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CAR INSURANCE INSIGHTS

Also known as a dec page, your insurance policy’s declarations page works as an easy reference page when you need to quickly check policy limits, deductibles, or specific coverage.

car insurance declarations page

The average car insurance policy contains a lot of information to keep track of and remember. When you buy a new car insurance policy, there are premiums and deductibles, exemptions and exclusions. All of those dates, rates and data can seem impossible to remember, and it is all too easy to confuse exactly what is covered in your insurance policy. Often full of technical and legal jargon, car insurance policies can be filled with terms the average driver isn’t accustomed to and does not understand, potentially costing you money down the road.

That is where your car insurance declarations page comes in.

KEY TAKEAWAYS
  • Every policy includes a declarations page, or dec page, which is typically the first page of your policy.
  • The dec page works as a summary of your car insurance policy, outlining the most important details.
  • Not all details or endorsements may be listed on your declarations, so be sure to review your entire policy carefully.

What is the declarations page of an insurance policy?

Also known as a dec page, your insurance policy’s declarations page works as an easy reference page when you need to quickly check policy limits, deductibles, or specific coverage. Like a summary page, it briefly lists out all of the important details of your coverage without any of the fluff.

“Think of the declarations page as a summary of the entire policy,” says Evan W. Walker, Esq. of California’s Law Office of Evan W. Walker. “Or think of it like a Cliff Notes version of the policy which is tailored to you and your cars.”

In addition to the existing coverage, it also shows any additional coverage that you may have declined.

How to find your car insurance declarations page

Your insurance declarations page is the first page of your policy, serving as an introduction to the more in-depth language that follows.

If you increase or decrease coverage, you should receive a new, updated declarations page each time from your insurance provider. If your declarations page is not included with your policy, you should contact your insurance company immediately to obtain a copy. Many insurance companies also offer online or mobile app services that allow you to access your policy’s declarations page.

What does an insurance declaration page cover?

Your declarations page includes several critical pieces of information regarding your car insurance policy, such as your personal details, vehicle information, and insurance specifics. Listed along the top, you should find your policy number and even previous policy numbers for easy reference.

Types of information on an insurance declarations page

  • Insured parties
  • Vehicle details
  • Coverage
  • Endorsements/riders
  • Deductibles
  • Insurance premiums
  • Discounts

Insured parties

Your policy will include all of the parties involved with your vehicle’s insurance. This not only includes the driver of the car but also any other secondary drivers, like your spouse or children. Some policies also list exclusions for specific drivers, especially if teen drivers live in the home.

If you have an active car loan, your lienholder’s information is typically included, as well. This is most often a bank or credit union. The name, age, and address is typically provided for each of the named parties. This is also where your insurance company and agent details are usually included.

Vehicle details

Your insurance dec page should include the following details about your vehicle:

  • Make and model
  • Year
  • Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

Your car insurance company may include additional relevant details.

Coverage

Your declarations page also details the limits of liability, with all of the details itemized for easy reference. It also includes the type of auto insurance coverage you have selected, such as liability-only or full coverage.

Popular types of car insurance coverage included on a declarations page include:

  • Liability insurance: This covers any damages or bodily injury that you may cause another driver.
  • Personal injury protection (PIP): If you or any of your passengers are injured, this covers applicable medical expenses.
  • Collision coverage: Collision coverage will pay for repairs to your car when you are in an accident with another vehicle.
  • Comprehensive coverage: This pays for other damages that can happen to your vehicle, such as theft or weather-related events, like hail.
  • Underinsured/uninsured motorist coverage: Some states also require that you carry underinsured/uninsured insurance so that your damages are still paid even if the other driver does not have active insurance to pay for them.
  • Gap insurance: If you have a loan on your car, it is important to insure the full value owed to your lender so you do not have to pay out-of-pocket if you experience a complete loss that pays less than what you owe.

Your insurance declarations page will include the policy limits for each type of coverage you purchase. Known as the limits of liability, this figure is the maximum amount that your auto insurance company will pay if you experience a loss. If you exceed these maximums in a year, you will be responsible for paying all further charges.

On your dec page, coverage is separated out by maximum limits for both per person and per accident values, such as $100,000 per person and $300,000 per accident maximums.

