Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insurance...

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UPDATED: Sep 23, 2021

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Important Facts to Know

  • Auto insurance ID cards must be presented to law enforcement officers and to agents with the Department of Motor Vehicles to prove that you have existing insurance coverage
  • When someone buys auto insurance, only the named insured and the additional named insured will be listed as policyholders on the ID card
  • If you’re operating a friend or family members vehicle and you’re pulled over by law enforcement, your name doesn’t need to be listed on the insurance card for the officer to accept the card as proof of coverage
  • In most states, the names on your vehicle registration must match the name of insured on the insurance card for your coverage to satisfy state auto insurance requirements
  • Listed drivers on the insurance coverage will be found on the declarations page, not on the policy ID cards

Does my name have to be on the insurance card? What happens if your name is not on the insurance card?

Auto insurance is something that you must purchase and maintain when you own a vehicle. You’re required to carry proof of insurance with you at all times.

In most states, proof comes in the form of an auto insurance ID card.

Auto insurance ID cards are small pieces of paper, and you can conveniently keep the insurance card in your car or wallet. Since they are compact, they don’t include detailed information about your coverage limits, the drivers that are rated on the policy, or not everyone’s name will be listed.

Shopping around lets you compare car insurance coverage to get the best deal. Ensure your vehicle is covered with the right policy at the right price. Enter your ZIP to comparison shop today and get an insurance card in your name.

What information is included on an insurance card?

Does your car insurance and registration have to be under the same name?

All states require registered owners to maintain liability insurance on their vehicles for as long as the car has an active registration. But does your name have to be on the insurance card?

Here’s the information found on an ID card:

  • The name of the insurance company
  • The company’s contact information
  • The insurer’s NAIC license number
  • The policy number
  • The effective date of the coverage
  • The expiration date (terms can only be six months to twelve months in length)
  • Vehicle year, make, model, and VIN
  • The name of the policy owner (must match at least one name on the registration)

Since not all states have real-time verification systems, officials still require drivers to present their registration and proof of insurance when requested.

Since most stated require car insurance, If you can’t prove you have insurance, you will be charged with driving uninsured. According to the Insurance Information Institute, about 13 percent of drivers are uninsured.

Check out this table that lists the first offense penalties for driving uninsured in each state. Look for your state to see what you might face if you don’t have car insurance.

