Usually, drivers are well aware of whether or not they have car insurance, so you may be embarrassed to even have this question. Don’t be. There are numerous situations that can result in being unsure if you have car insurance coverage at a certain point in time. It can be even more complicated if you don’t even know which carrier you should be checking with to determine whether or not you are covered. In any case, it’s important to be aware of your car insurance status, even if you don’t need to file a claim right now.
Knowing what your current policy is can help you get better rates on a new policy purchase, for example. Also, you’re legally required to carry a certain amount of insurance if you’re driving in the United States, and nearly all states require you to provide proof of your insurance coverage if you’re registering a car or renewing your registration.
So, if you don’t know whether or not you’re covered… how do you find out? Here are a few of the easiest methods for determining if you’re insured.
Look In The Car
Often, proof of car insurance is stored in the vehicle itself. If you’re not sure, check some of the common places where proof of insurance is usually kept. These include the center console, the glove compartment, and in the visor above the driver’s seat. Even if you don’t find current insurance proof, you may find outdated insurance paperwork that gives you a hint of who the carrier might be.
If you do luck out and find current paperwork, you’ll have nearly all of the information you need—the name of the insurance carrier, the agency which served the policy, and the number of the policy. With this information it should be easy to find out if the policy is still up to date—and you should, just in case it’s lapsed.
Get A New Quote
If you didn’t find anything in the car, don’t panic. There are still a few other methods you can use. One of these is simple enough: get a new car insurance quote. You see, most agents will run something called a “CLUE” report if you request a new quote. A CLUE report will tell them, among other things, who your current insurance carrier is, if you have one, or if the policy has lapsed. This method isn’t completely foolproof, since not all carriers show up in this type of report, but the majority of major carriers do.
Don’t be shy about letting the agent know your circumstances, either. They’ll usually be happy to help you determine whether or not you have a current policy. If it turns out that you do, all you’ll need to do is contact the carrier. They’ll be able to provide you with information—you’ll want to request a copy of the policy declaration page as well as whatever proof of insurance the company offers, usually an insurance card or similar. You can also have them tell you what the policy covers, in the same phone call, so that you can begin making decisions regarding changing the policy if necessary.
If your insurance coverage doesn’t show up in a CLUE report, there’s yet another way you can check
Check With Your State’s Secretary Of State Office
Just call in. In most states, this office tracks insurance coverage, including whether or not it is up to date. Don’t be embarrassed; there are so many situations that require this that they won’t be surprised by the question.