What is an auto insurance policy number?

Your insurance policy number acts as an identifier to access your policy for bills and claims. Read on for all the details on what a policy number means and how you can find yours.

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Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Written by Rachel Bodine
Feature Writer Rachel Bodine

Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 25, 2022

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Things to remember

  • You can find your policy number on your insurance card, billing invoices, and the declarations page
  • Every insurance company uses a different format for the policy number
  • An easy way to find your policy number is by managing your insurance policy online

Your auto insurance policy number acts to identify your policy with the insurance company. Each company organizes these numbers differently, but your number is specific to your policy. You can find your policy number in many locations. However, the simplest way to make it easily accessible is to carry your auto insurance ID card in your wallet and keep a copy in your vehicle.

Read on to learn more about your insurance policy number, how you can use it, and where you can compare online auto insurance companies for the right policy.

What is an insurance policy number?

Understanding your car insurance policy is important. Your policy contains an array of elements that make it specific to you. For example, you choose dates, coverages, monetary limits, and applicable auto insurance discounts when you purchase a policy. Those elements affect your monthly rates and the process for filing a claim. Your policy number encompasses everything under one unique identifier, tying you and your policy to the insurance company. It acts similarly to your social security number.

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Where can you find your insurance policy number?

Once you purchase an insurance policy, you will find your policy number in several locations. The most common areas include the declarations page, your auto insurance ID card, and billing invoices.

Declarations Page

Your car insurance declarations page explains the details of your policy, including the types of coverage in your policy and the monthly and annual rates.

The declarations page is the first page in your auto insurance policy documentation. You’ll likely find the policy number at the very top on the right side.

You can think of this page as a summary of your insurance policy, and refer back to it for your policy number and information on deductibles and coverage.

Auto Insurance ID Card

Every insurance company designs its auto insurance ID cards differently, but there are certain elements you will find on them all. These elements include:

  • Your name and contact information. If you are not the policyholder, your name may appear as a person covered by the policy.
  • Policy term dates. This includes the start and expiration date for the policy.
  • Policy number. You can typically find this near the top.
  • Your vehicle information. This includes the make and model, as well as the VIN.
  • Insurance company information. You can usually find the name and contact phone number of the insurer at the top.

Your proof of insurance should arrive in the mail shortly after you purchase a policy, but you can access it online immediately.

Billing Invoices

Any time you receive an invoice or mailer from the insurance company, your policy number should be at the top. This includes your monthly policy rate invoices. You typically have the option to go paperless and receive your bill via email.

Do insurance policy numbers differ across companies?

Every insurance company creates its own policy identifier method. Larger companies with more policyholders may need more digits to accommodate all the policies. Some may use a sophisticated system with coding embedded into the policy number or include a combination of numbers and letters. As a result, the sequence may appear random to you, but have specific meaning to the insurer.

Can you use your insurance policy number to identify an insurance company?

Unless you are well-versed in the policy number guidelines of most insurance companies, you will find it challenging to identify a company by someone’s policy number. Sometimes companies use letters at the beginning of the policy number to identify the state of issuance, but the numbers that follow represent the policyholder more than the company.

What is the difference between a VIN and an insurance policy number?

Every auto manufacturer assigns a vehicle identification number to each vehicle produced. It acts as a code that explicitly represents the vehicle. You’ll find the VIN for your vehicle under the windshield, typically on the driver’s side. It contains 17 numbers and letters with specific meanings:

  • Digits 1-3 identify the manufacturer
  • Digits 4-8 identify the vehicle’s features
  • Digit 9 acts as a fraud certification
  • Digit 10 identifies the vehicle’s model
  • Digit 11 identifies the assembly plant
  • Digits 12-17 identify the specific vehicle after assembly

While you must provide this number when purchasing a policy, it is not the same as a policy number.

What about your account number?

Part of the purchasing process for an auto insurance policy includes providing sensitive information, such as your social security number and your bank information. Some companies may use an account number to separate that personal information from your policy information. Others may only use your policy number to identify all of your data.

The important takeaway is that your VIN will never be your policy number, but your account number and policy number may be the same, depending on the company.

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How do you use an insurance policy number after an accident?

If you experience a car accident, one of the first things you do is exchange insurance information with the other party. In no-fault states, you will file a car insurance claim with your insurance company to recover damages, regardless of who is responsible for the accident. However, most states adhere to the at-fault policy. In that case, you use the other party’s policy number to file a claim with their insurance company. Either way, you need the policy number to access the coverage and receive compensation.

How can you find your insurance policy information online?

Every insurance company offers online access to all the information about your auto policy. Familiarize yourself with your insurer’s website for easy access to your coverage information and policy number. You can use the website to file claims, make policy changes, and access your insurance ID cards. Many companies even have an app that you can download to your smartphone. You can print your ID card or save it on your phone for a digital copy.

Insurance Policy Numbers: The Bottom Line

Your policy number identifies your policy and proves that you have coverage in place, and may vary from company to company. Make sure you know where to locate it in case of an accident or a stop by the police.

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