What is proof of insurance and where can I find it?
Like its name suggests, proof of insurance is a way of demonstrating that you meet your state's minimum requirements for insurance for either yourself or your property. You may be required to show proof of insurance in a whole variety of situations: for example, your landlord may require that you have renters insurance before you’re allowed to sign a lease. Requests for proof of insurance come up most frequently, however, when medical and vehicular issues arise.
You may need to show proof of health insurance when you first visit a new doctor’s office, or for tax purposes, or even to pick up prescriptions. (No one wants to be paying a higher co-pay than necessary!)
The main form of proof is the insurance card your provider sends you. These cards will include your policy name and group number, info about your insurance provider, as well as your name and personal details. If you lose your card, have misplaced it, or just didn’t remember to bring it the day you see your new doctor for the first time, there are other ways you can prove you have insurance. You can:
- Show the Explanation of Benefits (EOB), which is a required statement from the insurance provider to you (the policyholder) that explains your health insurance benefits
- Offer up bills and statements from your provider
- Bring out pay stubs with health insurance deductions
- Log into your account electronically and provide your policy name and group number
Which form of proof is accepted, however, depends on the situation. If a lack of insurance incurs tax penalties, for example, showing deductions probably wouldn’t be enough proof for your accountant. At the doctor’s office, however, they might want to see the EOB so they’ll know exactly how to bill you. Remember that producing a statement might not be enough to show that you have coverage. In short: every situation is unique.
When it comes to cars, the times you most likely will need to show proof of insurance are if you’re involved in an accident, pulled over for a moving violation, registering your new car, or taking your driving test — but there are certainly other instances where you may be asked.
Again, the most common form of proof is the insurance ID card that your provider mails to you. As with health insurance, these will list your policy number, insurance provider, and your name, among other information (depending upon a state’s requirements). In some cases, an insurer may email you the card, which you’ll then have to print off yourself (assuming you still have a home printer…which we do not).
Beyond the card, there are other ways to prove you have automobile insurance:
- Show a letter from the insurance company detailing your policy
- Log into your account electronically
- Show a copy of the declarations page that your insurance provider issues when you get coverage
Be aware though, that not every option is valid in every state. These days, for example, you can show proof of insurance on your phone almost everywhere except in New Mexico, where the police aren’t required to accept electronic proof. (Though, of course, they can do so if they choose to.)
Failure to produce proof of insurance can lead to penalties, but if you do have coverage, they tend to be pretty minor — the caveat being that you’ll need to show proof as soon as possible. Producing proof can sometimes even eliminate a fine altogether. But if you don’t have insurance, well: you’ve got bigger fish to fry. Driving uninsured can lead to having your license suspended or revoked, and you may even face jail time. Moral of the story: make sure you have insurance!
If you’re concerned about keeping track of all your policies, we’re here for you: your Marble wallet will help you stay organized, and can even serve as proof of coverage — depending on where you live, of course. And once you set up your wallet, you can compare providers and earn rewards just for having insurance.