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How to Understand your Car Insurance Declaration Page
When you buy auto insurance, you want to know what you’re getting for your money. Still, reading the fine print of your policy isn’t most peoples’ idea of a good time. Fortunately, there’s a shorter, easier-to-read document that clearly lays out exactly what protection you’re getting in exchange for your premiums. It’s called your auto insurance declaration page.
This page is important to understand because it makes it easier to know what is covered and what you’ll need to know to change your coverage, cancel your policy or make a claim. Learn what is on this page and why it matters so you’re prepared if you need it.
What is a declaration page?
A declaration page is a succinct document your insurer issues you that outlines your coverage. In the case of auto insurance, it lists the vehicles and drivers your policy covers, the coverage you’ve purchased, your premiums (the amount due for those coverages), discounts and other key details.
Basically, it’s a short-and-sweet version of your policy. It’s a great go-to if you’re trying to find out if you have a specific type of auto insurance coverage or you’re taking advantage of a specific discount.
Note that some insurers call this a declaration page (singular), while others go with declarations page (plural). It’s all the same.
Where do you find your auto insurance declaration page?
In many cases, the declaration page is an attachment included at the start of your policy. However, sometimes the insurer offers it as a separate document in an online policy documents page.
If you can log in to your insurance account online, check for a page with “Policy Documents” in the title. Your declarations page and/or policy (which may include your declarations page) should be living there. Alternatively, you can contact your insurance provider and request that they email or mail you a copy of your declaration page.
Either way, it pays to locate it now so you can quickly pull up your declarations page if you ever have questions about your auto insurance.
What information is listed in your insurance declaration page?
Generally, your declaration page will include the following.
|Declaration page section||Additional details|
|Insurance company and policy info||Your policy number, the dates for which it’s effective and contact info for your insurer are usually listed here|
|Insured driver information||This section lists the names (and possible contact info) for any drivers listed on the policy|
|Insured vehicle information||The vehicles covered by your policy are listed here, including their vehicle idenfication numbers (VINs) and the location they’re stored (usually your home address)|
|Premium (the amount you pay annually or monthly for your auto insurance)||Your declarations page may list your premiums as a lump sum, break them down by the amount you pay per coverage type or both|
|Deductible||This is the amount you have to pay out-of-pocket for certain auto insurance coverages — usually comprehensive and collision insurance — to kick in|
|Coverages||Here, your insurer will list any coverages in your policy, including your bodily injury and property damage liability coverage (which is mandated in 49 out of 50 states and Washington, D.C.) plus any|
optional coverage like:
|Discounts||This section lists any discounts you’re getting to reduce the cost of your coverage|
|Driving history||If you have a history of accidents or traffic violations, your declaration page may list them|
|Mileage||Your declaration page lists your current annual mileage and your anticipated mileage in your policy term|
|Additional interests||If another entity has a vested interest in your car, your declarations page may list them (e.g., if you have a loan on your car, this page may list your lienholder)|
|Endorsements, riders and/or amendments||This portion outlines any additional information about your policy, like an amendment to more clearly outline coverage definitions or a rider/endorsement, which is additional coverage you can buy to expand your protection (e.g., you might buy a rider to protect your car’s custom sound system)|
How to renew your policy
Your insurance declaration page should make it easy to pinpoint the date your current coverage will expire. Generally, your insurance agent will get in touch with you before then to renew your coverage. You should know this date so you can also shop around for better car insurance rates or look for a cheaper insurance carrier.
Still, it’s your responsibility — not theirs — to make sure you always have coverage. As you’re looking over your declaration page, mark your policy expiration date on your calendar with a reminder to go off a couple of weeks beforehand. That way, you can keep your auto insurance coverage active and avoid penalties like fines, getting towed or license suspension for not having insurance.
When you renew your policy, you get a new declarations page. Look it over to make sure everything’s in order.
When will you need your declaration page?
It’s always handy to have easy access to your declaration page. It can come in handy in several situations whether it’s just wanting to double-check your discounts or something more serious.
You’ll need your auto insurance declaration page when you’re buying a new car. Sending a copy of this document to your dealer lets them know you can legally drive it, allowing you to take it off the lot because you meet the requirement of having car insurance.
Your declaration page can also come in handy if you want to compare rates. When you’re requesting quotes from other insurers, your declaration page gives you all the info you need to make sure the quote you get reflects your auto insurance coverage needs.
Your declaration page is a useful document, thanks in large part to its brevity. Make sure you know how to access yours to quickly answer coverage questions as they arise and keep your auto insurance renewed on the right schedule.