Can the police determine whether you have car insurance?

If you get pulled over, will police be able to know whether or not you have auto insurance before they ask you for documentation? Can they get that info by running your registration details through their database?

Answer
In many states, insurance companies notify the DMV electronically when you start and stop your coverage. If you live in one of these states, then the answer to your question is yes! Once the police officer runs your plates, they’ll see if you have an active policy.
However, mistakes can still happen and electronic reporting isn’t available in every state. It’s always a good idea to keep a copy of your paper or electronic insurance identification cards in the car to show as proof of coverage.
If you’d like to learn more about how police identify uninsured drivers, check out this article: How Police Catch Uninsured Drivers.
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Shannon Martin
Answered on Feb 24, 2021
Shannon is an expert in personal lines liability insurance with 13 + years of insurance industry experience. She also served as a special insurance liaison to AARP members for 6 of those years. She is a graduate of UL Lafayette and currently resides in NY with her family. Shannon is also an amateur juggler, ukulele player, and is a time travel paradox theory enthusiast.
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