Penalties for Driving without Car Insurance by State
StatesFirst Offense Penalties for Driving without Car Insurance
AlabamaFine: Up to $500; registration suspension with $200 reinstatement fee
AlaskaLicense suspension for 90 days
ArizonaFine: $500 (or more); license/registration/license plate suspension for three months
ArkansasFine: $50 to $250; suspended registration/no plates until proof of coverage plus $20 reinstatement fee; the court may order impoundment
CaliforniaFine: $100-$200 plus penalty assessments. The court may order impoundment
ColoradoFine: $500 minimum fine; 4 points against your license; license suspension until you can show proof to the DMV that you are insured. Courts may add up to 40 hours of community service
ConnecticutFine: $100-$1000; suspended registration/license for one month (show proof of insurance) with $175 reinstatement fee
DelawareFine: $1500 minimum fine; license/privilege suspension for six months
FloridaSuspension of license and registration until reinstatement fee is paid and non-cancelable coverage is secured; $150 fee for the first reinstatement
GeorgiaSuspended registration with a $25 lapse fee and $60 reinstatement fee. Pay any other registration fees and vehicle ad valorem taxes due
HawaiiFine: $500 fine or community service granted by the judge. Either license suspension for three months or a required non-refundable insurance policy in force for six months
IdahoFine: $75; license suspension until financial proof. No reinstatement fee.
IllinoisFine: minimum of $500; License plate suspension until $100 reinstatement fee and insurance proof
IndianaLicense/registration suspension for 90 days to one year
IowaFine: $500 if in an accident; Otherwise, fine: $250; community service in lieu of fine. Possible citation/warning if pulled over plus removal of plates and registration possible when pulled over without insurance and reissued upon payment of fine or completed community service, proof of insurance, and $15 fee; possible impoundment when pulled over
KansasFine: $300 to $1000 and/or confinement in jail up to six months; license/registration suspension; reinstatement fee: $100
KentuckyFine: $500 to $1000 fine and/or sentenced up to 90 days in jail; license plates and registration revoked for one year or until proof of insurance is shown
LouisianaFine: $500 to $1000; If in a car accident, fine plus registration revoked and driving privileges suspended for 180 days
MaineFine: $100 to $500; suspension of license and registration until proof of insurance
MarylandLose license plates and vehicle registration privileges; pay uninsured motorist penalty fees for each lapse of insurance — $150 for the first 30 days, $7 for each day thereafter; Pay a restoration fee of up to $25 for a vehicle's registration
MassachusettsFine: $500 to $5000 fine and/or imprisonment for one year or less
MichiganFine: $200 to $500 fine and/or imprisonment for one year or less; license suspension for 30 days or until proof of insurance; $25 service fee to Secretary of State
MinnesotaFine: $200 to $1000 (or community service) and/or imprisonment for up to 90 days; License and registration revoked for no more than 12 months
MississippiFine: $1000; driving privileges suspended for one year or until proof of insurance
MissouriFour points against driving record; the driver may be supervised; suspended until proof of insurance with $20 reinstatement fee
MontanaFine: $250 to $500 fine and/or imprisonment for no more than 10 days
NebraskaLicense and registration suspension; reinstatement fee of $50 for each; proof of insurance to remain on file for three years
NevadaFine: $250 to $1,000 depending on the length of lapse; registration suspension — until payment of reinstatement fee and, depending on circumstances, an SR-22 (proof of financial responsibility) if lapsed more than 90 days; reinstatement fee: $250
New HampshireNot a mandatory insurance state. Proof of insurance may be required as the result of a conviction, crash involvement, or administrative action. If you are required to file proof of insurance and vehicles are registered in your name, you will be required to file an Owner’s SR-22 Certificate of Insurance.
New JerseyFine: $300 to $1000; license suspension for one year; pay surcharges for three years in the amount of $250 per year
New MexicoFine: up to $300 and/or imprisoned for 90 days; license suspension
New YorkFine: up to $1500 if involved in accident plus $750 civil penalty; license and registration suspension – revoked for one year; suspension of the license if without
insurance for 90 days; suspension lasts as long as registration suspension; Suspension of registration: equal to time without insurance or pays $8/day up to thirty days for which financial security was not in effect, $10/day from the thirty-first to the sixtieth day $12/day from the sixtieth to the ninetieth day and proof of security is provided. Or for the same time as the vehicle was operated without insurance.
North CarolinaFine: $50; registration suspension until proof of financial responsibility but 30-day suspension if in a car accident or knowingly driving without insurance; $50 restoration fee plus license plate fee
North DakotaFine: up to $1500 and/or 30 days in prison; 14 points against license plus suspension; Proof of insurance must be provided for one year; license with a
notation requiring that person keep proof of liability insurance on file with the department. The fee for this license is $50, and the fee to remove
this notation is $50.
OhioLicense/plates/registration suspension until requirements are met and $100 reinstatement fee is paid; maintain special high-risk coverage on file with the BMV for three to five years; If involved in an accident without insurance: all above penalties and a security suspension for two-plus years and an indefinite judgment suspension (until all damages are satisfied)
OklahomaFine: $250; jail time up to 30 days; license suspension with $275 reinstatement fee. Police can seize license plates and assign temporary plates and liability insurance — in effect for 10 days and can also impound the vehicle. The cost of the temporary coverage is added to the administrative fee and any fines paid for plates to be returned. If a car impounded, the owner must also pay towing and storage fees.
OregonFine: $130-$1000 ($260 is the presumptive fine); If involved in an accident — at least a one-year license suspension; proof of financial responsibility required for three years
PennsylvaniaRegistration suspended for three months (unless lapse was for less than 31 days and the vehicle not operated during that time); $88 restoration fee plus proof of insurance required to get it back; $500 civil penalty fee is optional in lieu of registration suspension plus $88 restoration fee — can only use this option once within a 12-month period
Rhode IslandFine: $100 to $500; license and registration suspension up to three months; reinstatement fee: $30 to $50
South CarolinaFine: $100-$200 or 30-day imprisonment; failure to surrender registration and plates when insurance lapses; license/registration suspended until proof of insurance plus $200 reinstatement fee
South DakotaFine: $100 and/or 30 days imprisonment; license suspension for 30 days to one year; filing a proof of insurance (SR-22) with the state for three years from the date of conviction. Failure to file proof will result in the suspension of vehicle registration, license plates, and driver license.
TennesseePay $25 coverage failure fee within 30 days of notice; if not paid, then an additional $100 coverage failure fee with suspension or revocation of registration plus reinstatement fee of no more than $25
TexasFine: $175 to $350 fine; plus, pay up to a $250 surcharge every year for three years (may be reduced with certain requirements)
UtahFine: $400; license suspension until proof of insurance (maintained for three years) and $100 reinstatement fee
VermontFine: up to $500; license suspended until proof of insurance
VirginiaFine: may pay $500 Uninsured Motorists Vehicle fee to drive without insurance at your own risk. If this fee is not paid in lieu of insurance, all driving and vehicle registration privileges will be suspended until a $500 statutory fee is paid, proof of insurance is filed for three years, and a reinstatement fee (if applicable) is paid
WashingtonFine: Up to $250 or more
West VirginiaFine: $200 to $5000; license suspended for 30 days with reinstatement fees, unless there's proof of insurance and $200 penalty fee
WisconsinFine: up to $500
WyomingFine: up to $750 fine and up to six months in jail
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The penalties are usually steep, even for a first offense. Make sure you keep your proof of insurance available so that you don’t face any of these penalties.

