When you buy an auto insurance policy, your insurance company will send you proof of insurance via mail or online access (like through a mobile app). Proof of insurance is documentation that verifies the legitimacy of your car insurance, meaning it just shows that you have an up-to-date policy.
An employer may ask you for proof of insurance if you drive to and from work or get behind the wheel of your personal vehicle for work-related purposes. To ensure your policy is up-to-date, your employer may continue to ask for proof of insurance on a bi-annual basis.
The easiest way to show proof of insurance is to keep a copy of it in your glove compartment, in your bag, or on your phone.
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When will an employer ask for proof of auto insurance?
If you get behind the wheel for your business, an employer can ask for proof of auto insurance. A policy that includes liability coverage is a requirement in almost every state in the U.S. and helps cover medical expenses and property damage you cause to others in an accident.
Many auto policies also include collision and comprehensive insurance which cover damage to your vehicle itself, and personal injury protection to cover medical expenses for you and your passengers.
Your personal auto insurance can also protect you during business hours, but this is not always the case. If you’re in an accident while running a work-related errand — especially if the cause of the accident is unrelated to work — your personal policy may still cover you.
But if you drive frequently for work, your personal auto policy may not cover any damage or accidents that happen while you’re on the clock. If driving is a part of your job, you should also be covered by your employer’s commercial auto insurance, even if you’re driving your personal vehicle (more on that below).
Why would an employer need proof of auto insurance?
Employees who drive regularly for work should be covered by a commercial auto policy, but their personal policies can also act as supplemental insurance; employers may ask for proof of insurance to make sure you’re fully protected by both in the case of an accident.
Business owners may also ask for proof of auto insurance to confirm that employees who operate vehicles as part of their job have the minimum auto coverage required for their state.
These mandatory minimums include bodily injury liability coverage and property damage liability coverage, and may include personal injury protection and coverage for uninsured motorists.
Employees should also be adequately covered in between policy renewals and when driving for work-related purposes at all times, so business owners may ask for proof of insurance as part of a regular verification process.
What is proof of insurance?
Proof of insurance is documentation that proves your insurance policy is legitimate and up-to-date. Employers may use this evidence to verify your information, including your:
Names of those insured under the policy. This includes you and anyone else insured under the active policy
Policy number. The nine-digit number that identifies your specific insurance policy.
Policy effective and expirations dates. The start and end dates of your insurance coverage.
Coverage amounts. Your coverage limits, premium and fees.
Your proof of insurance may come in the form of an ID card or letter, and will be included when your policy is sent to you. Much of this same information can also be found on your declarations page.
Many insurance companies even allow you to access a copy of your policy online, which can be printed at home or presented in electronic form in most states. Your auto insurance company may also have a smartphone app that allows you to easily access digital proof of insurance from your device.
How to show proof of auto insurance
The easiest way to show proof of your auto insurance is to always have it handy. This way you can display it to your employer or anyone else who might need to see your car insurance information.
Keep a copy in your glove compartment or work bag for easy access. If you live in any of these 46 states, you can also present proof of insurance electronically.
Commercial auto insurance
Commercial auto insurance is car insurance for vehicles that are used for work, whether they’re owned by a company or not. You should be covered by commercial auto insurance if you drive your own car for work or if you drive commercial vehicles like semi, food, or dump trucks.
Like personal auto insurance, commercial auto insurance offers liability coverage to protect you and others involved in an accident, and collision and comprehensive coverage to protect the car no matter who was at fault.
But commercial auto insurance also offers non-owned vehicle coverage, which extends protection to a personal car for business-related purposes.
If you drive for Uber or Lyft, you don't need to buy a commercial auto insurance policy, but you may need to supplement your personal protection with rideshare coverage.