Everything You Need to Know About Your Car Insurance Card

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You need a car insurance card to drive legally. It verifies you meet your state’s minimum coverage requirements and serves as proof of insurance if you get pulled over by a police officer during a traffic stop. And you could face penalties if you don’t present it.

Understanding your car insurance card ensures you’re in compliance with the law, protected on the road, and ready for the claims process if you need to file one.

This article covers what counts as an insurance card, the information it contains, and why having an accurate and up-to-date card is crucial.

How to Get a Car Insurance Card

You should receive a digital copy of your proof of insurance card when you purchase your policy. You can also log in to your online account to get a copy there. Print your card and store it in your car.

Alternatively, you can usually request your insurance card by mail. Some insurers automatically send you a hard copy — unless you signed up for paperless billing.

If your insurer has a mobile app, you may be able to access an electronic version of your insurance card. iPhone users can download their digital card to the Wallet app. The only state that doesn’t allow for digital cards is New Mexico.

How long does it take to get a car insurance card?

In many cases, you can get your insurance card instantly — as soon as you pay for your policy. If you receive your card by mail, it will typically take five to seven business days, depending on the insurance company and shipping method.

Why Proof of Insurance Matters


Proof of insurance is a document that confirms proof of financial responsibility — a valid car insurance policy that meets a state’s minimum requirements. It’s required in most states to legally operate a vehicle on public roads, and it shows that you can cover any potential damages you cause as a driver. You should keep proof of insurance in your vehicle at all times.

You’ll need to provide valid proof of car insurance in a number of circumstances, most importantly:

The term “proof of insurance” can apply to a variety of documents, as well, including:

  • Insurance ID card
  • Proof of coverage document
  • SR-22 or FR-44 forms
  • Declarations page
  • Policy documents
  • Binder letter
  • Digital ID cards displayed on an electronic device

Even when permitted to use digital proof of insurance, keep a hard copy in your glove compartment just in case. Failure to provide proof of insurance can result in fines and other penalties, even when you can prove you had legal coverage at the time you failed to provide your documents.

What Information Is on a Car Insurance Card?


Car insurance cards are the most common proof of insurance. You’ll usually find the following important information on your insurance card:

  • Vehicle information: Year, make, and model of your vehicle
  • Vehicle identification number (VIN): A unique alphanumeric code assigned to your vehicle
  • Policy number: A unique identifier assigned to your policy
  • Effective date: The start date of your policy
  • Expiration date: The end date of your policy
  • Named insured: The person(s) insured by and authorized to make changes to the policy
  • Insurer: The company issuing the policy
  • Additional drivers: People listed on the policy with permission to drive the vehicle but who can’t change the policy

What Are the Penalties for Not Showing Your Insurance Card?


The penalties for not showing your auto insurance card vary by state and range from minor to severe. Here are a few examples:

  • In Minnesota, as long as you provide proof of insurance at the time of citation (usually within 10 days), you’ll only pay a $250 fee plus a $430 surcharge. But failure to do so can result in a $200 fine and a suspended license.
  • In Connecticut, you’ll face a $50 license reinstatement fee after you show proof that you were insured at the time of your traffic stop.
  • In Nebraska, your license is automatically suspended until you provide proof from your insurance company (on company letterhead) that you were insured at the time of your traffic stop. The DMV may or may not remove the license suspension from your record.

Every state but New Mexico has laws permitting the use of electronic proof of insurance. But it’s always safer to keep a paper copy in your car. Your state may allow you to use policy documents to provide proof, including your:

Always check with your local laws to ensure you’re in compliance.

What is fake proof of insurance?

Fake proof of insurance is any forged or fraudulent document that falsely represents auto insurance coverage. Using fake proof of insurance is illegal for two reasons. First, the fake card represents car insurance fraud. Second, if you have a fake card, you’re probably driving without insurance, which is illegal everywhere but New Hampshire.

Consequences vary by state but often include:

  • Misdemeanor charges
  • Fines
  • Driver’s license revocation
  • Incarceration
  • Increased car insurance rates

Car Insurance Card FAQs

As common as an insurance card may be, drivers still have questions. Here are some quick answers to the most commonly asked questions about car insurance cards.

What if you lose your car insurance card?

If you lose your car insurance card, you’ll typically have a few options to replace it. First, try logging into your online (or mobile) account to access a new insurance card there. Print it and put it in your car. Alternatively, you can call your insurance agent or customer service to get a new card by email or mail.

Can you show insurance on your phone?

In most states, you can show proof of insurance on your cell phone. New Mexico is the only state that doesn’t accept digital proof. Unfortunately, you can get a ticket if you can’t pull up your card by phone (if your phone dies, for instance), so keeping a hard copy in your glove box is always a good idea.

Do you need proof of insurance to rent a car?

Generally, you don’t need proof of personal car insurance to rent a car (though every company is different). But you’ll need some form of insurance. You can purchase coverage through the rental company — if you have a liability-only auto policy, this is recommended since it won’t cover the rental car. Some credit cards also provide rental car coverage.

Does the proof of insurance show your coverage types?

Not usually. Your insurance card shows that you have at least the minimum coverage required by your state and names the vehicle(s) covered. Your policy’s declarations page will list your coverage options, limits, and deductibles.

What if you’re required to file an SR-22 form in your state?

If you’re required to file an SR-22 (aka a Certificate of Financial Responsibility), let your insurer know, and it will submit the form for you. Some companies don’t file SR-22s, so you may need to switch car insurance companies to meet your state’s requirements.


  1. Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes, “2023 Minnesota Statutes, 169.792 Revocation Of License For Failure To Produce Proof Of Insurance,” Accessed December 19, 2023.
  2. Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes, “2023 Minnesota Statutes, 171.29 Revoked License; Conditions For Reinstatement,” Accessed December 19, 2023.
  3. Minnesota Office of the Revisor of Statutes, ”2023 Minnesota Statutes, 169.791 Criminal Penalty For Failure To Produce Proof Of Insurance,” Accessed December 19, 2023.
  4. Connecticut General Assembly, “An Act Concerning Electronic Proof Of Automobile Insurance Identification Cards,” Accessed December 19, 2023.
  5. Nebraska Department of Motor Vehicles, “No Proof of Insurance Conviction,” Accessed December 19, 2023.
  6. Georgia Department of Revenue, “Acceptable Proof of Insurance,” Accessed December 19, 2023.
  7. Illinois General Assembly, “Illinois Compiled Statutes,” Accessed December 19, 2023.

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