What is a car insurance ID card?
When you purchase a car insurance policy the respective car insurance company will provide you with an ID car detailing such items as:
- Name of the Insurance Company
- Name of the Agent issuing the policy
- Effective Date of Coverage
- Policy Expiration Date
- Policy Number
- The VIN number of the vehicle insured
- Year / Make / Model of the insured vehicle
- Name of the insured policyholder
Some cards may also contain a contact phone number and smaller details but the above list contains all the information needed to show proof of insurance if requested by law enforcement, employees of the DMV or anyone else requiring proof of car insurance.
Why are car insurance ID cards important?
All states require drivers to carry proof of insurance and without sufficient proof you can be cited for driving with no insurance. If you have insurance and simply forgot your wallet then a couple things may happen:
- Law enforcement may simply write you a ticket with a small fee requiring that you mail in proof of insurance within the next few days. Should you fail to do this however its very possible your small fine could turn into a much larger one and even have your license suspended.
- Law enforcement could request you stop driving the vehicle and you will need to get someone to pick you up.
Car insurance ID cards are also very important in the event of an accident as you will need to share your policy information with other drivers and its rare for anyone to know all their policy information by heart.
Car insurance companies have traditionally issued ID cards through the mail but with the advance of the internet a lot of insurers now allow policyholders to print ID cards though an online account management area or even download policy information to an iPhone (see sample of the Esurance iPhone app to the right)
Is an electronic copy of my car insurance ID card sufficient?
In the event of a car accident having your car insurance ID card downloaded to your mobile phone can certainly help however we would not count on law enforcement accepting an image from your mobile phone just yet. Companies like Esurance, State Farm and GEICO all have great apps to use and download car insurance ID cards but you should always have a paper copy in your wallet to be safe.
Some law enforcement officials have access to electronic verification systems where they can instantly see if your vehicle is insured. Regardless if you have your car insurance ID card handy there are still ways to check if you have coverage in force.
“The best thing to do is always have your car insurance policy information handy”
If that means downloading the policy information to your phone, carrying an ID card in your wallet or keeping proof of insurance in your glove box – however you do it – having quick access to your auto insurance ID card will make life much easier in the event of an accident or stop by law enforcement. Plus it is mandatory by most state laws.
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