Proof of Insurance Card for Your Car: A Must Have Document

By Randy Luton | Last Updated: 07/28/2023

What is your checklist before you start driving your car? Does it include proof of insurance? Do you have proof of insurance? Do you know that proof of insurance is mandatory to drive on the roads of the USA?

If the answer to any of the above questions is no then this blog is your guide. Keep reading till the end to know everything about proof of insurance for every driver in our country.

What is Proof of Insurance?

Ensure that your driver’s license, vehicle registration, and proof of insurance are in the car before you hit the road. Most states mandate a certain amount of car insurance coverage.

This document provides evidence that your auto insurance coverage is current, legitimate, and fulfills the state’s minimum liability requirements. The insurance provider will normally send you proof of car insurance, but you may also acquire it online and print it out yourself or present it on your phone.

Some drivers may need an SR-22 form, commonly known as a certificate of financial responsibility, in addition to the normal proof of car insurance. In Virginia and Florida, it is referred to as an FR-44. SR-22 is not distinct insurance coverage. It’s paperwork required by your state to demonstrate that you fulfill its minimal car liability standards.

In most circumstances, your insurance carrier will electronically submit the SR-22 form on your behalf; but, in other instances, the form may need to be sent.

What does a car insurance card look like?

Your car insurance card will include the following details

  • Name and Address of the Policyholder: If you are not the insured, your name will not appear. If you are not the policyholder, ensure that you are a covered driver and not an excluded driver.
  • Vehicle Model and Year: Auto insurance protects the vehicle, not the driver.
  • Policy Expiration Dates: If the date is approaching, it is vital to ensure that your insurance is in order for the next term.
  • Name of Insurance Company
  • Insurance Coverage Number: This is required if and when you register a claim.

Every insured, legally-drivable vehicle with liability insurance is given a car insurance card.

What documents constitute “Proof of Car Insurance”?

Here is an overview of the numerous sorts of documentation that may be referred to as “proof of insurance” to help you get started:

  • Proof of Insurance Card: The information included on insurance ID cards varies by state, but often includes the policy number, policy useful dates, cars, and policyholders. Use this insurance ID card to register your vehicle and to provide law enforcement with evidence of insurance.
  • Proof of Coverage: A document that lists the vehicle, the policy’s effective and expiry dates, and the coverage limits for the vehicle. Use this form to demonstrate your insurance coverage to your leasing firm.
  • SR-22 or FR-44 (Certificate of Financial Responsibility): A state-mandated document proving you have motor liability insurance coverage. Typically, it is only necessary for specific traffic offenses. If you require an SR-22 or FR-44, the courts or your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles will inform you. Depending on the state in which you live, the Certificate of Financial Responsibility is either an SR-22 or an FR-44.
  • Verification of Coverage (MD FR-19): Maryland requests this form as proof of insurance. Use this form when you get a letter or citation from the Maryland Motor Vehicle Administration requiring you to submit an FR-19.
  • Canadian Insurance Card : Your U.S. car insurance card is recognized in Canada as proof of insurance coverage; Canadian insurance ID cards are not required.

Which are the ways to obtain a car insurance card?

There are three fairly simple methods to get your car insurance ID card.

  1. Through the letter from your insurer: The simplest approach to getting a proof of insurance card is to ask your insurer for one. Typically, they will send you numerous paper insurance cards as part of the onboarding process for a new policy.
  2. You can Print it Yourself: You may also request that your agent or firm send you a copy of the card, which you can print and place in your vehicle’s glove box.
  3. Show your Electronic insurance card on your mobile: Multiple insurance companies provide access to electronic car insurance cards.

Who asks for your Car Insurance Card?

  • DMV: You may be required to present DMV proof of insurance when you obtain a new car or update the license plates of an existing vehicle.
  • Police officers: Have your car insurance card readily available in case you are stopped. Typically, the first thing a police officer requests is a driver’s license and registration. In several locations, electronic proof of insurance is now allowed.
  • Claimant: After an accident, someone, whether it’s the other driver or a police officer, will demand to check your insurance documentation. Your certificate of insurance contains all the details necessary to exchange information with the other motorist and, if necessary, complete the police record. Many insurance companies provide a compact version of your evidence that may be transferred to another individual. It is not evidence, however, it is useful for transmitting information after an accident.
  • Insurance firms: Insurance companies want evidence of past coverage, and a declaration page is often necessary. Typically, ID cards will not be enough in this situation.
  • Lenders: Lenders often require that they be named as the loss payee on your insurance policy. Additionally, they need proof of auto insurance. Again, the documentation a lender requires is a declaration page, not insurance identification cards.

Electronic Proof of Insurance

Nowadays, electronic car insurance cards are not usually actual cards. You may access certain insurers’ electronic car insurance cards on your smartphone or tablet through an app or by entering into your account. Almost every state permits you to provide proof of car insurance card on your smartphone except New Mexico.

However, if you want to use electronic proof of insurance, be sure you know how to access it before you need it. Having a paper copy in your car is still a sensible precaution in the event of technological issues.

Electronic car insurance cards allow you to produce evidence of insurance immediately on a mobile device in the event of a car accident, being stopped over, registering a vehicle, etc. Although not all insurers provide digital insurance cards, its legalization by state implies that if you have one, you normally do not need to carry a physical card.

