What a Car Insurance Declaration Page Is and How To Use It
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Trying to understand a car insurance declaration page is often overwhelming. The insurance jargon and numbers typically found on these documents make it tricky to read, but it's not as complicated as it seems.
This guide will help you understand a declaration page and when to use it.
What is a car insurance declaration page?
A car insurance declaration page is a summary of your auto policy in one or two pages. Your declaration page may be a stand-alone document or the beginning of your entire auto insurance policy. It provides important information related to your policy, like:
The policy number.
When coverage starts and ends.
Who is covered.
What cars are covered.
The types of coverage you’re paying for and their limits and deductibles, if applicable.
A breakdown of how much you pay for coverage and any discounts you qualify for.
How to read a car insurance declaration page
While every declaration page looks slightly different, you can expect basic policy and personal information.
The rest of the declaration page outlines how you're protected if you need to file a claim. This part can get confusing, as it's scattered with insurance terms and dollar amounts.
Here's a list of common terms you may find on your auto insurance declaration page and what they mean.
Coverage types. You'll likely see an itemized list of several coverage types you’re paying for, like bodily injury liability insurance or collision insurance. To learn how these coverage types work, read our types of car insurance explainer.
Coverage limits. Limits are the maximum amounts your insurer will pay for a covered claim on specific coverage types. Limits are usually listed as a dollar amount next to each coverage type included on your declaration page.
Deductible. A deductible is an amount that’s subtracted from a claim payout your insurance company may give you. For example, if your claim payout is $1,200, but your comprehensive deductible is $500, you'll receive $700 from your insurance company. In most cases, the higher your deductible, the less expensive your premium.
Discounts. Your car insurance declaration page will include any discounts applied to your policy.
Premium. A premium is the price you pay for auto insurance. A car insurance declaration page usually shows a total six-month or yearly premium for your entire policy, as well as individual premiums for each coverage type.
Stacked and non/unstacked. You may see the terms "stacked" or "non/unstacked" on your auto insurance declaration page. You’ll see this if you pay for uninsured/underinsured motorist bodily injury coverage (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 cars under one policy (or across multiple policies your name is on). For example, if you and your spouse have a stacked UMBI limit of $50,000 on both of your cars, and you’re struck by an uninsured driver and need to go to the hospital, your insurance company may pay up to $100,000 for your medical expenses.
When to use it
An insurance declaration page helps you understand your policy at a high level. However, it's not meant to give you an exhaustive breakdown of your insurance contract. For that, we recommend you call your insurer or agent, if you have one.
You’ll probably need your car insurance declaration page when you:
First, buy your policy (to make sure everything looks correct).
Need a reminder of what coverage you have.
Shop around for a new policy.
Need to file a claim.
Take note: Your car insurance declaration page doesn’t 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 list all your coverage and costs, we recommend using it when comparing quotes with other insurance companies.