What Documents Do I Need to Insure My Car?

Last Updated on May 19, 2021

In the new world of online car insurance quotes, you may think that you don’t need any documents to insure your car. Everything is digital, right? Not necessarily. Even if you get your car insurance quote online, you may be required to provide documentation in order to insure your car. You still might need to provide the following documents (or pieces of information) to buy car insurance:

Continue reading below to learn all about the documentation you need to buy auto insurance coverage and also how to submit this information.

Driver’s License

If you get a car insurance quote or policy from an in-person agent, they will ask for your driver’s license. This is about more than just proving who you are. They will use your driver’s license number to run your motor vehicle report, which is then used to determine risk and your car insurance premium rate. When getting car insurance quotes online or starting a policy virtually, you may be able to simply provide your driver’s license number rather than actually showing the card itself.

Social Security Number

Although there are some auto insurance companies that do not ask for your social security number (SSN) in the car insurance application process, the majority of them do. Your SSN is required to run a credit check. Your credit score is one of the major factors that determine your auto insurance rates.

Hawaii, California, and Massachusetts forbid car insurance companies from running a credit check before giving you a quote. Every other state, however, allows your credit score to be used. If you live in one of those 47 states, prepare to give your social security number to your insurance agent.

Proof of Insurance

Most car insurance companies require that you prove that you already have car insurance and are simply changing policies or companies. If you have a lapse in car insurance, some companies will not insure you, while others will only insure you with higher premiums or autopay. While some car insurance companies can verify that you have active coverage digitally, they will not be able to see the specifics of your coverage.

To ensure that you are getting the same or better coverage than you already have, and to prove that you have coverage, you should provide the insurance company with the declaration page of your car insurance policy. This page will outline the coverage you currently have so that the agent has a starting point for determining your new coverage amounts.

Voided Check or Bank Information

Most car insurance companies prefer that you use autopay for your car insurance premiums. Some car insurance companies require this, while others will give you a premium discount if you sign up for autopay. Unfortunately, you typically cannot do autopay with a credit or debit card. You will need to provide the car insurance company with a voided check or your bank account routing and account number before you will be able to enroll in autopay options.

Insurance Premium Discount Verification

There are a number of discounts that you may be eligible for when you get new car insurance. Some of the common discounts that are given by car insurance companies include:

  • Safe driver discounts
  • Discounts for good students
  • Completing a driver education program
  • Being a homeowner
  • Certain memberships or employers

If you are able to qualify for one of these discount options, you will have to provide proof that you qualify before you will be given the discount. This may include report cards, driving records, certificates of completion, the deed to your home, or proof of membership or employment. Your car insurance company may give you the discounts initially pending proof of eligibility, and then give you a short period of time to provide the documentation.

Sending Documentation for Car Insurance

If you get your car insurance quote with your local insurance agent, they will likely give you a list of documents to bring in with you to start your policy. If you take original documents to the car insurance agent, make sure that you request that they make themselves a copy. Never give away your originals.

If you get your car insurance quote online or by phone, you will likely have several options for sending in the required documents to start or keep your policy. Most car insurance companies allow you to fax your documents. If you do not have a fax machine, there are many websites available that allow you to scan and fax documents using your internet connection. If you do not have a scanner, you will have to go to a copy business or office store to have the documents faxed.

You may also be able to send your documents electronically. Some car insurance companies will allow you to log in to their website and scan and upload your documents. If you are able to take high-quality pictures or scans of your documents using your smartphone, this can be a great option. It ensures that your documents are received in a timely manner.

You can, of course, mail your documents. But doing so is risky. The mail is not always reliable, and it can take a week or longer for your documents to be received and processed. If you only have five to ten business days to provide your documents, you won’t want to trust this option.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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