Is Your Car Insured? Here's How to Find Out

A woman is driving through a wooded area.
••• Tom Werner / Getty Images

Situations arise where you might not know if you have car insurance. You might be going through a divorce or taking over a loved one's finances. You might not even know what insurance carrier issued your policy.

It's important to know whether you have a current car insurance policy, even if you don't need to file a claim. Car insurance is required in most states, and you never know when an accident will happen. Most states also require proof of current insurance to renew your license plate and registration. Learn how to determine whether your car is insured.

Virginia and New Hampshire are the only states that don't require auto insurance. In Virginia, you have to pay $500 to drive without insurance, and in New Hampshire, insurance is only required in certain circumstances, but if you're at-fault in an accident, your license will be suspended until you pay for damages.

Review Your Statements

If you're taking over finances for a family member and can't find car insurance information, review their bank statements. Look for payments to common insurance carriers like GEICO or State Farm. This will be relatively easy if they pay monthly, but if they make semi-annual or annual payments, you may need to go back through up to a year of statements.

Look in Your Car

Search your car. The visor, the center console, and the glove box are the most common places to store insurance information. You may be able to locate an expired or current proof of insurance card, and getting your hands on this document will be the fastest way to know if you have car insurance. It should give you the insurance carrier’s name and the name of the insurance agency that services the policy. Call the insurance carrier or agency to determine whether your policy is up to date.

Get a New Insurance Quote

Getting an insurance quote can also help you find out if you have car insurance. Insurance agents typically run a CLUE report that tells them your current insurance carrier, and it can also tell them if a policy has lapsed. However, not all insurance carriers show up in a CLUE report, so this strategy isn't 100% accurate.

Tell the agent who provides your car insurance quote about the situation. Let them know you might have a current insurance policy, but that you need help verifying it. If the agent can tell you what insurance carrier you have a policy with, call the carrier and request a copy of your declarations page and proof of insurance. You can likely get your coverage information over the phone so you know what's on the policy, and but it's still important to ask for a copy of the declarations page so you have it for future reference.

Check With the Secretary of State Office

Many Secretary of State offices track car insurance coverage, and some states, like Texas, are even advanced enough to know if your policy is up to date. Call or go to your local Secretary of State office and inquire about your car insurance. It doesn't hurt to ask, and it could save you the time and effort of looking through piles of paperwork trying to find car insurance information.

Call Common Carriers

Many drivers get insurance through popular insurance companies like Progressive and Allstate. If you can't find any insurance paperwork in your car or home, contact common carriers and ask whether they issued an auto policy to you or your loved one.

If you've found a homeowners or renters insurance policy, contact the company that issued it. Insurance companies offer discounts for purchasing multiple policies, so there's a chance that you or your loved one bought your car insurance from the same company that issued your other policy.

Don't be embarrassed if you don't know whether you have car insurance—it's not as uncommon as you might think. Youthful drivers might not be getting along with their parents and be left in the dark about car insurance matters. Divorce or a loved one's death can also mean you have to suddenly learn about family financial matters. A little digging can help you figure out if you have car insurance. If you don't, it's time to shop around and collect a few quotes for a new car insurance policy.