Where should you keep your car insurance cards?

We'll cover the importance of keeping your car insurance cards handy. We'll also go over what's included on the cards and how they act as proof of insurance if it's requested by law.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Jun 10, 2022

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Things to Remember...

  • Failure to produce proof of auto insurance could lead to large fines, driving penalties, or even jail
  • One car insurance card belongs in your vehicle, and the other should be filed away or carried safely
  • Contact your insurance company for a replacement if you lose one or both of your insurance cards

There are many things to think about when you get behind the wheel, and you might not be sure where to keep a car insurance card. This detail may seem small, but, if mishandled, it could cost you if you are stopped or in an accident. One card belongs in your vehicle. The other should be stored and kept safe.

Knowing where to carry both of your vehicle insurance cards is an important part of being a responsible driver. Circumstances can change quickly, and knowing where these important documents are can make handling stressful roadside situations easier.

Where should I put my insurance cards?

Usually, your auto insurance company gives you two insurance cards. Keep one inside your vehicle. Put it in a place you will remember and can easily reach. You might find the glove compartment a convenient place to keep it, or perhaps you would prefer a storage area by your right arm in the central console. Put the other card in your files, or carry it in your wallet or a bag you have with you while driving.

Every state, except New Hampshire and Virginia, requires drivers to carry insurance, and those two states require proof of financial responsibility. Failing to show auto insurance proof could lead to fines up to $1000, driving penalties such as license suspension, or even time in jail. While basic liability insurance is the minimum insurance level required by law, there are multiple types and levels of car insurance. Some financial experts recommend higher levels of coverage for better asset protection.

Insurance companies maintain a national registry of valid insurance holders, but this database cannot be accessed by all agencies. If you are in an accident, officers cannot dial in and find your records. This is why you should carry an insurance card in your vehicle at all times. You may be wondering why you need two cards. There are numerous specific reasons.

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The Importance of Your Second Insurance Card

When discussing where to keep a car insurance card, an obvious place is inside your vehicle. Almost all insurance companies issue a second insurance card, however. What about that one, and does it matter?

Keep this second insurance card safe, and keep it handy. There are specific situations where having this card makes your life much easier.

Towing or Impounding

If your car is towed, your valid proof of insurance goes with it. Knowing where your second car insurance card is and being able to put your hands on it saves you valuable time. Without it, you would have to contact your insurance company while your vehicle sits, accruing additional fees.

Vehicle Theft

If your vehicle is stolen, your second insurance card can provide police with important information that can help them trace your car.

Crash

If you are involved in a road accident, your insurance card inside the car could be damaged or lost. If you are carrying a second card with you, or have it stored safely and within easy reach of another party, police and other involved parties will have access to necessary information.

Information Included on Car Insurance Cards

Understanding what information is included on vehicle insurance cards helps you appreciate the importance of these documents and the need to carry and store them safely.

  • Insurance company details. Insurance cards list the name of your insurance company and usually include the company’s phone number and address.
  • Policy details. Auto insurance cards include your car insurance policy number and the effective date, thus proving your policy’s validity. These cards may also list your policy’s expiration date.
  • Names of insured drivers. Everyone covered under your policy is listed.
  • Regional verification. Insurance cards list the state in which you hold the insurance. Laws vary, so this detail is especially important if you are driving in another state.
  •  Vehicle information. The cards list the make, model, and year of your vehicle, as well as the vehicle identification number, or VIN, matching the policy to your car.

The information on your insurance cards can help your state’s motor vehicle agency, the police, another person who is driving your vehicle, and other drivers involved in a vehicle accident with you.

Are you able to get replacement insurance cards if you lose them?

If you discover you have lost one or both of your auto insurance cards, contact your insurance company right away. They can start working immediately to get you another card. You should have two cards at all times. If you have lost one, ask your insurance company for a replacement.

The procedures for replacing lost insurance cards vary with each company. Some will email you a temporary card to print and use, and send you a permanent card through postal mail. Others will send you a file of your permanent card so that you can print it yourself.

If you purchased your vehicle policy online, there is likely a procedure in place for obtaining replacement cards. Visit the company’s website and look for that option. You may be asked to supply information such as your name, email address, and policy number.

If you purchased your insurance from a traditional company or broker, contact them and request a replacement card be sent to you. If convenient, you could also visit the office for replacement cards.

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Final Thoughts on Where To Keep Car Insurance Cards

While knowing where to keep a car insurance card may seem like a minor point, being able to find and present these documents at a moment’s notice is vital. If you are pulled over, in an accident, or something happens to your car, you need to know that one insurance card is in your car and that a second identical card is with you or stored safely in your files. These cards are much more than little slips of paper. They contain important information that can help you and others trying to assist you in numerous situations.

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