July 22, 2011

Why Your Auto Insurance Policy Documents Need To Be Precise

Drivers often discount the importance of proof of insurance policy documents. Many drivers carry documents that are out of date, especially in the weeks following a renewal period. Online auto insurance buyers often forget to print off new insurance cards or carry documents with out-of-date information. This can be problematic, because legally, drivers are required to keep their policy documents precise and up to date. Doing otherwise can result in fines or complicated insurance situations. Here's an overview of the possible dangers.

If a driver doesn't have up-to-date policy documents, his or her policy number might be inaccurate. While most auto insurance companies keep the same policy number after a renewal, there are situations in which a policy number could change; for instance, if a policy is canceled and then restarted. Having imprecise policy documents with a wrong policy number can be more dangerous than driving without any sort of proof of insurance, as the inaccurate policy number could cause delays in payouts or even accusations of fraud. Some policy cards show the amount of coverage that a driver is buying, and having imprecise documents after a major update to coverage will undoubtedly cause issues with a claim. Having inaccurate policy info can also make a claim more complex for other drivers involved in an accident, who will often be annoyed or suspicious of an out-of-date proof of insurance card.

What's more, police officers may issue a ticket to drivers for using imprecise policy documents. An expired proof of auto insurance can be particularly damaging in this respect; while some police officers will take the time to check that a driver has up to date insurance when given inaccurate info, many will simply write the driver a citation for driving without proof of insurance. For the driver, this means lost money and a trip to the police station to prove ownership of insurance at a later date.

By law, car insurance companies give proof of insurance after each policy renewal, including temporary cards when a driver first purchases a policy. Whether these documents are issued through online auto insurance company websites or through the mail makes no difference; it's the driver's responsibility to keep coverage up to date and accurate. Drivers should take every possible step to drive with the correct policy documents, and during each renewal period, drivers should mark the date of the end of a policy's period to remember to update information. Regardless of how a driver buys his or her auto insurance policy and the level of coverage on said policy, keeping updated policy documents is an important part of staying safe on the road.