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How to read your car insurance policy

Find key details on your declaration page, like your coverage, driver info and policy number

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A car insurance policy is a contract showing the damage and dollar amounts your insurance will pay for if you’re in an accident. To bypass some of the legal language, your insurance declaration page gives you a concise overview of your policy. Know the details you can find on your declaration page and what they mean, so you understand your protection.

What is an insurance declaration page?

Your car insurance declarations page is the first page of your policy that outlines the coverage you bought and states your name and policy number.

The declaration page is sometimes called a dec page for short. You can scan your declaration page for all the important details about you, your car and your coverage.

If any details look amiss, reach out to your insurance agent to correct these. No matter how small the detail seems to you, it might affect your insurance policy’s cost or coverage.

What does an auto insurance declaration page look like?

Your insurance declaration page will look something like:

Where can I find my insurance declarations page?

Know how to access your declarations page to view your coverage, see your protection after an accident or give proof of insurance.

  • Email. You might receive an email with the policy attached or linked inside.
  • Mail. You might have to request this option since more companies are going paperless.
  • Online. Once your policy is active, log in to your customer account and look for a section like My policy or Policy documents.
  • App. Many companies offer an app to view your policy and act as mobile proof of insurance if your state allows this.
  • Phone. Customer service or your local agent can help with any questions you have.

What’s included in a car insurance policy?

A car insurance policy includes a detailed look at your protection and who receives coverage and payment. Your policy should help you understand how much and what kind of protection you have.

Driver and policyholder info

  • Additional named insured. Includes drivers covered by the policy who don’t control payments or policy changes.
  • Covered vehicles. Identifies the cars insured by license plate number, make, model or VIN.
  • Drivers. Includes any licensed drivers living in your house in case they drive your car.
  • Driving record. May list recent accidents or violations to show your insurance risk.
  • Loss payees. A loss payee is the lender or company that secures your car loan or lease.
  • Policy number. The number that identifies your policy to look up policy info when you contact your insurer.
  • Named insured. Includes drivers who can pay and make changes to the policy.

Coverage info

  • Coverage. Lists the types of protection you bought like liability, comprehensive or collision.
  • Coverage limits. The maximum amount that your insurance company will pay for an accident.
  • Policy period. The dates that show how long you have protection like six or 12 months. You need to renew the policy before it expires.
  • Deductible. The amount you pay after an accident before your insurance kicks in.
  • Discounts. The savings you qualify for, including safety features, autopay or bundling insurance.
  • Endorsements. Lists the optional coverage that you added to your policy.
  • Exclusions. Lists situations not protected by your policy, like illegal acts.
  • Total premium. Your annual or monthly payment for the insurance coverage.

What is my policy number?

Your policy number is an eight- to 10-digit number that helps your insurance company find your policy and coverage. You can give this number to another driver to make a claim if you cause an accident. You’ll find this number in these places:

  • Billing statement. Look for policy number listed on the top of your statement — be careful not to confuse it with the account number.
  • Declarations page. The policy number should be listed at the top of your policy’s first page, called the declarations page.
  • Online. Here, you might find the policy number on a digital insurance card or listed under your account information. But be sure to differentiate between the account and policy numbers.
  • Your insurance card. The insurance ID card that your company might send through the mail states the number clearly toward the top.

How do I read my coverage limits?

You may see your car insurance coverage limits written like this: 50/100/30. These numbers show the maximum dollar amount that your insurance will pay for an accident you cause.

In this case, your limits are $50,000 for injuries to other drivers or passengers per person; $100,000 maximum per accident for all injuries; and $30,000 for property damage.

How do I change my car insurance policy?

If you need to change your car insurance policy, say if you’re updating your email account or if you get a new vehicle, the process should be straightforward:

  • Email. You could email customer service to request changes.
  • Online. If you’re viewing your policy, you might see an option to edit or update car, driver or address information.
  • Phone. Call your insurer or local agent and let them update your account.

Compare car insurance policies

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Enjoy low rates for mature drivers, plus perks like new car replacement and lifetime repair guarantees. Only for drivers over age 50.
The Zebra
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loan/lease coverage
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Discover coverage that’s broader than competitors, valuable discounts up to 30% off and perks like shrinking deductibles that reward no claims.
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Affordable car insurance with highly rated customer service. Only available to military members and veterans and their family.
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Benefit from this online-based startup’s steep savings and convenient online quotes and claims.

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Bottom line

Your policy is essentially a contract between you and your insurer, and it breaks down important details like the types of damage covered and costs you’re responsible to pay. Once you understand your policy, you can see how your coverage stands up and compare other car insurance companies.

Frequently asked questions about reading an insurance policy

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