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Car insurance policies are not tangible products. When you purchase a policy through a carrier, you’re entering into a contractual agreement with an auto insurance company. You agree to pay the company a specified premium that’s calculated by the insurer and the insurer agrees to honor claims that you present if you have the right coverage.
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While the insurance is more of a service than a physical product, it’s the declarations page that makes auto insurance tangible. The declarations page is a document issued by an auto insurance company that defines who, what, when, and where coverage is afforded. If you’d like to know what you can find on your declarations page and when you’ll receive it, here’s a guide to reference:
What is the purpose of a declarations page?
You should never just take an insurance agent’s word for it when it comes to your auto insurance coverage. All policyholders should be able to find their coverage information when they need it. This coverage information is given to you in the form of a declarations page. This page can be used to verify coverage, check the accuracy of your information, or to shop around.
What differentiates an ID card from a declarations page?
Each customer will get an auto insurance ID card and a declarations page when they are buying a personal car insurance policy. While both documents represent the same policy, they are very different. Auto insurance ID cards are used as proof of insurance and are small so that they can easily be carried in your glove box.
What differentiates ID cards and declarations pages is the information that you find on each. On an ID card, there’s limited information. It’s typical for the card to contain only your name, address, policy number, policy term, insurer’s contact number, and VIN. The rest of the paper includes information on your duties after a claim.
What type of information is on the declarations page?
You’ll find most of the information that you need about your own personal policy by referencing your declarations page. Instead of including only basic information, the declarations page will include all of the information on your coverage limits and covered drivers. If you’d like to know what’s listed on the standard declarations page, here are some of the sections:
- Named insured
- Mailing address
- Policy number
- Policy term
- Insurance company contact information
- Covered drivers rated on the policy
- Driver vehicle assignments
- Driver discounts
- Vehicle year, make, model, and VIN
- Vehicle aftermarket features and safety discounts
- Coverage options on each vehicle
- Policy deductibles
- Policy discounts
- Loss payee clauses for financed vehicles
When will you receive your declarations page?
Every company underwrites a policy before it is actually issued. The purpose of underwriting is to determine whether or not the information that was given for the quote is accurate. If you weren’t forthcoming with information or you forgot about a ticket you received in the past, your quote can change.
Because the rate on your quote isn’t guaranteed, you won’t receive a declarations page right after you apply. In most cases, you’ll be given a paper quote and then a copy of your application.
The agent should also give you a copy of disclosures that you signed to submit your application.
It’s not until the underwriting reports have been run and risk has fully be assessed that the policy is ready for issuance. After it’s issued, your declarations page is sent.
How is your declarations page sent?
Since the company is required by law to notify you when your rate changes, you will receive your declarations page with your final rate within 30 to 60 days of submitting your application. This is called the policy’s underwriting period. Once the period has elapsed or the policy has been processed, the declarations page and your invoice will be mailed to you.
When do you get a new declarations page?
The longest that your declarations page will stay valid is for the 6-month or 12-month term that you’re carrying. After the policy period is up, you’ll be sent a new declarations page with your renewal paperwork. If rating information has changed, the changes will show on the document along with your new premium.
You can also get new documents when you make changes to your policy. If you add a new car, remove a driver, or add a coverage to your plan, you can expect an endorsed declarations page that shows the endorsement that was made. Since you voluntarily made the change, you might pay a difference premium than your initial documents show.
Why You Need a Declarations Page When You’re Shopping for Insurance
Having all of the documents that you need to get an auto insurance quote will help you ensure that the rates that you get are accurate. While you do need to know if you have accidents and tickets on your record, having your declarations page will ensure that you get apples-to-apples estimates. This is the only way to see which company is most competitive.
If you are tired of watching your rates go up each term, it’s time to consider making a change. You can’t expect to change companies without first doing the legwork to find out pricing information. Enter your personal information in an online quote tool, compare the quote to your declarations page, and decide if you should switch.
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