All you need to know about your car insurance policy number
The main takeaway:
- Each auto insurance policy has an identification number set by the insurance company and used to identify you and the vehicle you are insuring.
- If you lose your car insurance card, you may need to find your car insurance policy number through your virtual card on the company’s smartphone app so a replacement can be obtained.
- Only in Connecticut, New Mexico, and Washington, DC, a copy or virtual card is not sufficient proof of insurance if you have an accident or need to provide physical proof of coverage.
You may have seen an eight to 10 digit number in your car insurance policy documents or on your insurance card and wondered why? This is your car insurance policy number and is used by your insurance company to identify you and the vehicle they insure on.
Whether you hold a physical car insurance card or choose to use the virtual car insurance card in your insurance company’s app, you should find your policy number displayed prominently.
If you are insuring multiple vehicles with the same company, your insurance card may list all the vehicles under one insurance policy number or you may have an individual card for each vehicle containing your policy number followed by an identification number, for example, 0000000000-1, 0000000000- 2 and so on.
An example of a car insurance policy number
While all insurance companies build and format their cards differently, most insurance ID proofs usually contain the following information:
- The name, address, and phone number of the insurance company, as well as an email address.
- The name and phone number of your insurance agent.
- Your name and address (although more companies are issuing a card without your address to keep in your car – no address will protect your personal belongings in case your car gets burgled and the contents stolen. At least the thief won’t know where you live).
- Your car insurance policy number.
- Claims Resolution Phone Number – This is the number to call if you have an accident and need immediate help or advice. These numbers are generally available 24/7/365.
- Details about your vehicle such as:
- Car make and model
- The year of manufacture of the car
- Vehicle identification number such as your auto VIN number (usually 16 alphanumeric digits).
source: penguin value
Is there a difference between the car insurance policy number and the customer number?
It depends. Sometimes the company may use the policy number as a customer number if you have one policy. However, many large national insurance companies assign a policy number to the insured item and assign you a unique customer (or account) number for all of your business products.
This is especially useful for the company if you have a number of policies, for example, multiple vehicles, home or life insurance. You will see the customer number on the invoices, declaration pages and policy documents as well as your car insurance policy number.
What if I lose my insurance card?
If you lose your physical card, your insurance company can expedite the replacement process simply by calling their customer service number. Using your name, they should be able to complete the auto insurance policy number lookup and quickly get a new card in the mail.
In the meantime, you can rely on your virtual card available through their app or you may be able to print one from the website under the policy documents section.
Either solution is appropriate until your new card is received except for Connecticut, Washington DC, or New Mexico. In those states, you will need to carry a paper copy of the card until you receive the replacement card.
In the other 47 states, many people choose to use the virtual card all the time and that works fine unless you’re in a location that doesn’t have cellular service. A wise choice would be to always carry a paper copy in case you do not have access to your virtual card.
If, for some reason, you don’t have access to your virtual card, you can try searching one of these documents to find your car insurance policy number:
- Check your premium invoices – your details should contain your policy number with the customer number printed on it.
- Review your insurance declaration page – usually the first or second page on your car insurance policy itself, the ads page is a summary of your insurance policy’s coverages, including deductibles and limit numbers for the maximum you have coverage for certain categories such as bodily injury Coverage, property damage coverage, etc. (eg 100/100/300). Your policy number will be listed at the top.
- Contact the insurance agent who sold you the policy – your agent should be able to search for your policy without any problem.
When do I need my car insurance policy number?
In most circumstances, you probably don’t think much about your car insurance policy number. It’s one of those things that you don’t even think about until you need it.
Usually, there are four times you may need your policy number and insurance card, including:
1. When you get into a car accident.
Nobody wants to be involved in a car accident, but unfortunately, it sometimes happens. When that happens, you will want to share the information with the driver or other drivers.
You will also need to provide information to the police who respond to the scene. Having a police report with your identifying information attached will be of great help if the claim is contested or you go to court.
