June 24, 2021

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Understanding Your Car Insurance Declarations Page

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Say it’s been a while since you’ve needed to file a claim and you’re not entirely sure what the limits are on your insurance policy. Reviewing your insurance declarations page is probably the best place to start when you have questions about your insurance coverage. 

In this article, we’ll examine what an insurance declarations page covers, when you may need one, and how to get a copy if you don’t have yours on file. We’ll also give our recommendations for the best car insurance companies if you’re interested in trying to find lower rates.

To get cheaper coverage, we recommend comparing multiple car insurance quotes from top providers. You can get started using the free tool below.

 

In this article:

What Is An Insurance Declarations Page?

An insurance declarations page, sometimes called a “dec” page, is a one- to two-page overview of your policy. It’s found at the beginning of your policy documents and highlights the most pertinent information about your insurance coverage. 

Insurance declarations pages are given no matter what type of insurance you purchase, from home and auto insurance to renters or motorcycle insurance. An insurer will also issue you a new dec page each time you renew your insurance policy. 


What’s On An Auto Insurance Declarations Page?

Once you have purchased an auto insurance policy, you should get a copy of your contract and an insurance declarations page. This document gives you a snapshot of how your vehicle is protected, along with other key aspects of your coverage. 

There’s no standard format for dec pages, but they commonly include items like the policyholder’s contact information, the name of the insurance company, the name of a loss payee (if applicable), and the policy term limit. Here are some other things you may see on an insurance declarations page for a new policy: 

  • Your policy number
  • Your policy effective date and expiration date
  • Personal information and recent accident history of any drivers on the policy, including yourself
  • Make, model, year, and vehicle identification number (VIN) of any cars on the policy
  • The type of insurance you have (liability auto insurance, comprehensive and collision coverage, etc.) 
  • Any add-on coverage included in the policy (gap insurance, rideshare insurance, etc.)
  • Coverage limits
  • Your car insurance deductible
  • Your insurance premiums
  • Any discounts applied to your policy

One way to think of it is that a declarations page lays out the general gist of a policy, not a point-by-point breakdown. For example, your insurance declarations page may list that you have personal liability coverage and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage, but it won’t spell out exactly when to use these types of auto insurance or what damage is covered under each. 

A declarations page also functions as proof of insurance, which is something you’ll need to produce if you are buying a new car or wanting to switch insurance providers. 

If you finance a vehicle, your lender (also called a lienholder or loss payee) may require that you purchase full coverage car insurance. Your insurance declarations page can act as proof of coverage in this situation.

As soon as you get a new insurance declarations page, look it over as a precaution. Make sure items like names, addresses, deductible amounts, and coverage types are all listed correctly. Inaccurate information can lengthen the claims process or potentially invalidate an insurance claim.

After making sure your paperwork is correct, store your dec page somewhere safe and accessible in case you need to review your insurance contract.


What’s Not Included On A Dec Page?

While an insurance declarations page acts as a summary of your policy for informational purposes, it doesn’t spell out everything. For example, policy exclusions are typically not on the declarations page, so you’ll have to look deeper into your insurance paperwork for a more detailed list of when coverage applies. 

Common exclusions are things like using your car for business purposes or intentionally hitting something with your vehicle to get an insurance payout. Other things that may be left off the insurance declarations page are perks like reimbursement for rental car services or new car replacement if your car is declared a total loss. 

Double-check details with your insurer if something isn’t explicitly stated on the declarations page that you think should be. 


Where To Access Your Insurance Declarations Page

One of the first items you’ll receive when buying a new policy is an insurance binder, which is a temporary insurance contract until you secure a formal policy. It acts as a short-term insurance declarations page and can be used as proof of coverage if needed. 

Depending on your paper vs. paperless preferences, you may also receive a physical copy of your policy papers from your insurance provider, and a dec page will typically be at the top of the stack. Otherwise, you’ll usually have the option to print the page off at home. If you lose your insurance declarations page or need to update information regarding your policy, contact your provider and an agent should be able to assist you. 


Our Recommendations For Auto Insurance

If you’re shopping for car insurance, two companies we recommend are USAA and Geico, as both have great ratings for coverage and customer service. Learn more about them below, or start comparing free quotes from these providers and more by entering your zip code here:

 

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If you or someone in your immediate family has served in the military, USAA is a standout choice. Our research team rates the company a full 5.0 out of 5.0 stars for its high-quality customer service, wide range of coverage options, and affordability. It also holds an A++ financial strength rating from AM Best, which means it has a superior ability to pay out customer claims. 

USAA offers coverage in all 50 states but, as mentioned, policies are limited to people who have served in the United States military or have a family member with an existing policy. The insurer offers liability and full coverage options at competitive rates, plus it features discounts for things like safe driving, bundling policies, and garaging your vehicle on base. 

You can learn more by reading our USAA auto insurance review.

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If you’re looking for a company with less stringent eligibility requirements, Geico is an excellent option. The Better Business Bureau (BBB) rates Geico A+ for customer service, and we give it a Motor1 rating of 4.5 out of 5.0 stars overall. 

Along with offering affordable basic car insurance options in all 50 states, Geico rewards drivers for doing things like taking defensive driving courses and equipping cars with certain safety features.

Read more in our Geico auto insurance review


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