What is a car insurance ID card?

Your car insurance company will issue a car insurance ID card after you purchase a policy. Your car insurance ID card acts as proof of insurance and includes details like the policyholder's name, the policy expiration date, policy number, name of the insurance company, and more. All states require drivers to carry proof of insurance. Without an auto insurance ID card, law enforcement can cite you for driving with no insurance.

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UPDATED: Apr 15, 2022

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Written By: Tonya SislerReviewed By: Brad LarsenUPDATED: Apr 15, 2022Fact Checked

When you purchase a car insurance policy the respective car insurance company will provide you with an ID car detailing such items as:

  • Name of the Insurance Company
  • Name of the Agent issuing the policy
  • Effective Date of Coverage
  • Policy Expiration Date
  • Policy Number
  • The VIN number of the vehicle insured
  • Year / Make / Model of the insured vehicle
  • Name of the insured policyholder

Some cards may also contain a contact phone number and smaller details but the above list contains all the information needed to show proof of insurance if requested by law enforcement, employees of the DMV or anyone else requiring proof of car insurance.

Why are car insurance ID cards important?

All states require drivers to carry proof of insurance and without sufficient proof you can be cited for driving with no insurance. If you have insurance and simply forgot your wallet then a couple things may happen:

  • Law enforcement may simply write you a ticket with a small fee requiring that you mail in proof of insurance within the next few days. Should you fail to do this however its very possible your small fine could turn into a much larger one and even have your license suspended.
  • Law enforcement could request you stop driving the vehicle and you will need to get someone to pick you up.

Car insurance ID cards are also very important in the event of an accident as you will need to share your policy information with other drivers and its rare for anyone to know all their policy information by heart.

Car insurance companies have traditionally issued ID cards through the mail but with the advance of the internet a lot of insurers now allow policyholders to print ID cards though an online account management area or even download policy information to an iPhone (see sample of the Esurance iPhone app to the right)

Is an electronic copy of my car insurance ID card sufficient?

In the event of a car accident having your car insurance ID card downloaded to your mobile phone can certainly help however we would not count on law enforcement accepting an image from your mobile phone just yet. Companies like Esurance, State Farm and Geico all have great apps to use and download car insurance ID cards but you should always have a paper copy in your wallet to be safe.

Some law enforcement officials have access to electronic verification systems where they can instantly see if your vehicle is insured. Regardless if you have your car insurance ID card handy there are still ways to check if you have coverage in force.

“The best thing to do is always have your car insurance policy information handy”

If that means downloading the policy information to your phone, carrying an ID card in your wallet or keeping proof of insurance in your glove box – however you do it – having quick access to your auto insurance ID card will make life much easier in the event of an accident or stop by law enforcement. Plus it is mandatory by most state laws.

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Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about car insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything car insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by car insurance experts.

Tonya Sisler has a Bachelor’s Degree from the University of South Carolina in Journalism and has worked for 15+ years in management. She has also completed a proofreading certification and is currently a professional writer.

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Written by Tonya Sisler
Insurance Writer Tonya Sisler

Brad Larson has been in the insurance industry for more than a dozen years. He started out as a claims adjuster for a national carrier. He has since switched to the agency side of the business. Brad is licensed in all P&C lines.

Full Bio →

Reviewed by Brad Larsen
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Brad Larsen

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