Shuman Roy is an entrepreneur, business owner, and musician. He started RoysNoys, LLC in 2013 as a music production and education service company. He also offers small business consulting and advisory services to help businesses get from start-up mode to turn-key operations. Shuman earned his M.B.A from the Stern School of Business in 2001 and has an undergraduate degree from Manhattan College in ...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity-backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Joel...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder, CFP®

UPDATED: Oct 26, 2021

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Do you have an insurance card or other proof of insurance? Hopefully you’re not asking this question because you were pulled over while driving uninsured.

Put simply, an “auto insurance ID card” is a document that demonstrates evidence of financial responsibility or insurance coverage. The exact verbiage varies from state to state. Your plan can vary to cover your car or medical injuries. Your card shows that, at the very least, you have enough coverage to meet state liability minimums.

It is important to make sure you get the correct ID card in the correct glove box to ensure there are no problems when you need to show your evidence of insurance. Generally, policies expire every 6-12 months. So if you’re keeping a paper copy, you should update this every time your insurance agent sends you a new copy.

For example, if you have two similar vehicles, or even the same make, be sure to get them in the right vehicles to avoid any fines if and when you’re pulled over. The VIN number should help you identify which is which.

What information is on an insurance identification card?

While not every card is the same from every insurance company, you can expect AT LEAST the following information to be listed on an auto ID card:

1. The name of your car insurance company
2. The name of the insurance agency from which you purchased coverage
3. The effective date and the expiration date of your coverage
4. Your policy number
5. The named insured on the policy (sometimes other drivers on the policy are listed as well)
6. The VIN number of the vehicle that’s covered
7. The year, make and model of the covered vehicle

As discussed in item number “5” above, you may not always see every driver on your policy listed on an ID card.

This is because car insurance coverage “follows” the vehicle rather than the person driving. If someone drives your car routinely, they will need to be added to the policy. If it’s a one off authorized use and they’re licensed, your insurance company will take care of it if something happens.

For example, you can allow a friend to operate your car (legally) without them having to be listed on the policy or the ID card.

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When do I get my auto ID card?

You should receive a temporary card directly from your insurer or agent when you purchase coverage, followed by a permanent card, which arrives with your policy in the mail.

With technology on the rise, the average insurer can now provide you with instant proof of insurance when you purchase your policy. Some states are slower to adopt technology than others. So always make sure your state allows electronic cards before you go relying solely on your app for access to your card.

This may lead to your not being able to provide proof of coverage until your policy and ID cards arrive in the mail.

Some states have switched to an electronic database in order to keep up-to-the-minute coverage detail, which may make auto ID cards obsolete in the future. Read more about one example in Georgia.

Tip: Is car insurance required in every state?