When you purchase a car insurance policy your insurer will email, or snail mail a copy of your policy. One of the first pages of a policy is the declarations page, which summarizes your auto policy coverages.
A declarations page summarizes the critical policy information onto one page so you can quickly reference the drivers and vehicles covered, as well as your coverages, limits and deductibles.
- A declarations page summarizes your policy’s vital information, including covered vehicles and drivers and coverages, limits and deductibles.
- While an insurance card is the best proof of insurance, the policy declarations page has all the necessary insurance information for law enforcement or a lender.
- Your declarations page can be particularly useful when you purchase a new policy, make changes to your coverage, shop for new coverage or make a claim.
What is a car insurance declarations page?
Your car insurance declarations page is simply a summary of the details of your auto policy coverages. It includes various information condensed into an easy-to-read one- or two-page document. The declarations page is often at the beginning of your auto insurance policy, or it can be a stand-alone document.
A few of the details provided on your car insurance declarations page:
- Policy number
- Coverage start and end dates
- Drivers covered by the policy
- Vehicles covered by the policy
- Coverage types
- Coverage limits and deductibles
- Cost of your coverage
The purpose of the declarations page is to give you a high-level overview of your policy, the coverage levels you are carrying, how much you are paying for your policy and details about coverage limits and deductibles.
The declarations page is not a complete overview of your policy, so if you have questions about the various details of your policy, it is best to read the policy in full and ask your agent about any details you do not understand.
The declarations page does not typically spell out exclusions to coverage, so it is essential that you understand any policy exclusions.
Key components of a declarations page
A declarations page condenses all the most important information about your car insurance policy into one easy-to-read page. While the declarations page layout can vary between insurers, they typically include the following:
- Policy details: This usually includes the details of your policy including the policy number, coverage dates, contact information of your insurer and agent.
- Insured’s name and address: This will list your personal information including your name and address and the details of all licensed drivers covered by the policy. It should also list any drivers that are excluded from coverage if applicable.
- Description of the insured vehicle(s): The vehicles that are covered by the policy will be listed in this section. Vehicle details include make, model, year and VIN.
- Coverages and limits: This section details the type of car insurance coverage you have with your policy. It lists the coverages for each vehicle on the policy as some coverages may vary between vehicles.
Certain coverages come with coverage limits, which are clearly spelled out on the declarations page. As an example, liability comes with per person, per accident and property damage limits. Coverage limits will be detailed for each vehicle.
- Deductibles: Collision and comprehensive coverages come with a deductible, and those deductibles are listed on the declarations page so you understand how much you must pay when you file a claim.
- Cost of coverage: The declarations page breaks out the cost of each individual coverage you are carrying so you can see how much each coverage costs for each vehicle you insure.
- Discounts and surcharges: If discounts are being applied to your premium you will see those listed in this section as well. If your policy is being surcharged due to tickets or claims, those will also be listed on the declarations page.
How to read your declarations page
Carefully reviewing your declarations page is important whenever you purchase a new policy, renew a policy, make changes to your coverages or file a claim.
Here is a quick overview of what sections to review on your declarations page:
Policy details: You will want to verify your coverage dates which are the dates your policy is in force, and you are covered. If the dates are incorrect, ensure your agent or insurer fixes the issue. This is also where you will find your policy number which will come in handy when contacting your agent or insurer with questions or to make changes to coverage.
Name of insured: This section will list all the drivers covered by your policy. Verify all licensed drivers in your home are on the policy unless you specifically exclude a driver. Check the spelling of their name and make sure all details are correct.
Vehicles: This portion of the declarations page will list the details of the vehicles you are insuring. It should list the year, make and model of the vehicle as well as the VIN, where the vehicle is parked at night (your address in most cases) as well as any lienholders if you have a loan on the vehicle.
Verify all the information in this section including the vehicle details and VINs. If the VIN is incorrect on your declarations page or insurance card, the police may not believe the vehicle is insured.
Coverages: This section lays out the coverages in your policy. It will spell out the coverage, limits, deductibles and premiums for each vehicle you are insuring.
You must verify that the coverages and your limits and deductibles are accurate. The coverage limits are the most your insurer will pay out to cover a claim, and the deductible is how much you will have to pay when filing a claim before your insurer will cover the balance.
Your declarations page may list coverages for all vehicles on one page while other insurers may have a different declarations page for each vehicle.
Discounts: This is not always listed on the declarations page, some insurers will list your discounts while others may put them on a separate page.
Carefully check the declarations page for errors when you receive a new policy. Confirm all your driver and vehicle information is correct as well as your coverages, limits and deductibles.
If you find any errors, it is extremely important that you have your agent or insurance company correct them as soon as possible.
When do you need your declarations page?
