Do not let the fancy terms “declarations page” fool you. Simply put, a declarations page, also called a dec page in the industry, is the document that shows your personal information and how much insurance that you carry.
Many people argue that the declarations page of a car insurance policy is undoubtedly the most important piece of paperwork that you will receive when you purchase a policy or when your policy is up for renewal.
The only other piece of paper that could be deemed just as important is your ID card, but this is up for debate because an ID card does not contain near as much information as a dec page.
A car insurance declarations page is extremely important for a number of reasons. Not only should you review your dec page at every renewal to find out how much you are being charged, you should also review the page to ensure that all of the information about the drivers, the vehicles, your ratings and your coverage options are as accurate as possible.
Statistics show that when a policy is up for renewal, several of these renewal policies contain outdated and inaccurate information that costs you money.
If you are not familiar with how to review a declarations page and where to look for errors, read on and learn what you need to know to save money and to avoid a claim that you are not covered against. And be sure to use the FREE tool above to start comparing quotes for car insurance.
What is the difference between a quote and a dec page?
Some confuse a declarations page and a car insurance quote. While the two may look very similar, you will only receive a declarations page when you actually purchase auto insurance from the insurer. If you do not make the payment to make the policy effective, you do not have any protection.
A quote is a non-binding piece of paper that may show you coverage options, limits, your personal information and various rating factors that have been used to determine the rate.
An auto insurance quote does not afford protection until the policy has been paid for. Even after it is paid for the policy must be underwritten and issued before the policy is issued.
During this underwriting period, you may have protection but the rates will not be guaranteed until the information that you provide is verified.
If you do provide inaccurate information, it is possible that your quote can change and you can choose whether you will accept the new rate or you will ask for the policy to be cancelled.
This situation is called a misquote in the insurance industry, and it is completely legal for rates to change as long as the agent did not misquote you intentionally to earn your business.
Whenever your rates change, you will always receive a new declarations page but will not receive a quote form unless you are comparing rates or asking for sample rates of a new car or to add a new driver.
What information can be found on a declarations page?
Now that you know the difference between quotes and declarations pages, the next step is to discover what types of information is found on this paperwork.
Every company has their own page layout, and some companies will provide more information on the dec page than others, but a majority of companies provide similar information.
The standard declarations page entails all of the important information about you, your vehicle, your coverage, your premiums and the discounts that you are receiving.
Here is a breakdown of the pieces of information you can access on your policy dec page:
At the top of each page, you will find the name of the named insured, the mailing address and also the effective date of the policy.
Do not confuse the mailing address with your physical address if they are different. Sometimes, if there is more than one registered owner, there will be multiple names in the mailing window.
No declarations page is complete without listing the risks or property that is covered. In this case, the property covered will be a vehicle. To ensure that the vehicle is identified, the VIN will be listed along with the make and model.
Next to this, rating information on the car can be found.
This may include the assigned driver, annual mileage, usage, and odometer reading. If the vehicle is financed, the finance company may also be listed as a loss payee.
In addition to identifying the covered property, a car insurance dec page will identify the listed drivers.
Listed drivers are those who are in the household or who have been added to the policy. Insurers collect premiums for listed drivers, but as long as a driver is not excluded from your policy, they are covered if they borrow your car.
Regular drivers should appear on the declarations page to avoid denied claims. On the listed drivers section, it will include names, birth dates, assigned vehicles, occupation and whether or not they are a student.
Claims and Accident Information
Claims and accidents affect your premiums. The company can surcharge you if you have a chargeable accident or if you have a moving violation. This is why the company will list surcharged claims and accidents on the paperwork. Here you will find the date of the accident/violation, a description, and who received the surcharge.
If this is inaccurate, you may need to get a Letter of Experience from your previous insurer showing that your history is clean and the record is an error.
Coverage Limits and Options
Your declarations page needs to show you what type of coverage you are paying for. Generally, the coverage will be separated by vehicle. It will show the limits to the options that you carry and may show “not carried” on options you have rejected.
Each section will also show how much you pay for the term for a specific coverage. The premium will not show if the coverage is not carried.
Organized declarations pages will have a separate section that shows a list of all of the policy discounts that you receive. You could have multi-car, multi-policy, Good Driver, Accident-free, Good Student, Student Away, Low Mileage, Driver Safety Training, Association, Alarm, Safety Feature and other discounts listed.
Be sure to look at these carefully to ensure you are getting all of the credits you deserve.
Why the Declarations Page is Such an Important Tool
There are many key duties of a dec page that you might not be familiar with. Many people just file their paperwork away when they get it in the mail, but be sure you have access to this file when you need it.
One very important use of the dec page is to review it to confirm your information is accurate and you have the coverage that you believed you had. One small error could be the difference between a paid claim and a denied claim. If you do not review the paperwork the company sends you, the company can argue that you did not notify them there was an error.
Another reason that this is important is that you will always receive a new page when a change is made to your policy.
If you add a new car, add a new coverage, change the coverage limits or get a new discount, you will get a new dec page in the mail or in your email inbox.
This helps ensure you that the customer service agent made the right changes and that it is in the system.
Did you know that you need a dec page when you are buying a car? If you want to drive off of the lot, the lender is going to ask that you show them that the car will be covered.
Your dec page shows how much coverage you carry and proves the coverage will extend to a new purchase for 10 to 14 days.
Keep in mind that ID cards are not enough to show that the property has physical damage coverage.
If you bring in only ID cards, there is a good chance that your vehicle purchase will be delayed.
The last reason a deg page is important is because it helps you comparison shop as efficiently as possible. If you want to find the lowest possible premiums, the best way to do this is to compare premiums through multiple insurers.
By doing this, you can find the company that targets people in your risk class. Use our FREE online rate comparison tool below to get started!