Having a copy of your car insurance declaration page is important because it offers an overview of your car insurance policy. Provided by your insurance company, your auto insurance declaration page can help you understand how you are (and aren’t) covered, among other crucial information — which is why it matters to know how you read yours.
In this article, we’ll walk you through how to read a car insurance declaration page, and also explain how to get an insurance declaration page.
What Is an Insurance Declaration Page?
You can think of your automobile insurance declaration page as a summary of your overall policy, containing key information about your coverage, including which vehicles are covered and how to contact your car insurance agent, among other essential pieces of information. (You may hear this summary referred to as a “dec page” for short.)
The information detailed in your dec page is important for each insured driver to have on hand. If you’re involved in an accident or otherwise need to file a claim or contact your agent, this page can guide you through who to contact and what coverages you have. It can also help if you decide to compare policies to see if you’ve got the best deal for the premiums you’re paying.
Sample Car Insurance Declaration Page
Elements of your auto insurance declaration page will typically include the following:
• Contact information
• Loss payee (lender/lessor)
• Policy number and coverage dates
• Premium amounts
• Insured drivers
• Vehicle information
Here’s more about each.
This includes contact information for your insurance agent as well as your own name, address and phone number.
This will list any other party with an interest in the vehicle, typically the lender if you’ve financed or the lessor if you’ve leased the vehicle.
Policy Number and Coverage Dates
Just like with your mortgage, credit card account, car loan and so forth, your auto insurance policy comes with a unique account number so that coverage specifics can be accessed when needed. The insurance policy will also have a beginning and end date, perhaps for a six-month period that can then be automatically renewed, and those dates will appear on the declaration page, allowing you to ensure that you have the current version on hand.
This page will also list your current premium amount so you know how much to pay (or how much will be automatically deducted from your account). If the declaration page is for a six-month term, it may show an amount of $660 — and, if the agent accepts quarterly payments, then that would be half of that amount: $660 for six months divided by two, which amounts to $330 for three months. If payments are broken down into monthly ones, that would be $660 divided by six, which comes out to a monthly payment of $110.
If only one person is on the policy, then this section is pretty simple: their name will be listed as the insured driver. If multiple people are covered on the policy, then all of the household drivers would be listed by name. A person must be added to and listed on the policy before they can be covered by the insurance; if they’re removed from the policy, an updated auto insurance declaration page should be issued without their name.
If only one vehicle is insured under this policy then, again, this section is pretty straightforward. It will include the year, make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN) for the covered vehicle. If multiple household vehicles are covered, information will be listed about each one.
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The automobile insurance declaration page will list the types of coverage included on the auto policy as well as the dollar amounts associated with them. Categories can include:
• Bodily injury: This covers costs if you cause injuries to other people through an auto accident.
• Property damage: This covers damage to another person’s car or property (such as a fence or building) if you’re at fault in an auto accident. It can also cover costs for the removal of trees, signs, and other debris as needed after an accident.
• Medical coverage: This covers medical payments and lost wages if you or a passenger gets injured in the accident. It can also cover funeral costs.
• Uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury: If the other person in the accident isn’t insured or doesn’t have enough insurance to cover the damages incurred, this will kick in to help pay for repairs and other costs.
For each type of coverage listed, there will be limits — sometimes per person and other times per incident. In all but one state, liability insurance is required, although laws vary regarding the amounts needed. Some states will require bodily injury and property damage liability, while others may also require uninsured motorist coverage or personal injury protection.
Note that these state requirements list the minimum required, not necessarily how much auto insurance you may really need in case of an accident. If you have a loan on the car, your lender may require comprehensive and collision coverage, even though your state laws don’t require them.
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You may receive discounts on your policy, perhaps because of vehicle features (anti-lock brakes or stability control, for example) or because of your driving history. These should be listed on your declaration page along with the vehicles they apply to. Your insurance agent may provide multiple car discounts and/or discounts if you also have a homeowners policy with them, as two more examples.
Deductible specifics should be listed on the auto insurance declaration page as well. The deductible (an important auto insurance term to know) is the amount you’d be required to pay out of pocket before your insurance policy kicks in to pay the rest, subject to policy limits.
Coverage types, such as collision, personal injury, and uninsured motorist, can each have their own deductibles — perhaps $500 or $1,000 apiece. In general, a low deductible policy comes with higher premiums, while a high deductible generally has lower premiums.
How to Get Your Insurance Declaration Page
When you buy a new car insurance policy or change a current one, you should receive a copy of your new or updated automobile declaration insurance page. If you can’t find your copy, you can often download one from your insurance agent’s website or through their mobile app.
If the website doesn’t have that feature or you don’t want to go that route, there are other options for how to get an insurance declaration page. In that case, you could contact your agent for another copy, which could be a hard copy or a digital one.
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The auto insurance declaration page serves as a summary of your policy, including coverages, premiums, covered vehicles, deductibles, and more. Knowing how to read yours will allow you to know how much you’re protected in case of an accident and who to contact if you need to talk to the insurer. It makes sense to have a current copy of your declaration insurance page in your records where it’s easily accessible.
Additionally, your auto insurance declaration can be helpful if you want to shop around for auto insurance rates. To help you compare auto insurance rates and policies, SoFi has partnered with Experian to help you quickly and easily make an apples-to-apples comparison against the policy you currently have. Simply share your current policy information and then Experian will show you rates from insurers in the network.
Photo credit: iStock/Drazen_
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