What You Need to Know About Your Car Insurance Policy Number
(For when you really need to use your insurance)
Sara East |July 13, 2019
More than 250,000 cars are registered every year, which means more than 250,000 people are in need of car insurance each year. While driving is a universal skill, the way that insurance companies differentiate between their customers is unique. They do it using policy numbers.
When your insurance agent or company sends over your proof of insurance, you’re probably not thinking much about this policy number. But if you get in an accident, your policy number is the first thing you need.
Which is why we’re going to tell you exactly what it is, how to find it, and why you should keep tabs on it.
What Is a Car Insurance Policy Number?
Your car insurance policy number is a unique number that is associated with your insurance policy.
Insurance companies use your insurance policy number to locate your account, and you need your policy number if you get in an accident or need to discuss your policy with your insurance company.
Car insurance policy numbers are usually 9-13 digits long and are unique to you. Consider it your social security number for car insurance. No other person will ever have the same insurance policy number as you.
Insurance companies create their insurance policy numbers their own way. Some use numbers only and others combine numbers and letters. While you don’t need to memorize your insurance policy number, it’s important to know how to quickly access it.
Where Do I Find My Car Insurance Policy Number?
Your car insurance policy number is in a variety of locations. Most conveniently, it’s on your insurance ID card.
Your car insurance policy number is different from your VIN number, which is a 16-digit number and letter combination that uniquely identifies your vehicle. This is also located on your insurance card, but shouldn’t be confused with your policy number.
Your insurance policy number can also be found on any billing statements you receive from your insurer, and located on any online accounts you have with your insurance company.
When Do I Need My Car Insurance Policy Number?
There are three scenarios in which you would need your car insurance policy number.
You’re pulled over: When you’re pulled over, police officers ask for your proof of insurance so they can check that you are currently insured. You’ll want to hand them your insurance ID card, which has your policy number on it, since this is how they check that you’re properly insured.
You’re in a car accident: One of the first things you'll do when you get in a car accident is call your insurance company. You’ll need your insurance policy number for them to locate your account information. You’ll also need your insurance policy number if you’re in an accident with another vehicle and exchange insurance information.
You need to contact your insurer: Whether you have questions about your insurance plan, want to change your coverage, or are simply checking in, any time you contact your insurance company, you need your insurance policy number.
Does My Car Insurance Policy Number Change with My Car?
As long as you stay with the same insurance company, your insurance policy number will not change. It doesn’t matter if you change cars every year or have the same car forever, your policy number will remain the same with that company.
If you change car insurance companies, you will receive a new insurance policy number. It’s also possible that your insurance policy number will change if you don't renew your insurance before the renewal date and the insurance company has to create a new plan for you.
If More Than One Person Is on My Insurance Policy, Do We Each Get a Unique Number?
If you have multiple cars or people on your insurance, the insurance policy number will most likely change with each vehicle and driver.
Most commonly, this is a single number change that will be identified on the insurance card.
What Happens If I Lose My Insurance Policy Number?
Any time you lose your insurance policy number, you can request a new insurance card from your insurer.
Most companies allow you to easily order new copies of your insurance card online, and many offer digital versions that you can print straight from their app or the insurance website.
We recommend keeping several copies of your insurance card on hand, one in your glove box, one at home, and a screenshot on your phone. This way, you’re never without your insurance information.
When Would I Need Someone Else’s Insurance Policy Number?
The only time you would need access to someone else’s insurance policy number is if you are involved in an accident with that person.
Any time you’re in a collision with another vehicle, you should exchange insurance information. An easy way to take note of someone’s insurance information is by taking a screenshot of their insurance card on your phone.
If the person does not know or have their insurance policy number on them, you can take a picture of their driver's license or call your insurance company and provide them with the person’s name, license plate number, and the name of their insurance company.
Knowing Your Policy Number When It Matters
While your car insurance policy number doesn’t require you to pay it extra attention every day, it’s important that you know how to access it in a time of need.
When you purchase auto insurance, make several copies of your insurance policy number and take note of the places you can access it, so you will be prepared whenever you need it.
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