Your car insurance policy number is the main link to your coverage. Whenever you file a claim, talk with your insurer or share insurance info after an accident, you'll use your policy number.
Your auto insurance provider gives you your policy number when you purchase coverage. Your car will have its own unique policy number unless you have multiple cars on the policy. In this case, each car may have its own individual policy number, or they may share one.
In the event that you lose your policy number, most major insurers make it easy to retrieve through their website or smartphone app. You can always contact them to recover it as well. To be on the safe side, keep a hard copy of it in your glove box.
We will cover:
- What a car insurance policy number does
- Where your policy number is located
- The difference between a policy number and a VIN number
- Why do you need your policy number?
What is a car insurance policy number?
Your auto insurance policy number is the link to your insurance policy. It is assigned to you by your provider when you purchase auto insurance. It is unique to you and will stay the same as long as you have your policy. If your auto insurance lapses, the policy number may change. If you have multiple cars on your policy, each car may have its own policy number. There is, however, the possibility that all the cars on the policy will share a number.
The length of a policy number varies, though it's usually eight to 13 characters in length. It may contain both numbers and letters. Here are some examples of policy numbers:
- 1 23 456789 01
- 123 4567-A89
- CAR 012345678
Where can I find my car insurance policy number?
You can find your policy number at the top of your car insurance card. You can find this number on most of your other policy documentation, too, including:
- The declaration page of your policy
- Monthly payment statements
- Your insurer's website or app
If you just bought your car insurance and are waiting for your documentation to arrive, your policy number will be in the insurance binder you receive while your payment is processed and the finalized documentation is mailed. You might be able to access your number via your insurance provider's website or smartphone app at this point, as well.
Policy number vs. VIN number
When you are locating your policy number, it is possible to confuse your vehicle identification number (otherwise known as a "VIN") for the policy number. Both can look similar, but there are some key differences in both their forms and functions.
While a car insurance policy number is eight to 13 characters in length, a VIN is 17 characters in length. If your car's VIN is under 17 characters, that means it was manufactured before 1981 when VIN became standardized. A car built before 1981 can have a VIN of anywhere between 11 and 17 characters. It may be small print, but it will usually have "VIN:" before it and be located with the year, make and model of the particular car.
Your car's VIN is unique to a specific automobile, while your car insurance policy number can cover more than one car if it's for a multi-car policy. The VIN includes the car's individual specifications and the manufacturer. The VIN is used as a record for incidents such as registration and recalls, but also when you purchase insurance coverage. So while your VIN is needed to get insurance, it might not help if you have other cars on your policy and you need the policy number for a specific one.
Why do I need my car insurance policy number?
You may need your car insurance policy number in a number of situations. They include:
- Speaking with your auto insurer. When communicating with your provider for any reason, they will request your policy number in order to pull up your account. They can also access your insurance info with your Social Security number, but if you're in a crowded location this may not be a safe course of action.
- When you're involved in an accident. If you are in an accident involving other drivers, you are going to need to have your policy number available to share. They will need this information if they are filing a claim themselves.
- Registering a car with the DMV. The DMV will need to see proof of insurance when registering the car.
- Buying a car from a dealership. An auto dealership must see proof of insurance before it'll allow you to drive the vehicle off the lot.
- If you have bundled insurance. If you have your auto insurance bundled with a renters, home or life insurance policy, the policies will not all be under one number. You will want to know what the individual numbers are in the event of making a claim.
If you lose your car insurance card
If you can't find your car insurance card, ask your insurance provider to send you new documentation. Many providers now allow you to download the information quickly and conveniently from their websites, and many companies also have smartphone apps that let you access the info with a click.
You may be leery about the safety of strangers or the police looking at your phone. To prevent this, keep a printout of your insurance number in your glove compartment.
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