What is an auto insurance declarations page?
Last updated: January 1
A car insurance declarations page is a concise overview of your policy provided by your insurance company. To more easily understand the information it provides and how it can benefit you, here is a breakdown of the basics.
An important component of a car insurance policy is a standard declarations (or "dec") page that provides the most important information about your personal insurance policy, for example:
- The named insured (i.e. the main policyholder) and any additional insureds
- Any excluded drivers
- Your policy number
- The length and effective dates of your policy term
- Year, make, model and VIN of all cars on your policy
- Your driving history (tickets, accidents and any other violations)
- Your average annual mileage
How do I read my auto declarations page?
Think of your declarations page as an inventory of your policy. It tells you who and what is covered and how much coverage you have, and also outlines your limits and deductibles. Here's what to look for when reading it:
Your policy period is the length and effective dates of your policy. Your declarations page will clearly spell out your effective date (when your policy begins) and your expiration date (when your policy ends). Your policy "period"or "term" refers to how long your policy is in effect before you need to renew. Car insurance policy terms are usually either six months or 12 months, with six being the most common.
Drivers listed on your policy
Anyone who drives your vehicle — even occasionally — should be included on your policy. If you can't remember who you included when you first bought the policy, you can always find out on your declarations page.
Your declarations page will include the year, make, model and vehicle identification number (VIN) for each vehicle included on your policy. It will also itemize coverages for each vehicle since it's possible you might not need to carry the exact coverages and limits for each vehicle on the policy.
A loss payee is an individual or institution that has an insurable (or vested) interest in your property. In the case of a new car purchase, the loss payee is the lender or lessor, depending on whether you're buying or leasing the vehicle. Your car insurance declarations page will include the name, address and contact information of any loss payees. For example, if you financed your vehicle through your financial institution, you'll see them listed as the lienholder on your declarations page.
Your car insurance premium, the amount you pay for coverage, is broken down on your declarations page. If you have multiple vehicles on your policy, this page will itemize the rate for each one, in addition to listing the total premium.
Auto insurance is required by law in nearly every state, so having your insurance coverage info ready is essential. On your declarations page, you'll find a listing of the coverages included on your auto policy. Be sure to review these carefully to make sure you have all the coverage you need to protect you from life's uncertainties.
Your declarations page also includes limits for each coverage. For some coverages, you'll see a "per use" or daily limit. You might have a $100 towing and labor limit or a $50/day (or $1,000 max) limit for rental car coverage. Liability coverage for bodily injury and property damage to others is typically expressed in a 3-tier system. You might see 25/50/15, for example. Here's what these numbers mean when it comes to liability insurance:
- 25: The maximum amount (in thousands) the insurance company will pay toward injury-related expenses per person.
- 50: The maximum amount (in thousands) the insurance company will pay toward injury-related expenses per incident.
- 15: The maximum amount (in thousands) the insurance company will pay for property damage for each incident.
Included with your insurance coverages and limits, you'll see any applicable deductibles. Deductibles are the amounts you agree to pay when you file an insurance claim. Deductibles are common for comprehensive and collision coverage and can range anywhere from $100 to $1,000.
On your auto insurance declarations page, you'll see all the discounts applied to your premium for the current policy term. Most insurers offer discounts for everything from having anti-theft devices on your vehicle to being a good student to insuring more than one vehicle on your policy. Read through your discounts to make sure you're getting the best rate you can from your insurance company.
What information may not be on my declarations page?
Your declarations page isn't meant to explain your auto policy in exhaustive detail, but instead serve as an easily readable summary. It might not mention your policy's exclusions, definitions of terms and coverages. For that kind of information, you can dig deeper into your car insurance documents or contact your insurance company or insurance agent.
When will I need my auto insurance declarations page?
Say you've just purchased a vehicle and are ready to drive it off the lot. Before you can, you'll need to show the dealer proof of insurance for your new investment. Once you've secured a new policy for the car, your insurance company will fax your declarations page to the dealership to confirm that you have coverage.
A declarations page can also come in handy when you're shopping for new car insurance. All of your existing policy's fundamental details are compiled into a single page so you can easily compare car insurance quotes.