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If you look at your auto insurance policy documents, you might wonder what that jumble of letters and numbers is on the top of all of your paperwork.
While this sequence of digits might bring back memories of solving algebraic equations in school, it’s actually your personal car insurance policy number that’s used to pull up all of your information.
If you’re trying to locate your policy number and you’re not sure what to look for, you might be curious to learn how many digits that number will be. Unfortunately, there’s not a universal number of digits that all insurance carriers use.
It’s even more confusing to learn that a policy number might not even be a number at all. Here’s what you need to know about policy numbers for future reference:
The Number and Sequence of the Digits Vary By Carrier
Most policy numbers are a sequence of 10 or fewer numbers and letters. Unfortunately, since companies are responsible for creating their own sequence, no carrier uses the same series when they are generating policy numbers.
With most carriers, it’s helpful to know that there won’t be a mixture of numbers and letters.
Usually, the letters preceding numbers represent the state where the policy was issued and the type of policy the number identifies.
The letters may be the state abbreviation or a code that represents the state in the company’s system. The numbers following any letters are the digits that are unique to your policy. Only your account will have these numbers.
What is a VIN and is that different from a policy number?
The VIN, which stands for Vehicle Identification Number, is an identifying code for a specific vehicle. Every car that’s produced by a manufacturer on a factory line will be issued its own VIN.
This is a 16-digit or a 17-digit number that can be found on the window etching and on the vehicle frame.
Vehicle Identification Numbers aren’t the same thing as policy numbers because they identify the car and not the policy.
Some companies have advanced databases where they can pull up a policy by inputting the VIN, but this isn’t a universal capability. All insurers, however, have systems where inputting the VIN can decode information on the vehicle.
Here’s what a VIN tells you:
- Digits 1-3 are the manufacturer identifier
- Digits 4-8 are vehicle features
- Digit 9 is a fraud verification number
- Digit 10 is the vehicle’s model year
- Digit 11 is the code for the assembly plant where the car was manufactured
- Digits 12-17 is the vehicle’s identifier off the assembly line
Where can you find your policy number?
Chances are you don’t know your auto insurance policy number by heart. Since it’s not a number you’ll use on a regular basis, it’s important that you know where to find it when you need it to file a claim or make an insurance payment.
Here are a few places that you can look if you’re having trouble getting your information:
– Declarations Page
Your declarations page includes very detailed information about the coverage that you carry. This is the most important document you’ll receive from your insurer when your policy is issued and when it renews.
Your policy number will be at the top of your declarations page and it will remain the same as long as your policy isn’t rewritten.
– Auto Insurance ID Card
Your insurance ID cards are smaller documents that are portable so they are easier to carry on-the-go. Every carrier must issue you up-to-date ID cards each term. On these cards, you’ll find the following information:
- Company name and contact number
- Named insured
- Policy number
- Effective date
- Expiration date
– Billing Invoices
If you’re paying your premiums monthly, you will get monthly billing notices in the mail or in your email inbox. This notice will include the policy number and the amount due.
If the whole number doesn’t show for security reasons, log into your account online or call your agent.
There will come a time where having your policy number on hand can be helpful. If you’re shopping for coverage, it’s nice to have your current policy information on hand. Enter your coverage information in a quote tool, and you can see if switching makes financial sense.