An auto insurance declarations page is a summary of your policy. This page lists your coverage, limits, deductibles, effective dates, the individual(s) covered, and other critical information. A declaration page contains the most important information in an “at a glance” format.
Your insurer will provide your copy after you purchase a policy. Then, you will receive a new one each time you change or renew your policy, showing your current policy coverage dates.
Your auto insurance card and declaration page have much of the information, but the insurance card is more succinct, and the declaration page contains more policy-specific information. You also are not required to carry your declaration page to prove insurance.
Understanding Your Insurance Declaration Page
Your car insurance declaration page has a good deal of information packed into a single page, which means it can be a little difficult to understand. The following are some data points that you will typically find on your declaration page and why you’d want this information handy.
Policy Number and Period
Your policy number and term period are possibly the most important pieces of information on the insurance declaration page. You’ll need to know your policy number if you ever make a claim, and the policy period lets you know when the policy is effective. Look for the effective date to determine when your policy begins and the expiration date to find out when it’s over or when you need to renew your policy.
Driver and Vehicle Information
Your insurance policy will cover you, as the driver of your vehicle, but you can list other people who drive your car so they have coverage as well. Typically, this includes spouses and children, but you can also include roommates or other unrelated individuals who you trust with your vehicle.
Not only does this section cover the drivers but it also lists the different cars on your policy. Families frequently put all their vehicles on the same auto insurance policy. The declarations page will list each vehicle’s identification number (VIN), and the make, model, and year of the car. If you don’t have the same coverages for all your vehicles, it will list the policy specifics for each.
Names of Other Relevant Parties
In addition to listing the people who are covered on your car insurance, there will be some other names. These individuals or institutions have some interest in the property. One name you’ll often see is the lender or lessor’s name if you’re financing the car or it’s on lease. You’ll also see your insurance company and possibly your individual agent’s name on the policy. Some people also list excluded drivers and non-drivers in their policy.
There are different types of auto coverage, the declarations page is a quick resource to check what you have and what the limits and deductibles are. The most common auto policy coverages are:
- Liability Coverage – This can include both bodily injury liability which will help pay another person’s injury expenses if you cause an accident and property damage liability which will help pay for the property you damage.
- Uninsured or Underinsured Motorist Coverage – Not everyone has all the auto insurance they should, and you might be left with bills for damage or injuries that were their fault. This type of insurance can help cover some of those charges. This is required insurance coverage in some states, but not all.
- Comprehensive Coverage – This type of coverage is often optional, and it usually covers damage or losses to your vehicle that aren’t related to a car accident like theft, storm damage, vandalism, etc.
- Collision Coverage – This type of insurance is useful and pays for your repairs whether you hit another vehicle or your car hits an object.
- Medical Payments Coverage – This auto insurance is for anyone who is in your vehicle and injured during an accident. This coverage is required in some states but not all.
- Personal Injury Protection (PIP) – PIP is only available in some states, and is also required in some states. It’s similar to medical payments coverage, but may go beyond medical expenses and cover secondary expenses that you incur due to your injuries.
There are other types of auto insurance that you can choose to add to your plan to customize your coverage. Some of the more common ones include:
- Rental Car Coverage – If you are in an accident, this insurance helps cover the cost of a rental car while your vehicle is being fixed.
- Gap Coverage – If you still have a loan on your vehicle but it’s totaled in an accident, Gap Coverage pays the difference between what the car is valued at and what you still owe over and above that amount.
- New Car Replacement – If you’re in an accident and your vehicle is totaled, you’ll find that your insurance doesn’t cover the cost of a new one, only the value of your vehicle at the time of loss. Add this insurance and you can replace your vehicle with a new one.
- Rideshare Coverage – This is limited liability coverage for those who drive for a rideshare company.
- Classic Car Insurance – This type of insurance works similar to a regular auto policy, with the addition of coverage for a classic car’s agreed value and specifications.
There are other optional policies out there, so it’s best to discuss your unique situation with your insurance agent so you can make an informed decision on cost vs. benefit.
Your auto declaration page also lists policy limits. These are predetermined amounts at which your insurance caps out and will not pay anymore. That means any expenses above and beyond these amounts are your responsibility.
Different parts of your insurance coverage will have different limits, so don’t be surprised if your personal injury coverage has a different cap value than your property damage policy.
Premiums and Deductibles
One area of the declarations page that is often referenced is the premiums and deductibles information. Your insurance premium is the amount you pay for coverage, often on a weekly, monthly, or annual basis. Prices vary widely for many different reasons, and they can often be adjusted by changing the coverage you carry.
A deductible is the amount of money you’re responsible for covering out-of-pocket before the insurance steps in and covers their portion. Collision and comprehensive insurance policies have deductibles, and they might be different amounts.
To understand how your deductible comes into play, assume you hit a tree with your car. You crushed one door and replacing it will cost you $2500. Your collision insurance has a $500 deductible so you’ll have to pay $500, and the insurance company will pay the remaining balance of $2000.
There are a number of auto insurance discounts available, making it possible to save money on coverage. Bundling home insurance and car insurance is a common discount, and some others include:
- Good Student Discounts
- Safe Driver Discounts
- User-Based Discounts
- Low Mileage Discounts
- Accident-Free Discounts
If you have any of these discounts, there’s a good chance that they will be listed on your declaration page.
Endorsements and Riders
An additional bit of information you may find on your declaration page is something called endorsements and/or riders. These are the optional coverages that you can add to your policy or amendments you made to an original policy.
How To Get Your Auto Insurance Declaration Page
If you’re wondering how to get your vehicle insurance declaration page, you might find that you already have it. This information is mailed to you once you sign up for auto insurance coverage. If you didn’t save it, you can ask your insurance agent to send you a copy. If you don’t have a specific agent, calling your insurance company directly will also get you access to that information.
Another option is to check with your online insurance account. This information is typically listed somewhere in your portfolio.
When Will You Need Your Car Insurance Declaration Page?
There are some instances where you want to reference your car insurance declaration page. The following are situations where you might find it useful:
- Buying a car (it can act as proof of insurance)
- Checking policy limits
- Looking up deductibles
- Comparing different policies/prices
- Reviewing existing policy details
- Employer requires this information
It should be noted that most employers don’t require your declarations page, but if you do some driving for work and use your vehicle, they may need this information. This is to make sure that you have adequate coverage and that everyone is following required laws when on the clock.