What is a car insurance policy number?

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Keeping track of your insurance policy is arguably as important as having it in the first place. One of the easiest ways to manage and track your auto insurance is through your car’s insurance policy number. In many situations, you may have enough time to perform a car insurance policy number lookup. Still, there are times when you need your auto insurance policy number right away.

But what is an insurance policy number? And how do you find it? In this article, you’ll find the answers to these questions as we dive into the nuances of an insurance policy number, what it is, how it works and when you need it.

What is a car insurance policy number?

Every insurance policy has an identification number assigned to it when it is created. This identification is called the insurance policy number and will be attached to nearly all paperwork related to your policy.

The insurance policy number serves as a unique identifier, differentiating each insurance policy from others. Another way of looking at it is that each insurance policy has a number, and no two numbers are the same.

Who needs their car insurance policy number?

Anyone who holds an auto insurance policy benefits from knowing their car insurance policy number. In many cases, you can look up your policy number if you forget it. However, suppose you’ve just been in a car accident. In that case, you need to provide the other drivers with your auto insurance information. This information includes your car insurance policy number. In a car accident, you’ll also need to get the other driver’s policy number, just as you need to provide yours.

How to find your car insurance policy number

It will be printed within the policy documents given to you when you set up your policy. Beyond that, insurance policy numbers are generally attached to all paperwork associated with that policy. Thankfully, this means that you can find it in several ways.

  • Check your insurance card
    • Your proof of insurance card will have your policy number listed. The format for an auto insurance policy number is usually 9-13 digits long and looks similar to this: “Policy # [your 9-13 digit number here]”
  • Go through your premium bills
    • Premium statements often have the policy number printed within them. Perhaps less common for digital bills, but with printed statements, you can look for a similar format as you would find on your insurance card.
  • Look at your insurance declarations page
    • When purchasing your policy, the insurance company should have provided paperwork detailing your policy’s coverage. This paperwork will often have the insurance policy number printed within it.
  • Log into your account
    • If you have an online account with your insurance company, you can likely find your policy number. Go to the company website and log into your account. Once you are logged in, you may see your policy number listed with your account information.
  • Contact your insurance agent
    • You can always contact your insurance agent. Inform them of who you are and request your policy number. They may require some proof of identification, so be ready just in case.

How to find someone else’s car insurance policy number

There are ways to find this information. Depending on the situation, some methods will be more viable than others. In general, success will depend on how valid your reasons are for requesting the information.

  • File a police report
    • If you have a legal cause, like being the victim of a hit and run, you may file a police report and request to be informed of whether or not the vehicle was insured. This represents a valid reason because, in this case, the insurance of that vehicle may be liable for damages done to yours.
  • Contact the DMV
    • If you have a valid reason to know whether a car is insured, but it isn’t a police matter, you can sometimes get that information from the DMV. The DMV will want to know your reasons and will need as much information on the vehicle as you can provide. If you know the car’s VIN (vehicle identification number), the process may go much smoother.

What to do if you lost your policy number

While these numbers are important, don’t be too concerned if you lose yours. If you do lose your policy number, contact your insurance company. Remember, your insurance policy number is permanently attached to your policy. So long as that policy remains on file with the insurance company, your policy number will never be completely lost.

Frequently asked questions

What is the best car insurance company?

Many factors go into determining which car insurance company will be best for you. Things like your driving record, vehicle, what kind of coverage you want and where you live help inform which policy and company will be the best fit. To get started, consider our guide to The Best Car Insurance Companies for 2020.

Where should I keep my car insurance policy number?

State laws often require that proof of insurance is kept in your vehicle. Thankfully, your proof of auto insurance should have your policy number printed on it.

Should I keep my policy number a secret?

It’s not a disaster if you share your policy number. Still, unless the other person has a valid reason for wanting it, it’s generally best to keep the number to yourself.

What happens if I tell someone my policy number?

While it’s recommended to not share your policy number with those who don’t have a good reason for it, there is unlikely to be significant harm caused by doing so. If someone has your policy number, they may be able to look up information related to your policy. Still, they won’t be able to make any alterations to it without your permission.

Written by
Joshua Cox-Steib
Joshua Cox-Steib has two years of experience in writing for insurance domains such as Bankrate.com, Coverage.com, Thesimpledollar.com, Reviews.com, and more. His work has also been featured on such sites as Msn.com and BBB.org. His insurance writing career has spanned across multiple product lines, with a primary focus on auto insurance, life insurance, and home insurance.