Few people could get by without a car. Cars get us to work, help us visit family and friends, and provide the transportation we need to run essential errands. 

If you own a car, you will need to purchase car insurance. Nearly every state requires drivers to carry at least a minimum amount of coverage.

But how do you know if you have enough coverage to satisfy the law and to protect your pocketbook? Here is how to check your car insurance.

Key Highlights
  • Your insurer will provide you with proof of insurance, usually in the form of a printed or electronically accessible ID card.
  • Your car insurance coverage will run out once the policy period ends or if you fail to make your premium payments.
  • Usually, you can easily confirm your coverage status at the insurer’s website or through the insurer’s app.
Written by:
Chris Kissell
Contributing Researcher
Chris Kissell is a Denver-based writer and editor with work featured on U.S. News & World Report, MSN Money, Fox Business, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Money Talks News and more.

Does my car have insurance?

It’s illegal in almost every state to drive without auto insurance. Beyond the legal issues, if you’re in an accident while driving an uninsured vehicle, you’ll be financially responsible for any damage you cause. You must also provide auto insurance information to register a car, renew the plate, and change ownership.

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How do you check if your car is insured?

What information do I need to verify my car insurance status?

When you sign up for car insurance, your insurer will provide documentation showing you have coverage and that it remains active. This document shows others that you have at least the minimum amount of insurance coverage required by your state.

It is important to have this information readily available if you are ever pulled over by police while driving. You might also need to provide it if you are in an accident or plan to lease a vehicle.

Exactly how your insurer will provide proof of insurance varies from company to company. In most cases, you will get a small card that is either printed or electronic.

Car insurance estimator tool

How to find out if a car has insurance

When it comes to finding out if a vehicle is insured, there are a few things you can quickly check to find insurance details. After that, the search may get a bit more complicated.

Either way, the more information you have about the vehicle, the better. If possible, track down the: 

  • VIN number (vehicle identification number)
  • License plate information
  • Vehicle registration

If you have access to the vehicle and the owner’s financial records, which would be possible if you inherited a car or dealing with an elderly relative’s finances for them, you may be able to determine whether the vehicle is insured quickly.

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Did you know your car's insurance status can be checked through your state's DMV website?

Look in the vehicle for proof of insurance

Most people have at least one auto insurance card in their car. Even if it’s expired, there’s a good chance the vehicle is still insured with the same company.

Check the:

  • Glove box
  • Center console
  • Visor 
  • Anywhere else you think of where car insurance information may be stored

If you find proof of insurance, call the insurer to ensure coverage is current.

Review financial documents

If you’re taking over your parents’ or other family members’ finances, reviewing their financial documents will often help you track down the insurance company’s information.

If you see a monthly or annual payment to an insurance company, call them to ensure the insurance policy is still in force and get coverage details.

Check emails

If possible, review the vehicle owner’s emails for correspondence from insurance companies. Contact the insurer for more car insurance policy details if you find anything.

Finding the car insurance company is still possible if you can’t access the vehicle’s inside or the owner’s financial records. It will just require a bit more legwork.

There’s no national insurance or vehicle information database in the U.S. because insurance is regulated at the state level.

New insurance quote

If you have the vehicle’s VIN number and some basic details, an insurance agent may be able to help you out. You can check car insurance by VIN number because insurers typically run a CLUE report on a vehicle when writing a new car insurance policy to determine coverage lapses.

A CLUE report shows insurance details for a specific vehicle or person. CLUE stands for comprehensive loss underwriting exchange. It’s a database that allows automobile and homeowners insurance providers to exchange information about claims for property loss.

Unfortunately, not all insurance companies participate in CLUE, so this method isn’t guaranteed.

State DMV

The Department of Motor Vehicles may track insurance coverage information. Contact your local office to see if they keep tabs on insurance information and if that info is available to the public. In most cases, they check car insurance by number plate, so you’ll need the vehicle’s license plate or VIN. You may have to pay a fee.

Check with major auto insurance companies

There is a good chance that the vehicle is insured by a national insurance provider like Progressive, Allstate, State Farm or numerous other insurance companies that operate in your state.

Call a variety of insurers to see if there’s already a car insurance policy in place. You’ll need some basic information, such as the VIN or license plate number or the name and basic details of the vehicle owner.

Check with local police

This one depends on local police departments. Most police officers can check if a vehicle is insured —driving without insurance is a serious driving infraction. Whether they release that information to you depends on the local PD, but it doesn’t hurt to check.

How to find out if a car is insured after an accident?

