident, you will be asked to provide the proof on the spot.
Failure to do so can result in anywhere from a ticket to the suspension of your license depending on the state you are driving in.
Proof of insurance is also required when you go to get or renew your driver’s license. When you register a vehicle or renew your plates, in most states, you have to provide proof of insurance as well. Most states work very hard to make sure those who are given the privilege to own or operate a vehicle have the coverage that is needed.
Although insurance companies use a national database that records who and who does not carry insurance, this database cannot be accessed by certain organizations and it certainly cannot be accessed when you are in an accident. This is why that one little piece of paper is so important.
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Your auto insurance card can provide a lot of information for the police, another driver involved in an accident with you, the motor vehicle department, or another individual driving your vehicle.
First of all, an insurance card identifies the company with which you have your policy. Most cards will have this information at the top of the insurance card along with the company’s address and phone number.
The card will also tell which state the insurance is held in. This is especially important for those driving out of state who may have different requirements than the state the insurance is held in.
Your policy number and the effective date will also be on the card. This is important because if you are carrying an expired card, it is the same as not having proof of insurance. Also included on the card will be the names of those insured under the policy.
Lastly, vehicle year, vehicle make, and vehicle identification number (VIN) is also on the card. This is important because it lets the viewer know that the insurance card belongs to the vehicle that is being driven.
Depending on the company, the back of the card may have some tips for the driver in case of an accident along with claim filing instruction. If you carry a roadside assistance policy with your vehicle, the back of the card can also provide contact information for this service.
If you lose or misplace your insurance card, you need to contact your insurance company for an immediate replacement. Most companies will e-mail you a temporary card that you can print and keep with you until the permanent card arrives in the mail.
Other companies allow you to print the permanent card right at home.
It is important to always have two cards. If you lose one, ask for a replacement. For example, if your car is towed and impacted, your proof of insurance will be in the vehicle and you will have to contact your insurance company to provide a copy of your proof of insurance.
This can take up valuable time when you are trying to get your vehicle back. If your vehicle is stolen, the insurance card can provide important information for police to use immediately such as your VIN number.
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