UPDATED: APRIL 27, 2023 | 3 MIN READ
It’s essential to have specific driving documents, including driver’s licenses, proof of auto insurance, and vehicle registration. This way, you have everything you need if you’re pulled over or in an accident.
You get your license and registration at your local DMV/BMV, but how do you get proof of insurance, and why is it even necessary?
What Is Proof of Insurance?
Proof of insurance is a document showing you have auto insurance. This could be an insurance card or the declaration page of your policy.
Regardless, the proof of insurance you carry should include this info:
- Name and address
- Insurance company name
- Policy number
- Policy expiration dates
- Vehicle make, model, year, and VIN
- Insurance agent’s name
Proof of auto insurance should be in your vehicle whenever you’re driving. You are required to have auto insurance in every state except New Hampshire.
What kind of car insurance am I required to carry?
The minimum car insurance you’re required to carry varies by state. In some states, you can find 12-month car insurance policies, while others only offer coverage for six months. In addition to the type of state-mandated coverage you need, you need to carry specific amounts of that coverage.
All states, except Florida, New Hamshire, and Virginia, require you to carry bodily injury liability coverage. Louisiana has the lowest required limits at $15,000 worth of coverage per person and $30,000 worth of coverage per accident.
Michigan, Maine, and Alaska have the highest mandatory limits at $50,000 per person and $100.000 per accident. All other states fall somewhere in between, with most requiring at least $25,000 per person and $50,000 per accident for bodily injury liability coverage.
All 50 states and Washington D.C. require drivers to carry property damage liability coverage. Of course, the amount you need to carry varies by state.
California, Massachusetts, New Jersey, and Pennsylvania each require drivers to have $5,000 in property damage liability coverage. Twenty-two states, including Ohio and Texas, require drivers to carry $25,000 in property damage coverage, while the remaining states fall somewhere in between.
Also, about 50% of the states require drivers to carry uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage. A handful of states, including Florida, North Carolina, and New Jersey, require you to carry personal injury protection (PIP) coverage.
What’s an SR-22?
SR-22s are “certificates of financial responsibility” required by certain states after your license is suspended. To obtain one, your insurer must file a form with the state to certify that you have the proper amount of insurance required.
What documents work as proof of auto insurance?
Your insurance card is the main form of proof of liability insurance. Online proof of insurance is also accepted in all 50 states and Washington D.C., An SR-22 or declaration page from your insurance company also counts as proof.
What’s included on the proof of auto insurance?
Your card typically includes your policy number and information about your vehicle. That information includes:
- Car model
- Car year
- Insurance policy number
- Vehicle identification number (VIN)
- Effective dates of the policy
- Coverage details
Getting Proof of Auto Insurance
You can get proof of insurance anytime, even if you purchased same-day car insurance. There are a few different ways to get proof of auto insurance. You can get proof of insurance via:
- Paper printout
- Proof of insurance card
- Mobile app
In Massachusetts, your vehicle registration will include your car insurance information. You’ll need an SR-50 to keep as proof of insurance in Indiana.
How to get proof of auto insurance
You can get proof in a few different ways:
- Access digital proof of insurance through the company’s mobile app
- Wait for your insurance card to come in the mail·
- Request a physical insurance card online from your insurer’s website
- Ask for digital proof of auto insurance via email
- Call customer service to ask for proof of insurance
What to do if you lose your auto insurance card
If you lose your insurance card, you should:
- Get a digital copy of proof of insurance through the company’s app
- Access your online proof of insurance card by logging into your account
- Print out a card from the website
- Contact your insurance agent or company to have them send you a card
Can I show proof of auto insurance on my phone?
Digital proof of insurance is accepted in all 50 states and Washington D.C. To access digital proof of insurance, download your insurance company’s app and log into your account.
Why You Need Proof of Auto Insurance
Police officers require proof of insurance at the scene of an accident. But your local department of motor vehicles will request proof of insurance for the following reasons:
- Getting a driver’s license
- Registering a vehicle
- Obtaining a vehicle inspection sticker
What happens if you’re caught driving without proof of auto insurance
If you’re caught without proof of insurance, there are penalties. You might get a ticket and need to pay a fine. If driving while uninsured become a pattern for you, it could result in license suspension.
If you’re insured but caught without proof of insurance, you typically have 48 hours to show you coverage.
Using fake proof of auto insurance
Understanding why you should not use a fake proof of insurance card is essential. It’s illegal to drive without insurance, and using fake proof of insurance is insurance fraud and could have serious consequences.
Proof of auto insurance tips
When driving, you always have proof, whether paper or digital. Consider:
- Leaving a paper copy of your insurance card in your wallet or glove compartment
- Take a picture of the front and back of your paper insurance card with your phone and favor the image so it’s easy to find
- Downloading your insurance carrier’s app to have access to your digital insurance car whenever needed
Proof of Auto Insurance FAQs
What is proof of auto insurance?
Proof of auto insurance is a document that shows that you have auto insurance coverage. When registering a vehicle or a police officer pulls you over, it is needed.
What states allow digital proof of auto insurance?
All 50 states and Washington D.C. allow drivers to show digital proof of insurance. To do so, pull up your insurance carrier’s app. It shows all your car insurance info, including a digital insurance card.
Do you need proof of auto insurance to register a car?
Yes, the DMV or BMV requires you to show proof of insurance when registering a vehicle in most states. In other states, you must sign a form acknowledging your car insurance.
How can I get a car insurance card?
You can get a car insurance card by contacting your insurer. You can also get a digital card on the company’s mobile app.
Can you show proof of insurance on your phone at the DMV?
Yes, all 50 states and Washington D.C. allow you to use your phone to show proof of auto insurance. Just download your insurance carrier’s app to pull up your insurance information.
Proof of Auto Insurance: The Bottom Line
It’s very important always to have your proof of auto insurance with you when you’re on the road. Driving without insurance is illegal. If you don’t have adequate coverage, get car insurance now.