Optional coverages

There are also additional optional protections that you can elect to add to your insurance policy at an additional cost. Some popular options include:

  • Custom parts and equipment
  • New car replacement
  • Rental car reimbursement
  • Roadside assistance
  • Towing and labor

Endorsements and riders

Auto insurance endorsements, also known as riders, are additional types of coverage that you can purchase to better personalize your policy. On your declarations page, the endorsement can include a special reference code unique to your car insurance provider.

Deductibles

Your car insurance deductible is another critical piece of information regarding your auto insurance policy. This is the amount that you have to pay out-of-pocket before your insurance coverage kicks in to pay for a loss.

Insurance premiums

This is the cost of your insurance. Premiums are often broken down into monthly installments, although bi-annual and annual payment options exist.

The cost of car insurance is different for everyone, based on a number of personal rate factors like your age, credit score, and driving record.

Discounts

The auto insurance declarations page can also include any auto insurance discounts that may apply to your policy.

Some popular types of car insurance discounts include these savings programs:

  • Bundling
  • Good driver
  • Loyalty
  • Membership
  • Multiple vehicles
  • New customer
  • Payment discounts
  • Professional
  • Safe driving
  • Student
  • Vehicle security features

What isn’t covered on your insurance declaration page?

Because your dec page works as a summary of your policy, you will have to read further to find the exact details of your coverage. The declarations page will not dig into the terms and conditions or any detailed exclusions and restrictions that may apply.

“We advise caution in assuming that the declaration page is controlling in all circumstances,” explains Dennis E. Sawan, an insurance and personal injury lawyer at Sawan & Sawan. “Remember that everything contained in the Declaration page is further defined in the long-form policy and subject to a laundry list of exclusions. In simplistic terms, the declaration page tells you how much coverage you have, while the policy language tells you what that coverage applies to (and more importantly, doesn’t apply to).”

That is why it is so important to read the entirety of your policy and not just the declarations page.

Making changes to your car insurance policy

There are times when you may make changes to your policy. You may need to add or remove a driver, or maybe you purchased a new car that requires upgraded insurance coverage.

Whatever the reason, you should receive a new declarations page every time you alter your coverage to ensure that your policy has been appropriately adjusted.

Expert tips for understanding your insurance declarations page

For advice on your declarations page, insurance experts offer their best tips to help.

Check your endorsements: “The one other thing that isn't included in the declarations page but could be very important to the policy is any endorsement that the policy may have,” advises Jaime Arias, an actively licensed insurance agent at Dynamic Insurance Solutions. “Endorsements are documents appended to the end of a policy that amends or change some aspects of the policy. These are generally done after the fact and can include things such as adding an additional driver or an additional car.”

Understand what you are buying: “Let’s face it - insurance policies are not easy to read,” says Dennis E. Sawan, an insurance and personal injury lawyer at Sawan & Sawan. “They can be extremely long, seemingly contradictory and written in confusing legalese. The declaration page is important because it relays vital information about your insurance coverage in plain and simple terms. While it is certainly not a ‘one-stop shop’ for all information about your policy, it provides you with the important basics to understand what you’re paying premiums for.”

Consider state laws: “Every state has different laws of what coverages you are required to have for car insurance,” explains Haydn Sessions, Owner and Agent for Sessions Insurance in Utah. “For example, in the state of Utah, you are required to hold at least $25k of bodily injury liability per person, $65k total bodily injury, and $15k of property damage.”

Ask for help: David Aylor, Founder and CEO of David Aylor Law Offices, talks to us about the challenges of a declarations page. “It is a critical document full of jargon, which can discourage policyholders from reading it closely,” he explains. “If you don’t understand the terms, grab a lawyer or trusted professional to walk you through it. It’s better to take the time to understand now rather than try to make a claim later and find you’re out of luck because you didn’t read the fine print of your contract.”

Frequently asked questions

Is my policy declaration page proof of car insurance?

Your declaration page can serve as proof of car insurance, although an insurance card is likely more convenient to carry with you.

How is an insurance declaration page different from an insurance policy?

A declarations policy is part of your policy, serving as an overall introduction and overview of your policy.

When you receive your insurance declaration page from the insurance company, what should you do with it?

After you review your declarations page in detail, you should store your declarations page in a safe place where it can be easily accessed if needed. You may need it for comparison purposes when shopping for new car insurance, or you can use it as proof of insurance.

What if I can’t find my auto insurance declarations page?

If you do not have your declarations page or cannot find it, you can contact your insurance company for a new copy.  Most companies also allow you to log in online or use a mobile app to download a copy yourself.

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