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 that can conveniently be carried in your wallet or your glove compartment. 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.
What type of information is included on an insurance card?
All states require registered owners to maintain liability insurance on their vehicles for as long as the car has an active registration. Since not all states have real-time verification systems, officials still require drivers to present their registration and proof of insurance when requested. 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)
When do you need to show your insurance cards?
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
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?
If someone who’s borrowing the car is pulled over and the officer asks for insurance cards and registration, the name of the driver borrowing the car doesn’t need to be on the documents.
The 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.
The Importance of Having the Right Names on Your Insurance
Some 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
Many States Now Have 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 a policy that 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 canceled, you could be in for multiple citations.
If you want to save money on your 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.