Proof of insurance can take several forms, but it is essential for all drivers to have. You will be required to show it if you are pulled over, involved in an accident, or register a vehicle.
The most common type of proof of insurance is a card mailed to you or printed out by your insurance company. It will include your policy number as well as information about you and your vehicle and is typically kept in the glove compartment. Some car insurance companies allow you to show electronic proof of insurance.
Almost every state requires car insurance, and not having a card or other proof of coverage on hand can cause significant inconvenience and sometimes cost you money.
What Exactly is Proof of Insurance?
Proof of insurance is a card, printout, or digital document that demonstrates you have an active insurance policy and enables authorities to verify your coverage. In several common driving situations, you will be asked for your car insurance card or other proof of insurance.
- If you are stopped by police officers,
- If you are involved in an accident and require insurance information,
- A lender if you are financing a vehicle
- You are registering a newly purchased vehicle or renewing your licence plate at the DMV
The most common type of proof of insurance is a mailed-to-you insurance ID card. Many insurers will also email you the card to print, and some will allow you to show proof of insurance by logging into their mobile app or website.
Insurance cards include your policy number as well as some personal and vehicle information. This data could include:
- Number of insurance policy
- Policy implementation dates
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Vehicle model year
- Model of automobile
- Some coverage specifics
How to Obtain an Insurance Identification Card?
There are three relatively easy ways to obtain your vehicle insurance card.
- By mail from your insurance company: The simplest way to obtain a vehicle insurance card is to contact your insurer. Typically, they will mail you multiple paper insurance cards as part of the process of starting a new policy.
- You can print it yourself: You can also request that your agent or company email you a copy of the card, which you can print and keep in your glove compartment.
- You can access your insurance card via mobile apps from a variety of companies, including Allstate, Geico, State Farm, and Progressive.
How does an Insurance Card Appear?
A typical insurance card will include the name of the insurer as well as information about the driver and vehicle. It will not include a driver’s photo and may not include the driver’s address.
Why do you Require Proof of Insurance?
You must show proof of insurance because driving without insurance is illegal in almost every state. At almost every traffic stop, police officers will ask if you’re insured, and if you’re in an accident, it’s critical to exchange insurance information.
It is assumed that you do not have insurance unless you can show proof of it at the DMV, to police officers, or to a lender. As a result, you will have to prove your coverage later on.
Failure to Provide Proof of Insurance
The penalties for failing to show proof of auto insurance are relatively harmless, assuming you are indeed covered. If you have coverage but no card or other proof, it is your responsibility to prove it to a governmental entity within a certain timeframe. Ideally, you should resolve it as soon as possible.
If you do this, you may not have to pay a fine at all, or the fine may be minor. California and Tennessee, for example, will charge drivers between $20 and $25. In Illinois, that fine can be up to $100, with penalties increasing if you are not carrying proof of insurance at the time of the accident.
False Insurance Documentation
It is obvious that you should not attempt to obtain or use false proof of insurance. You should not be driving if you do not have insurance or other proof of financial responsibility.
Law enforcement officers have access to databases that allow them to quickly locate your insurance information. Any falsified documents are unlikely to survive such criticism, and the penalties could be severe.