What is Proof of Insurance?

Mary McMahon

Proof of insurance is a legal document a person can produce to show that she is carrying insurance coverage. In some regions, the law requires all drivers to carry insurance and provide proof upon request. Such documents may also be necessary when people seek medical treatment and intend to use their insurance to pay for it. Insurance companies usually mail out proof of insurance when they generate a policy and can furnish additional copies on request.

Man climbing a rope
Man climbing a rope

Typically, the information fits on a small card or partial sheet of paper. It includes the name and contact information for the insurance company, the person or people on the policy, and the policy number. The document also includes the effective dates so people cannot use an expired proof of insurance in an attempt to claim they are meeting legal requirements. General policy information is also available, such as a declaration that a car insurance policy meets legal minimums.

When a person needs to show proof of insurance to law enforcement or administrative staff at a hospital, that person may take down key information so he can verify that the person is a policyholder. The document may also include a clause noting the insurance is effective as long as the carrier is current with payments. If people do not pay their bills, the policy will lapse and the insurance becomes invalid.

People can use their proof of insurance when they need to make a claim against the policy. The document often includes a phone number people can call for service and assistance, and all the key information people need to file a report is available. It is a good idea to make a copy of the proof of insurance and keep it in the safe place so it will be available in the event of a problem; if a car is stolen, for example, people need their insurance information to alert the insurance company.

In situations where people drive cars with different named parties on the insurance and the title, it is important to make sure the driver carries the insurance, not the registered owner. This situation can arise when children drive their parents' cars, or when couples share cars. It is possible to list multiple people on a policy so anyone likely to drive a vehicle will have coverage. In situations where a person has temporary control of a car with permission from the driver, insurance companies have varying ways of handling claims on the policy.

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