What Qualifies as Proof of Insurance?

Bonnie Stinson
Apr 27, 2022 · 6 min read
Insurance companies provide a physical or digital card that will serve as proof of your insurance policy.
It can live in your glove box (next to the tissues and chapstick) or it can live on your smartphone. Both can be verified by police, although not every state allows digital proof.
It’s not enough to say you have insurance—you’ve gotta prove it. You need proof of insurance if you get in an accident, if you’re pulled over, or if you’re trying to register a vehicle.
That’s why the car insurance comparison shopping and broker app, Jerry has compiled everything you need to know about proof of insurance.
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What is proof of insurance?

Proof of insurance is evidence that you hold a valid and current insurance policy that covers both you and the vehicle.
Instead of calling your insurance company directly, police officers and car dealerships simplify the process by checking your ID card to verify your coverage.
Most often, your proof of insurance looks like an ID card. It will show info related to you and your policy. Companies often issue two cards per vehicle, which lets you keep one in the vehicle at all times.
Here’s what proof of insurance usually contains:
  • Your name
  • Your address
  • All covered drivers
  • Vehicle year and make
  • Name of insurance company
  • The dates of coverage
  • Your unique policy number
You may also use a proof of coverage letter from your insurance company. In many states, it’s acceptable to use an electronic form of the ID card or letter to prove you have coverage (more on this below).
Proof of insurance does not show optional coverages like accident forgiveness or comprehensive insurance. It will only show that you have met your state’s minimum requirements. To find the full coverage amounts and types, go online or call your agent.

Which states allow digital proof of insurance?

There are 46 states in which you can carry digital proof of insurance. The exceptions are Massachusetts, New Hampshire, New Mexico, and Washington, DC.
StateAllows Digital Proof of Insurance?
New Hampshire**No**
New JerseyYes
In Massachusetts, your insurance information is already printed on your car registration, so it’s a moot point. And in New Hampshire, most drivers aren’t required to have car insurance.
To get your digital proof of insurance, see if your provider has a mobile app. Once you’re logged in, you should be able to pull up your digital ID card within the app. Otherwise, you can screenshot the ID card and save it to your phone.
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Why you need proof of insurance

Car insurance is mandatory in nearly every state. To drive legally, you need coverage!
What happens if you don’t have proof of insurance? Driving without insurance could result in fines, a suspended license, vehicle impoundment, or even jail time in extreme cases.
In case of car accident
If you are involved in a car accident, it’s helpful to have proof of your insurance on hand. This allows you and the other party to exchange information and understand what might be covered.
In case you get pulled over
If you get pulled over for a moving violation, you will need to show the officer proof of insurance. Otherwise, you could be ticketed for the traffic violation as well as for the lack of insurance.
At the DMV
You will need to show proof of insurance at the DMV when you renew your license plate or register a vehicle.
It’s wise to maintain insurance coverage even if you don’t own a vehicle or aren’t driving frequently. A lapse in coverage may cause companies to view you as a high-risk driver, which can increase your premiums.

What if I don’t have proof of insurance—but I am insured?

You wouldn’t be the first person to misplace your card! Or perhaps you’re driving a friend’s vehicle or your phone died and you can’t open the app to pull up your ID card.
If you can’t prove that you have coverage, you could get a ticket. You can, however, contest the ticket later if you did have coverage but didn’t have the proof.
Promptly provide proof of insurance and an explanation to the court. Don’t procrastinate! You may have to pay fines and you could lose your license and registration if you fail to provide this proof in a timely manner.
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How do I get instant proof of insurance?

As soon as you purchase a car insurance policy, the company typically sends you a package in the mail that contains your ID card and other policy information.
Every time your policy renews, you will receive an updated proof of insurance.
Keep in mind that Jerry is the best solution if you ever get pulled over and need to provide instant proof of insurance. Smaller companies sometimes have buggy apps and they may not work when you need them.

Help! I lost my proof of insurance

If you lost your proof of insurance, don’t worry! It’s all too easy to lose that tiny ID card.
Call up your insurance company or go online to request a new proof of insurance document. If you’re in a state that allows digital proof of insurance, use your carrier’s mobile app and you’ll never lose your ID card again.
Of course, you will never have to worry about losing proof of insurance again if you have Jerry (and live in a state that allows digital proof of insurance).
A licensed broker, Jerry does all the hard work of finding cheap quotes from the top name-brand insurance companies and buying new car insurance. Jerry will even help you cancel your old policy.
And to ensure you always have the lowest rate, Jerry will send you new quotes every time your policy comes up for renewal, so you’re always getting the coverage you want at the best price.
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