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Reading and trying to understand a car insurance declaration page might feel overwhelming at first. The abundance of insurance jargon and numbers makes it a complex document to navigate, but it's not as complicated as it seems.
This guide will help you understand a declaration page, when to use it and how to read it.
What is a declaration page for car insurance?
An auto insurance declaration page is a snapshot of your auto policy distilled to just one or two pages. Found either as a standalone document or at the beginning of the auto insurance policy, it provides the essential information related to a policy, such as:
Who is covered.
What cars are covered.
When coverage begins and ends.
The types of coverage you're paying for and their limits.
A breakdown of how much you pay for coverage and any discounts you qualify for.
The policy number.
When to use it
An insurance declaration page can help you understand your policy at a high level. However, it's not meant to give you an exhaustive breakdown of the finer points included in your contract.
Use your declaration page as a quick reference guide whenever you need a refresher on what coverage you have, how long your policy lasts and how much you're paying. When you first sign up for a policy or renew an existing one, you must review your declaration page to ensure all personal and vehicle information is correct and you're getting the right amount of coverage.
Take note: Your car insurance declaration page does not serve as proof of insurance for law enforcement or the DMV. For that, we recommend keeping an auto insurance ID card somewhere in your glove compartment or on your phone.
Because declaration pages provide an itemized list of all coverages and costs, we recommend using it when comparing quotes with other insurance companies.
How to read an auto insurance declaration page
While every declaration page looks slightly different, you can expect basic policy and personal information.
The rest of the declaration page will outline how you're protected if you need to file a claim. This part can get dizzying, as it's scattered with insurance terms and dollar amounts.
Here's a list of standard terms you'll likely encounter and what they mean:
Coverage types. You'll likely see an itemized list of several coverage types (the ones you're paying for) with no clear definitions on your declaration page. To learn how they work, read our types of car insurance explainer.
Deductible. A deductible is a set amount that is subtracted from a claim payout. For example, if your claim payout is $1,200, but your deductible is $500, you'll receive $700 from your insurance company.
Discounts. Your car insurance declaration page will include any discounts you qualify for.
Coverage limits. Limits are the maximum amount your insurer will pay for a covered claim on specific coverage types. They are typically listed as a dollar amount next to each coverage type included on your declaration page.
Premium. A premium is the amount you pay for your auto insurance policy. A declaration page typically lists the individual premium for each coverage type so you can see how much that coverage costs for each vehicle on the policy. Premiums may also be summed, expressed as an annual or six-month total.
Stacked and Non/unstacked. You may see the terms "stacked" or "non/unstacked" on your auto declaration page if you pay for uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage , or UMBI and UIMBI, and have multiple vehicles on your policy or your name is on multiple car insurance policies. Stacked coverage means you can combine UMBI and UIMBI coverage limits for multiple vehicles under a single policy (or across numerous policies your name is on) if you need to make an uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury claim. Non/unstacked coverage will cover only the maximum limit listed for each vehicle.