Sometimes it seems that life is filled to the brim with paperwork.
While old magazines or an alarming pile of junk mail can make anyone’s head spin, the declaration pages of your insurance documents are filled with important information and should be kept in a safe place.
This article will outline everything you need to know about your car insurance declaration page so that you can be confident you’ve purchased the insurance you need.
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Types of Declarations Pages
If you’ve purchased insurance coverage in the past, you’ve probably received a packet of information about your insurance policy. The first two to four pages of that stack of papers is typically the Insurance Declarations Page, commonly called a “Dec Page.”
The Dec page is like a receipt of coverage that you’ve purchased. Any policy should come with a declarations page, including:
- Auto Insurance
- Home Insurance (read about homeowners insurance declaration pages here)
- Renters Insurance
- Life Insurance
- Health Insurance
Some insurance policies are more complicated than others, but all should be reviewed when received. Careful review helps you catch any mistakes. It may seem tedious, but it can save you time, money, and stress-headaches in the future.
In this article, we will focus on auto insurance declarations pages.
What’s Listed on a Declarations Page
In order to review your documents fully, you should know all the components of your policy declarations page.
All relevant parties should be listed on the first page of your declarations page, including:
- Who’s insured, referred to as the “named insured.” This will likely be the policyholder (you) and any additional insured drivers you’re including on your policy. Examples might include your spouse and children. Be sure to check that everyone is listed and that there are no misspellings.
- Who’s doing the insuring, aka the car insurance company. Their contact information including address, website, and phone number should also be listed there. Please note that this information may also appear at the end of your declarations page.
- Who’s your point of contact, aka your insurance agent. Pro tip: your agent should have a direct line. If you have any questions or concerns, going to your agent first can save you a lot of time.
- Who holds a lien on your car, likely a bank or other financial institution. If you’ve recently paid off your car loan, you should double check that your policy has removed any lienholders. This is important because, in the case of an insurance claim on your car—due to hail damage, for example—your insurance company will make checks payable to you and your lienholder.
All vehicles should be listed along with their vehicle identification number or VIN. If one of your vehicles isn’t listed, you can be sure that it’s not covered. Contact your agent immediately. This is especially important to review if you’ve recently added or removed a vehicle from your policy.
All coverage components should be listed, including:
- Your policy number, which is needed when you file a claim.
- Your policy period, which are the dates your policy coverage begins (effective date) and ends (expiration date). This is typically six months for an auto policy.
- Your insurance premium, which is the amount you’ve agreed to pay in exchange for coverage.
- Your deductible, which is the amount you’ve agreed to pay out of pocket in the event of a claim.
- The types of coverage and their limits of liability. (Read more on this below.)
- Any extra or optional insurance you’ve purchased. This can include rental car reimbursement, roadside assistance, and underinsured motorist coverage. (Read more on this below.)
- Please note that riders, which are enhanced policy terms, are not always listed on the declarations page. If you’ve added a rider to your policy, be sure to speak with your agent to ensure that you understand where to find proof that your riders are included.
Lastly, any and all car insurance discounts to your policy should be included. If anything is missing, be sure to speak to your agent right away.
Types of Coverage
There are some basic types of coverage that you may be required to purchase if required by your state.
- Liability insurance covers property damages and bodily injury when you are at-fault in an accident.
- Collision insurance covers objects damaged in a collision.
- Comprehensive insurance covers your vehicle when damage occurs outside of a collision. Examples include hail damage, auto theft, and vandalism.
- Personal injury protection (PIP) is required by some states and meant to cover medical expenses regardless of who is at fault. It can also cover lost wages, funeral expense, and services needed during recovery.
- Uninsured motorist insurance is required in 20 states and is meant to cover you in the case that you get into an accident and the at-fault driver does not have insurance. Underinsured motorist insurance is required in just 11 states. This covers you if you get into an accident and the at-fault driver does not have enough insurance to cover the bodily injury and/or property damage you’ve sustained.
- Gap insurance covers the difference between what you owe on your car and the value of the car itself. This is typically required if you have a loan or lease on the vehicle.
For each type of insurance, there should be a limit of liability listed. This is how much coverage you’ve purchased. For example, if the limit of liability on your auto insurance policy is $50,000, then you are responsible for any amount incurred over $50,000.
If you’ve purchased optional coverage, you should review your declarations page to make sure that it is listed. Optional coverage may include:
- Comprehensive coverage
- Medical payments coverage
- Uninsured or underinsured motorist coverage
- Roadside assistance
- Rental car reimbursement
- Accident forgiveness
How To Get a Copy of Your Policy Declarations Page
You should receive a new copy in the mail any time your coverage has changed, whether due to a new policy, changes to your current policy or renewal. However, if you need one, you can request one from your insurance company or your agent. Your insurance company may also have your documents stored in their online portal.
Every time you renew or make a change to your car insurance policy, you will receive a new declarations page along with your new proof of insurance documents. Be sure to review your dec page anytime you receive a new one, even if nothing but the policy period has changed. Mistakes can happen, and a five-minute review of your declaration page can catch costly mistakes.