Watch this video to learn about fake insurance cards and how the scam will cost you in time and money.

Never try to get away with using a fake card. This is auto insurance fraud and it’s not worth the potential consequences.

Getting car insurance and keeping your insurance card with you will help you save money in fines.

Does your name have to be on the insurance card for Uber? You can read all you need to know about Uber car insurance here.

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When do you need to show your insurance identification card?

Does proof of insurance have to be in your name? If you are driving a car registered to you, then your name must be on the insurance policy.

There are a few different scenarios where you might be asked to show your proof of coverage. Since you can’t predict when you’ll need to show it, you should have the cards on you whenever you’re driving a vehicle that you own. Here are common scenarios:

  • You’re pulled over for a moving violation
  • You’re involved in an accident
  • You’re buying a new car and need to prove that you have existing coverage
  • You’re driving onto a military base
  • You’re registering a vehicle

The policy number on the car insurance card will give the information necessary for your insurance to be verified. If you have car insurance but no card, you can still receive a ticket for not being able to show you have insurance.

Electronic cards are handy so that you don’t have to worry about keeping up with a paper version. Still, it’s best to keep a physical card in your glove compartment just in case you need it.

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Are the listed drivers found on the ID card?

ID cards aren’t meant to include all of the information about your policy. While some companies do have a space for the rated drivers on the policy, most companies don’t.

The only names that will be found on the insurance cards are the names of the individuals who own the insurance policy.

What happens if someone borrowing the car is pulled over?

Does your name have to be on car insurance if you are borrowing the car?

If someone who’s borrowing the car is pulled over and the police check if you have car insurance and registration, the name of the driver borrowing the car doesn’t need to be on the documents.

The law enforcement officer might ask some questions to find out how you know the vehicle owner, but as long as you were given permission, you shouldn’t have issues.

If you are going to borrow someone else’s car a lot, you might want to look into non-owner car insurance. This type of policy will let you pick the amount of coverage you are comfortable with, and you will have an insurance card in your name.

Why is it important to have the right name on your insurance card?

Does car insurance have to be in my name?

Some auto insurance companies ask you how you want the names to be listed on your policy. What you might not know is that the way that you list the names on your insurance can affect your registration and your future claims payments.

Here are some things to keep in mind when you’re selecting the named insureds for your policy:

  • At least one of the registered owners on your registration must match one of the named insureds
  • In some states, all of the named insureds and legal owners must match, or the coverage won’t be accepted by the state, and you will be fined
  • If you don’t list yourself as a named insured, and you handle insurance business, you won’t be authorized to make policy changes when necessary
  • Claims payments are made to the named insureds only
  • If you write “and” instead of “or” when there are multiple named insureds, both legal owners must sign off on claims checks

Contact your agent to learn how to change the name on the car insurance card if it is not correct or add a name to car insurance. They can also help you get a new auto insurance card for your car if you’ve lost the original.

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What are electronic verification systems?

The name on the insurance cards might not matter, but it’s critical that you present valid ID cards that haven’t expired. In the past, it was easy to get away with presenting a permanent ID card for an auto insurance policy that was canceled for non-payment months before.

With new electronic systems, not having a valid ID card could get you in even more trouble.

Electronic verification systems help the department and officers verify the status of insurance coverage at any given time. If you present an ID card, and the officer can see that your coverage has been canceled, you could be in for multiple citations.

If you get a cancellation notice due to nonpayment, call your insurer. They may be willing to work out a payment plan with you so you can keep your coverage.

When do you get your proof of insurance card?

Your auto insurance company should send out your ID card as soon as you purchase your policy, and you may even have access to online access to your card immediately upon signing up through the insurer’s website or mobile app. (If your insurer has an app, you can usually also use it for quick access to basic policy service options and to request roadside assistance, so it’s a good idea to download it to your phone.)

Most states accept electronic proof of insurance, but if you don’t receive at least a temporary insurance card within two weeks of signing up for an auto policy, contact a customer service agent from your insurance company. Insurance carriers also usually send out a new card a few weeks before a policy is up for renewal.

If you want to find cheap car insurance, now’s the time to shop around. The best way to save time and money is to use an online rate comparison tool to get instant quotes.

Enter your ZIP in our free comparison tool to get your first quote today and be sure to get an insurance card in your name.