Is My Car Insured? How to Check if You Have Car Insurance
If you’re a first-time independent car owner, you may have been wondering if your car is insured. Maybe you’ve always relied on your family members to maintain car insurance, such as your parents or spouse, and you’re not sure how to deal with your own car when you have to take it over. You need to verify that you have auto insurance and that payments are current since it’s mandatory to be insured before you hit the road.
In most U.S. states, you’re required to show proof of insurance to renew your license or car tag. And if you’re in an accident or traffic stop, you’re usually required to share your current insurance information.
If you’re not sure whether your car is insured, it’s a good idea to find out so you’ll be driving legally and prepared to show proof of insurance when you need it.
Table of contents
1. Check For an Online Policy
Do you know which insurance company your family or household has used in the past? If so, that can be a good place to start. Many insurers offer online accounts where you can log in and review, update or renew your coverage. If you know the insurance company and the email address that would be associated with your account, you may be able to log in and see if your coverage is up to date.
2. Search Your Car
Most people keep a copy of their car insurance policy or card somewhere in their vehicle. That way, it’s always available in case of an accident or traffic stop. If someone else has been keeping up with your car insurance for you, chances are they may have placed your documentation in your car too.
Search your glove compartment, center console, and any other storage compartments in your car for insurance paperwork. Even if you find paperwork from a previous year, that gives you a starting point. You can contact the insurance company to find out if the policy has been renewed.
3. Check the Motor Insurance Database (MID)
You can do a free check on your own vehicle in the Motor Insurance Database (the vehicle must be either registered, owned, or insured by you or your employer; or you must be permitted to drive it). All you need to do is insert your Vehicle Registration Number and confirm that you read and understood the Data Protection Declaration.
Also, in the event of a car accident on the road, you can check if the other vehicle involved carries valid insurance or if you had a collision with an uninsured driver.
4. Get a New Insurance Quote
This may sound like giving up on finding your (potential) current policy, but it’s not. When you request a new car insurance quote, most insurance agents access an online report that shows them your current insurance carrier and sometimes, whether your policy has lapsed. As long as your insurance carrier shows up on the report (and most do), the insurance agent can tell you which one it is.
Another great way to obtain affordable car insurance coverage is using one of the comparison sites. You will be able to see car insurance rates from different insurance providers in one place without having to check everything on your own. Even if you find out your auto insurance policy is valid, if the new quote offers a better price, you can choose to switch. Your former car insurance company will typically refund the amount paid on a pro-rated basis.
Also, if you have a property policy like homeowners or renters insurance, you can get a bundled quote to save more money!
5. Call Your Secretary of State
In many states, the Office of the Secretary of State keeps records regarding car insurance. You can call or visit the office to ask if they can track down your insurance using your driver’s license number or other identifying information.
When you find out the details of your car insurance, you may need a new policy. Even if you are covered, it’s possible you could save money (and get a refund on any payments you have already made for the current policy) by switching.
6. Make Sure You’re Covered
Even if you already have car insurance coverage, you need to make sure it’s sufficient for your needs. It’s important to know what your car insurance covers so you don’t end up bearing horrendous costs in the event of an accident.
You can go through your policy documents or ask your insurance agent to talk you through your coverage. In most states, only liability insurance is mandatory so you need to check if you own insurance with obligatory limits (or higher ones designed to your needs). Some statutory laws may require Personal Insurance Protection (if they don’t you should still consider that as it can protect you and your passengers if you get injured in a car accident).
You never know what may happen on the road, so you need to see if you would be covered if you cause any property damage or are involved in an accident with an uninsured or underinsured motorist.
Also, consider adding comprehensive or collision coverage to your auto insurance policy (they both come with the deductible which is the amount you will have to pay if anything happens before your insurance coverage kicks in).
Gabi can help you find the lowest rate in minutes for free, so sign up today and get priceless peace of mind!