Most of us understand that we need car insurance, but we might not always understand the details behind it. Purchasing auto insurance can be an overwhelming process and the industry’s jargon may not always feel accessible. With easy insurance purchasing available through online sites or through agents, the quick process can make the details feel confusing. Here’s what you need to know about insurance declaration pages.

To put it simply, a car insurance declaration page contains all your policy’s details in one place.  The form gives you a description of the auto insurance you purchased and all the necessary information related to it. You may also hear it referred to as a “dec sheet”. 

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The best time to review this page is directly after you purchase your policy. Insurers will typically send your declaration page electronically or through the mail. While it’s important to understand your policy information before purchasing, it’s a good idea to review a few days later once you receive your official declaration page.

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What Does a Declaration Page Contain?

All providers have their own individual format for a declaration page. However, they usually comprise of the same elements. The form contains all of your insurance details and is typically divided into the following sections:

  • Coverages – Details about which types of coverage you have will be listed here, including comprehensive, uninsured motorist, collision, and bodily injury coverage.
  • Deductibles – The amount you have to pay upfront, before your carrier steps in to cover damages or injuries.
  • Coverage limits – Your policy also has coverage limits and it’s important to understand what these are so you can be adequately protected for your personal situation. These limits indicate the maximum amount of money that an insurer will pay out if you make a claim. Limits include liability protection, collision-repair, and medical payments.
  • Policy Periods – Here you will find your policy’s term and length of coverage. There should be clearly listed start and end dates. Be aware that most policies expire at 12:01 am on the day of expiration. Shop around or renew in advance to avoid a coverage lapse.
  • Named insured – This is the primary driver of the vehicle. The address and other contact information will be listed as well as the policyholder’s information (if they are not the main operator).
  • Rated operators – If any other individuals will be driving the vehicle besides the primary operator (named insured), they should be listed here. This is an important section to double-check as an undisclosed driver may result in a claim denial.
  • Excluded Drivers – Those in the household who are not covered under the policy will be listed as excluded drivers. If they operate the vehicle and are in a collision, the damages will be out of pocket.
  • Loss payee – Any lenders or lien holders will be listed here when a car is purchased through a loan or is being leased.
  • Premium payable – Your premium rate can usually be paid either month-to-month or yearly. Ask about potential discounts for paying ahead.  
  • Vehicle information – All cars on the policy will be listed here along with their make, model, VIN, and year.
  • Discounts/Notes – Typically this section includes applicable discounts, driving record information (accidents or violations), annual mileage, car location, etc.

What Else Should I Know?

Read over all insurance forms to be sure that you are covered satisfactorily. A declaration page may only be part of your car insurance contract. Sometimes, privacy notices, federal and state notices or additional forms may be included. Look over everything before you sign. Ask questions and speak to your agent as much as needed. Knowing the details can prevent you from being blindsided in the case of insufficient coverage. Remember, you can always make adjustments to be sure you have the car protection you need and deserve.

Photo credits: Alan Cleaver, Phil Parker