Your insurance certificate is usually a card that your insurance company sends you in the mail upon signing up for an auto insurance policy.
Many states require that you maintain physical proof of insurance whenever you drive, so the best thing to do is keep this card in your wallet or the glove compartment of your car.
Your insurance company can issue you a duplicate card if you happen to lose it.
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Required Proof of Auto Insurance Under State Laws
In some states, you could face penalties if you are not able to produce physical proof of auto insurance, such as an insurance card from your insurer, even if you have the required amount of auto liability coverage.
This means that it is very important that you retain a copy of your proof of insurance whenever you drive your vehicle.
Laws vary by state on this issue, however, it is always best to be able to produce proof of insurance immediately in the event that you are involved in a car accident.
Even if your state does not require physical proof of insurance, this can help to expedite the process of filing and resolving your claim after a car accident.
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Penalties for Not Having Proof of Auto Insurance Under State Laws
The laws of each state are different regarding what penalties can be imposed on drivers who fail to produce proof of valid auto insurance.
States have steadily increased fines for drivers who do not carry the required minimum auto insurance because they want to encourage every driver to have financial responsibility in assuming the risk of driving a car.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners has been championing efforts of states to maintain and increase strict penalties for drivers who do not comply with auto insurance laws because they say it is the most effective way to make sure that drivers do not drive without the proper auto insurance.
For example, the laws in North Carolina tend to be the strictest in terms of penalizing drivers for not complying with auto insurance laws.
The National Association of Insurance Commissioners found that North Carolina had the highest rates of auto insurance compliance by drivers in 1989 with 96.6 percent of drivers maintaining at least the required coverage.
There are also more extreme penalties for failing to comply with state laws on auto insurance. Drivers may have their driver’s licenses suspended or revoked.
In certain cases, they can also face jail time. It is also possible that your car could be impounded for failure to comply with auto insurance laws.
The penalties increase for each subsequent offense and could make it more difficult for you to eventually get auto insurance from an insurance company.
Given that the cost of not complying with state auto insurance laws is so high, it is definitely worth the small effort to make sure that you have a copy of your insurance card. You should also retain a copy of your actual auto insurance policy.
Contacting Your Insurance Agency
Getting a copy of your current insurance information is a fairly easy task. If you lost the original copy of your proof of insurance, you can always get another copy from your insurance company.
The quickest and easiest way to do this is to call your insurance agent directly, who will be able to arrange to mail you another copy.
If you find that your insurance information is not up to date, you should be sure to fix any issues immediately. Many state laws require insurance companies to notify the state department of motor vehicles if a driver has canceled or not renewed their policy.
An insurance agency may choose not to renew your policy or cancel your coverage completely if you fail to pay the required premiums or if you are not honest on your insurance application.
If you are searching for your auto insurance card because you have an issue with your coverage, this is a prime opportunity to consider whether you should shop around for a better insurance rate.
If your current insurance policy has been canceled or not renewed by the insurance company, then you should act immediately to make sure that you retain at least the required coverage under your state law.
If you find that you do not have a copy of your insurance card, the best thing to do is call your insurance company right away to get an instant auto insurance card.
They can send you another copy in the mail, which you should keep on you whenever you drive. In some states, you can face serious penalties for not having physical proof of insurance if you are pulled over by the police or involved in a car accident.