2. When you are arrested by the police.
Depending on your state’s mandatory insurance coverage laws, any encounter with law enforcement will involve (or whoever drives the vehicle at all) to produce three things: a valid driver’s license, a current vehicle registration, and a valid and valid insurance card.
Without these three things, you could be at serious risk of legal action, especially if you have also been involved in an accident or have drunk alcohol.
3. If you need to contact your insurance provider.
Whenever you contact your insurance agent or company, they will usually ask for your car insurance policy number. Fortunately, if you don’t know the number or your card isn’t available, the insurance company can look up your information using your name or even your Social Security number.
4. When renewing your driver’s license.
This again depends on your state, but a number of states require proof of insurance to register a car or to schedule a driving test. It makes sense – your state wants to make sure you comply with the law and will refuse to enroll you if you can’t provide evidence.
If you are unsure of your state’s insurance requirements and provide proof of insurance, check out these auto insurance state guides.
When should I be sure of getting someone else’s car insurance policy number?
Definitely if you are in a car accident!
Once you are sure that everyone is safe or that medical care is provided, if necessary, it is time to share information. It doesn’t matter who is at fault, each party needs the other’s information so that a just solution can be found through the claims process.
By presenting your insurance card, you are showing goodwill and it can go a long way in stressful situations such as a car accident.
Instead of trying to jot down every detail that might be tricky in these situations, take a picture of the front and back of the card. This way, you won’t lose any information later or find that you wrote it down incorrectly. You and your insurance company will be happy to have the full details when you call to initiate a claim.
What other details should I have after an accident?
Since insurance cards contain a lot of good information, definitely start there. But also remember to get (if possible), the insured’s phone number, and be sure to write this down separately – either a landline or a mobile phone if available.
Also get your driver’s license number and license plate number to help identify the other driver if needed.
What if I don’t get all the correct information?
It could happen, right? There is a lot going on and it can be very stressful. Perhaps the other driver is combative and not willing to cooperate. Whatever the reason, you can walk away from the accident without the required information, such as the policy number.
In this case, you can always try to contact the driver by phone. They may be more willing to cooperate after the fact. If that fails, go to the police station and ask for a copy of the accident report. You are legally entitled to have any police report attached to your name. This report should have the other person’s insurance information listed, so you can provide this information to your insurance company.
As a last effort, you can contact the major insurance companies to see if they insure the person – the top 10 national auto insurance companies insure 72% of all drivers, so there’s a better-than-average chance of finding them.
Try this comparison table if you have a policy number, but don’t know what insurance company is – here are some general guidelines from eight of the top carriers:
Auto insurance policy numbers formation chart
|Allstate||9 numbers in increments of 3||999999999|
|Mutual freedom||3 letters, dash, 3 digits, dash, 6 digits, dash, 2 digits||AAA-999-999999-99|
|nationally||4 digits, 1 letter, space, 6 digits||9999A 999999|
|gradual||9 digits or 8 digits, dash, 1 digit||999999999 or 99999999-9|
|Saveko||Single letter, 7 to 8 digits||A999999|
|travelers||9 digits, space, 3 digits, space, 1 digit||999999999 999 9|
|United States of America||USAA Account #, Letter U, space, 8-10 digits||99999 99 99U 99999999|
Remember, if the accident wasn’t your fault, but you can’t pinpoint the other person, you could be liable for damage to your car that can get expensive with the deductible and the chance of your insurance premiums going up.
In the final analysis
Your car insurance policy number is your insurance company’s specific way to identify you and your vehicle. It may be your customer number as well, but large insurance companies often have two separate numbers with the customer number identifying you as a customer and the policy number identifying the vehicle they insure.
If you insure multiple vehicles or insure your home and car through the same insurance company, policy numbers easily identify each product.
In the event of an accident, you will want to be able to show your insurance card and your car insurance policy number to prove coverage and to further facilitate claims adjudication once a claim has been submitted.
Looking for auto insurance quotes?
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