While the declarations page of your car insurance policy is very important, you probably won’t be carrying it around in your wallet. However, there are times when you will need the details of your policy, so it is always a good idea to keep it somewhere handy. Here are just a few instances when you will need your declarations page:
- At the start of a new policy: When you start a new policy you should use the declarations page to verify the policy details. Verify the drivers, vehicles, coverages, coverage levels, deductibles and coverage costs.
The declarations page lays out all of these details on a single page so you should be able to verify the policy details are correct quickly.
- Renewing or modifying your policy: You may need your policy number details when renewing or modifying your policy so your agent or insurance company can locate your policy. You may also need to refresh your memory about your coverage levels and deductibles if you want to modify your coverages, add a driver or a vehicle.
- Shopping for a new policy: The declarations page is a great reference when shopping for coverage. “It’s important to reference the declarations page when shopping for insurance to make an apples-to-apples comparison,” says Nick Schrader, owner of Second Western Insurance in Houston. The declarations page also spells out how much you pay for each coverage allowing you to compare premium details.
- Filing a claim: If you need to file a claim, digging out your declarations page is a good idea. It will remind you of your coverages, limits and any deductibles you may be responsible for when you file a claim. It will also have your insurer or agent’s contact information to help you start the claim.
- When you need proof of insurance: In most cases, your car insurance declarations page is not the best document for proof of insurance. Your insurer will provide a physical insurance coverage card for your vehicle. However, the declarations page will typically satisfy a lender if you buy a new car. “Many times, the dealer financing the car will require proof of insurance, so we get people asking for their declarations page,” says Andrew Darlington, Veritas Risk Management & Insurance Services in Johnson City, Tennessee.
How to get your car insurance declarations page
In many cases, your insurance company will mail a physical copy of your policy to you, and the declarations page will usually be one of the first pages in the policy documentation. Here are a few other ways to get your declarations page:
- Insurance agent: Your insurance agent or insurance company will send you a copy of your declarations page or the entire policy. Call your agent and ask them to email or mail a copy of your policy declarations page to you.
- Online: Most insurance companies have websites that make it easy to log in and print out a copy of your declarations page or policy. Check your insurer’s website for details on how to view your policy online.
- Mobile App: Many insurance companies have mobile apps that allow you to store your insurance coverage card digitally. These apps may also allow you to view your policy or declarations page.
FAQ: Car insurance declarations pages
Can a declarations page be used as proof of insurance?
Usually, your insurance card should be your go-to for proof of insurance. Still, technically, your declarations page does have all of the relevant information that law enforcement or a lender would want to see as proof of insurance.
Where can I find my auto insurance declarations page?
Most insurers will email a copy of your policy when you purchase coverage, and one of the first pages will be your declarations page. If your insurer mails a copy of your policy the declarations page will be one of the first pages in the policy. It is also possible for many insurers to log into their site to view your policy documents, including your declarations page.
What information does a declarations page include?
The declarations page will list all of the important details of your policy, including the drivers and vehicles covered by the policy and your coverages and coverage levels. The contact details for your insurance company will also be on the declarations page, making it an easy reference when making a claim or changes to your policy.
Your declarations page includes the year, make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN) for each vehicle included on your policy. It also itemizes coverages for each vehicle since it’s possible you might not carry the same coverages and limits for each car on the policy.
The role of declarations pages in claims and policy changes
Your declarations page is an excellent resource, and it should be kept somewhere safe and handy so you can refer back to it when necessary.
Here are a couple of reasons you may need to dig out your declarations page:
Making a claim: If you are in an accident and need to make a claim you will want to grab your declarations page to check your coverages and coverage levels. Your declarations page will list out the coverages you are carrying.
You will also want to know your liability coverage levels in a severe accident. If you are at fault in a serious accident and are carrying low minimums on your liability coverage, you may need to cover some medical or legal expenses out of pocket. Your declarations page will spell out your coverage limits.
You will have to pay any deductibles that apply when making a claim on your policy and your declarations page lists any deductibles you will have to pay. The declarations page of your policy is full of information you may need when making a claim so always keep it handy.
Shopping coverage or policy changes: When shopping your coverage or making changes to your policy you will want to revisit the coverages you are carrying and your coverage levels.
When shopping for a new policy, make sure you compare apples to apples regarding coverage levels and deductibles.
“Most insurance agents will ask the prospective client for a copy of their declarations page so they can give them a comparable quote,” Darlington says. Your declarations page will list out your coverages and levels so you can make sure your policy comparisons are accurate.
The same is true if you are simply looking to make policy changes. You may be looking to increase your coverage levels, drop coverages or add a new coverage to your policy. Regardless of what change you hope to make, you will want to review your coverages. Your declarations page is the easiest way to do that. In addition, your declarations page will have the contact information for your insurer.
Final thoughts on declarations pages
Reviewing your declarations page is a good idea whenever you purchase a new policy. It lets you quickly verify that your policy details and coverages are correct. You should also look at your declarations page if you change your coverages, file a claim or need proof of insurance.