What Documents Do You Need to Get Car Insurance?

Know the paperwork you need to submit

Table of Contents
Table of Contents
Image shows a man driving a red van whistling, with dice hanging from his rearview mirror. Text reads: "The paperwork needed for car insurance: social security number; declaration page; voided check; driver's license; bank info; vehicle info (including VIN)"

Image by Nez Riaz © The Balance 2020

Even in our digital world, getting car insurance can require quite a bit of paperwork. You need to provide lots of information to get a price quote and then receive your policy. And the insurance company you use will also send you documents when they insure you.

What Documents Do You Need to Get Car Insurance?

Vehicle Information

Of course, your insurance company wants to know what car they are insuring. You’ll need to have your vehicle identification number (VIN). This is often found on the driver's side of the dashboard; the easiest way to spot it is to look through the windshield. It might also be inside the door frame on the driver’s side. It is also noted on your car's title and existing car insurance policy if you have one.

You should also know the year, make, and model of the car. Also, note any safety or anti-theft equipment that is on the car; this could lower the cost of your premiums. You'll also need to give your best estimate of the number of miles you'll be driving each year. You may also be asked the date when you bought the car.

Note

You will need to show your car's registration; this proves that your ownership of the car has been recorded by the state in which you live.

Current Declaration Page

If you have a current car insurance policy, you will want to provide your current declaration page to the insurance company you are getting a quote from. The dec page will provide proof that you have insurance on your car. It will let the agent giving you your quote know what sort of coverage you have on your car right now.

Driver Information

Your insurer will likely request a copy of your driver’s license. They'll also want a copy of the license of any driver who will be covered by the policy. Companies can use a driver's license number to access your Motor Vehicle Report (MVR) driving record. This can help them find any history of accidents or moving violations. They will also get a Comprehensive Loss Underwriting Exchange (CLUE) report to check on any claims you have filed.

Note

The number of years covered in an MVR varies from state to state; most go back three to seven years.

The insurer will need your home address and the address where the car will be parked if it's not the same. The location where your car is kept is used when setting your premiums.

An insurer may also want the Social Security numbers (SSNs) of all people who will be driving the car. Having access to SSNs makes it easier to find other information.

Credit and Bank Information

Insurance companies will likely run a credit check before they decide to insure you, and they will also be looking to see whether you have a history of making late payments. In addition, you should have a voided check—or at least your checking account number and bank's routing number—handy if you want to set up an automatic payment plan.

Discount Verification

Car insurance companies may offer discounts on premiums. They could be an option for you if you are a safe driver, a homeowner, an honor student, or a member of certain organizations, among other things. The MVR will cover your driving safety record. You'll need to offer proof of your status for the other types of discounts.

Different insurers may accept different documents for proof of homeownership. In most cases, a homeowner's insurance policy, deed, or property tax records should be good enough. If you are looking to get a good student discount, you must provide a current report card. And you will need to show proof if you're looking to get a discount because you're a member of a certain organization.

Paperwork From Your Insurance Carrier

Insurance companies not only request paperwork from you. They also send it to you. You will need to hold on to these important pieces of information:

  • Car insurance policy: Your policy provides you with all of the information about your coverage. Car insurance policies can be lengthy. But make sure you take the time to read and understand yours fully.
  • Declaration page: The dec page has all of your information listed in an easier-to-read format. This should be your go-to paper when you have questions about your coverage or the cost.
  • Proof of insurance: Keep your proof of insurance in a safe place within the car. You will need to show it if you are pulled over for any reason or are involved in an accident.