Proof of insurance can be broadly defined as the document issued by an insurance company verifying that a driver has auto insurance coverage. It is usually a small card or piece of paper that may contain the following information:
While most drivers keep their proof of insurance in the glove compartment of the vehicle, some people carry it in their wallet or purse. Wherever it is kept, what is important is that the document can be accessed quickly and easily in case it is needed.
Why is Proof of Insurance Important?
Being able to provide proof of insurance is important for several reasons. First, nearly every state requires that drivers be able to prove that they are able to pay for injuries and damages that they may cause to other people or property while driving their vehicle. This proof of financial responsibility is usually satisfied by liability insurance. When an officer pulls you over, they will always ask for proof of insurance in addition to asking for your license and registration. They do this to make sure that you are complying with your state’s law requiring financial responsibility for all drivers. Second, proof of insurance is useful to drivers when gathering information after an accident. It concisely provides the insurance information you will need from the other driver in order to begin an insurance claim.
What Happens If I Don’t Have Proof of Insurance?
Penalties for not carrying automobile insurance can include fines and suspension of your driver’s license. If you are insured but do not have any documentation to verify this, an officer can issue you a ticket and even a fine for failure to provide proof of financial responsibility. Because of this, it is best to make sure that you have the most current proof of insurance document in your vehicle at all times.
Every time your insurance policy renews, the renewal your insurance company sends you should include an updated proof of insurance card. You can make sure this is the most current one by matching the effective dates on the card with those on the insurance policy. If you cannot locate your proof of insurance, contact your insurance company or local insurance agent, and they will be able to send you new cards.