Another situation where you may need to determine if a vehicle is insured is after an accident. Getting the other driver’s insurance information is essential if you’re involved in an accident. Here are a few tips on what information to gather after an accident.

File a police report

You should always file a police report, even for minor accidents. It will help if you have to file a claim. The police also gather a wide array of information about vehicles and drivers, which can help find insurance information.

Gather information about the other driver

Ask the other driver for their car insurance information. In most cases, they will gladly provide you with their policy details. In other cases, they may not be insured, have car insurance that expired or don’t have their insurance information with them at the time.

In this case, you may have to dig to find their insurance information. Check with the police officer. They should be able to pull that information. You can also call their insurance company if they know its name but not the policy details.

If the other driver provides their insurance details, it’s always a good idea to call their insurance company at the accident scene to verify their coverage is in force.

Make sure to take the following steps after an accident:

  1. Collect as much information as possible about the other vehicle and driver
  2. Jot down the license plate number and their driver’s license number, name, address and phone number, if possible
  3. Take photos and video of the damage to both vehicles from numerous angles

Uninsured driver

Contact your insurance company for coverage if the other driver is without insurance, but you’ll need to carry uninsured driver coverage. In most states, uninsured driver coverage isn’t required. So, if you’re not carrying uninsured driver coverage, you’ll be on the hook for the cost of repairs.

Not knowing if a vehicle is adequately insured can become a significant legal and financial headache if you hit the road in an uninsured vehicle. So, always verify insurance coverage before driving a car.

When does car insurance run out?

When you purchase a car insurance policy, it will include a policy period that includes both the day the policy goes into effect and the day it ends, also known as the termination date. Most policy periods run for six months or one year.

Usually – although not always – your insurer will offer the option to renew your policy before the term ends.

Your insurance could also run out if you fail to make your premium payments. Even if you miss a car insurance payment, your coverage won’t end immediately. State laws require insurers to contact you before the company cancels your policy.

Although rules vary from state to state, you can expect to have between 10 and 20 days of coverage before the insurer cancels your coverage.

It is important to understand exactly when your coverage will no longer be in effect. Virtually every state requires drivers to carry a minimum level of car insurance to drive legally. And if you don’t have coverage and are involved in an accident, you will be liable out of pocket for all damages.

FAQ: Is my car insured?   

How often should I check if my car is insured?

If your car insurance policy period has not ended and you are making your premium payments, you shouldn’t have to regularly check to ensure your policy is still in effect.

While car insurance companies can cancel your policy before the term ends, many states only allow them to do so for specific reasons. And if insurer decides to cancel your policy, it will have to let you know before it does.

Can I verify my car insurance status through my insurance provider’s website?

Most insurance companies today allow you to register on their website so you can check your insurance status 24 hours a day. The insurer might also offer an app to check your coverage.

If, for some reason, you have trouble confirming your car insurance status online, consider calling your insurer directly to confirm your coverage status.     

Is there an online tool to confirm my car insurance coverage?

The best way to confirm your car insurance coverage is to use your insurer’s website or app. You can also call your insurer directly to confirm your coverage status.

Resources & Methodology


  1. Progressive. “What is proof of insurance?” Accessed March 2024.
  2. Progressive. “What happens if my car insurance lapses?” Accessed March 2024.
  3. Progressive. “Can your car insurance company drop you?” Accessed March 2024.
  4. Experian. “What Do if Your Car Insurance Is Canceled.” Accessed March 2024.

— Mark Vallet contributed to this story.

Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

Executive Editor

Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

John McCormick

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John McCormick

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John is the editorial director for CarInsurance.com, Insurance.com and Insure.com. Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz

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Leslie Kasperowicz is an insurance educator and content creation professional with nearly two decades of experience first directly in the insurance industry at Farmers Insurance and then as a writer, researcher, and educator for insurance shoppers writing for sites like ExpertInsuranceReviews.com and InsuranceHotline.com and managing content, now at CarInsurance.com.

Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir

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Nupur Gambhir is a content editor and licensed life, health, and disability insurance expert. She has extensive experience bringing brands to life and has built award-nominated campaigns for travel and tech. Her insurance expertise has been featured in Bloomberg News, Forbes Advisor, CNET, Fortune, Slate, Real Simple, Lifehacker, The Financial Gym, and the end-of-life planning service.

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Contributing Researcher

Chris Kissell is a Denver-based writer and editor with work featured on U.S. News & World Report, MSN Money, Fox Business, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Money Talks News and more.