In all states that allow electronic proof of insurance, you may also present your phone to the DMV proof of insurance. Whether or not you must provide evidence of insurance depends on the purpose of your visit.

For example, you may be required to provide evidence of insurance to register a car, but not to renew a driver’s license. Always check with your local DMV office or BMV office to determine which documents you must bring.

What to do if the Proof of Car Insurance Card is Lost?

If your car insurance card is missing or has inaccuracies and you cannot present evidence of insurance during a traffic check, you will likely be issued a citation for driving without insurance.

Most states will enable you to produce of insurance and dismiss the ticket if you have coverage. You may still be required to pay penalties or fines, but you may prevent the extra hassle by having your insurance information in your vehicle at all times.

You have many choices if you lose your insurance card and need to get evidence of insurance:

  • Download the app for the insurance company: Numerous insurance providers provide applications that give you access to digital versions of your insurance cards.
  • Online access to your account: If your insurance provider does not provide an app, you may be able to download and print a card by entering it into your account on the company’s website.
  • Contact your agent: Call your insurance agent and an updated copy of your insurance card is sent to you.

When one fails to provide proof of car insurance, what are the penalties?

Not many drivers may fully comprehend that in the majority of U.S. states, having a document of proof of insurance on hand is becoming a standard necessity during traffic stops.

  1. The administrative burden of paperwork: If you are insured but do not have your insurance information with you, you may feel secure. However, after a traffic check, you may be forced to submit proof of insurance within 24 hours or face a variety of consequences, including tickets and fines.
  2. Penalties/Fines: In cases when a driver’s insurance has expired or he or she cannot get coverage, a fine may suffice for a first violation. Fines and citations are the initial stages in governments’ attempts to ensure that every motorist is covered by insurance.
  3. Suspended License: When a motorist is discovered to be uninsured, authorities may try to have their license suspended until they can provide proof of proper coverage. With a ticket on their record, it may be more difficult to get this coverage, as insurers may see them as high-risk drivers.
  4. Arrest: The police have the authority to arrest serial offenders who drive without insurance. After an arrest, the license is often suspended, and the driver may be subject to further fines and penalties, or possibly traffic school requirements.

Several states use an automated insurance verification system to detect uninsured motorists. If they conduct a check on your information and find that your car registration and insurance do not match, they may report the infraction to the DMV for administrative law. Keep in mind that failing to submit evidence of insurance is a separate crime from operating a vehicle without insurance.

What happens when you try to show Fake Proof of Car Insurance?

If you are not insured, you should not be driving, and you should not be using a fake proof of insurance card. In most instances, driving without insurance is prohibited and results in a citation and penalties. However, a fake insurance card might constitute insurance fraud and result in a far harsher punishment.

  • It is a fraud: First-time insurance lapsers may get a fine or smack on the wrist. Many jurisdictions are increasing penalties due to the surge in uninsured drivers and accident expenses. When uninsured drivers with fake car insurance cards cause accidents, others pay medical expenses and property damage. Insurance firms typically charge customers extra by requiring uninsured/underinsured coverage. Police may arrest you if you have false insurance many times. After a fraud arrest, you may be faced with higher fines, license suspension along with driver’s education courses.
  • When you need insurance, you won’t have it: Your fake insurance card won’t help you at all if you get into an accident; in fact, it’s likely to result in a significant fine in addition to the accident-related expenditures that you will be responsible for covering out-of-pocket.
  • Reported to the DMV: Insurance companies must report expired coverage to the DMV. So don’t imagine the DMV won’t notice if you switch providers. DMV understands everything about driving and drivers won’t be deceived. Police can simply detect whether you’re insured by running your license plate.
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Frequently Asked Questions(FAQs)

  • What is the proof of car insurance?

    Proof of insurance is a document proving that you have the minimum level of auto insurance coverage needed by law in your state.

  • How to get proof of car insurance?

    For proof of insurance, contact customer service or print a copy from your online account. When you buy a policy, your insurance provider will give you a physical and/or electronic vehicle insurance card.

  • Is proof of insurance necessary to rent a car?

    Renting a vehicle normally does not need proof of insurance unless you pay with a debit or credit card.

  • Do I need proof of insurance to buy a car?

    Buying a car without insurance is possible. Whether you purchase a new or old automobile, you need liability insurance to drive it home. Most dealerships won’t let you drive away without insurance.

  • What number of cards are issued per vehicle?

    Typically, insurance firms give two proofs of insurance per car: one to remain in the vehicle at all times and one to provide to the Secretary of State. Having an extra duplicate of your automobile insurance card simplifies the mailing procedure when it is necessary.

  • What does an insurance ID card look like?

    The most popular form of proof of insurance is a little card that contains a policy number, term of coverage, driver’s name, and insurer’s name. It may either be a printed insurance card or an app or webpage shown on a mobile device.

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Editorial Guidelines: The above is meant as general information to help you understand the different aspects of auto insurance. This information does not refer to any specific auto insurance policy. Coverages and other features vary between insurers, vary by state, and are not available in all states. References to costs of coverages/repair, average or typical premiums, amounts of losses, deductibles, etc., are indicative and may not apply to your situation. We encourage you to speak to our insurance representative and to read your policy contract to fully understand your coverages.

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Randy Luton is the Founder and CEO of RateForce. He is passionate about InsurTech services and has in-depth knowledge about the auto insurance sector of the USA.