The car insurance declarations page explains how much your car insurance costs and how much you’re getting for what you pay.
When you purchase car insurance, you’re paying for coverage in the event that you’re liable for damages or medical bills in an accident. Auto insurance also covers you when your car is damaged, destroyed, or stolen.
Each of these protections is described under your car insurance policy. They are liability insurance (for bodily injury and property damage), personal injury protection (PIP, for injuries incurred by you or your passengers), collision and comprehensive insurance (for damage to your car), and uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage (for when the at-fault party in an accident doesn’t have enough coverage to pay your bills). The more coverage you purchase for each of the types of protection offered by your policy, the higher your premiums will be.
The car insurance declarations page explains how much your car insurance costs and how much you’re getting for what you pay. It has the amount of car insurance coverage you purchased in each component, any optional coverage in addition to that, and any discounts you get. The declarations page (also called the dec page) contains your premium, how frequently you pay it, and the deductibles you’re required to pay for each coverage component. It will also list your car, its make, model, and vehicle identification number, and its lienholder, if you lease.
You can usually find the declarations page attached to the front of your car insurance policy. If you don’t have your declarations page, call your car insurance company to request a copy. You may also be able to access it online. When you make a change to your coverage, your carrier should send you a new declarations page.
Declarations sheets are a common part of other types of insurance, like homeowners insurance, renters insurance, motorcycle insurance, and other types of property insurance.
Read on to learn more about what’s on your car insurance declarations page:
At the top of the page, the auto insurance declarations page will list the policy number, which will need to be referenced when filing a claim. Some dec sheets will also list your previous policy number; since you may have to get a new policy every six months to a year, this could change often.
It will also list the policy period, a span of months beginning from one date, the effective date, and ending on the other, the expiration date. These dates will each be written as a precise day, month, and year. Some policies even include a start time, usually one minute after midnight on the start date of the policy.
The auto insurance declarations page will describe the all the relevant parties to the policy. These people will be:
The declarations page will also include information about every car insured by the policy. This means:
The premium is the amount you have to pay during the policy period to keep your car insurance coverage in force. Your premium is determined by a number of factors, from personal characteristics (age, gender, location) to driving history (whether you’ve gotten a DWI/DUI or accrued other traffic violations) to type of car you drive and how often you drive it.
The most important factor in determining your car insurance premium is how much you’ll need in coverage. More coverage means a higher premium. For more on how your premium is determined, check out our guide.
The deductible is the amount you have to pay out of pocket when filing an auto insurance claim before the insurance company pays the rest. A deductible will be listed next to the relevant car insurance coverage types (see below), but not every component of car insurance coverage requires you to meet a deductible.
In fact, liability coverage never has a deductible, and for the other components of car insurance coverage you can usually choose the deductible you’re willing to pay. Offering to pay a higher deductible – taking some of the load off the carrier when you file a claim – means you’ll get to pay a lower premium. Typical deductibles are between $100, $500, and $1,000.
The coverages are what you’re purchasing when you buy a car insurance policy. Every state except two requires you to buy car insurance, and of those 48 states only Florida doesn’t require liability coverage. Some of the other components of car insurance coverage may be optional in your state.
In addition to listing each type of coverage you purchase, the dec sheet will list how much you purchased of that coverage. This is called the limits of liability, meaning the car insurance company’s liability to you. If you have $100,000 in coverage for one type of coverage, that’s the maximum amount – the limit – that the car insurance company is obligated to pay.
Your declaration sheet will describe your policy limits in terms of per person limits and per accident limits, sometimes both for the same coverage type. (For example, $100,000 per person and $300,00 per accident.) Once the carrier has paid out to its limit of liability, you’ll have to pay for any remaining expenses out of pocket.
If you have multiple cars, they will be itemized with each coverage amount stated per vehicle. It’s possible to buy less coverage for one insured car and more for another. You might consider buying less coverage for a car if it’s older and doesn’t cost as much to replace, but you should always make sure you have the coverage you need.
Car insurance coverages include:
Everyone has different coverage needs, and Policygenius makes it easy to find a car insurance policy that satisfies all your coverage needs while still being affordable.
You can purchase coverage in some optional components of car insurance. These may increase your premium slightly. Depending on the auto insurance company, some of the car insurance types listed above will be considered optional and listed as such on your policy declarations sheet. Note that if you lease a car, the lienholder may require you to purchase collision and comprehensive insurance.
Other types of optional coverages follow. If you don’t see any of these listed on your declarations page but are interested in adding them to your policy, talk to your car insurance company.
Endorsements, or riders, are optional, additional policy terms attached to your base auto insurance policy that enhance some of the coverage contained therein. Depending on the rider, it may cost extra to add one to your policy.
Your declarations page could include any riders you added. When it does, the endorsement may be denoted with a unique code used for reference by the car insurance company and the title of the rider
Sometimes endorsements are not included on your declarations sheet. For information about how much you’re paying for each endorsement and how it affects your coverage, you’ll have to find the terms of the rider in your policy. Sometimes they’re at the very end of the policy, but other times they’re baked into the policy’s terms throughout.
Every auto carrier offers car insurance discounts. These discounts will be listed on your policy declarations sheet, sometimes (but not always) with the amount by which they reduce your premiums.
Some common car insurance discounts you might see are:
When you renew your car insurance policy, you’ll be issued a new declarations sheet. All the information will be updated to reflect the changes to your policy: new premium and policy period, new discounts (if you’ve been driving safer, for example), new or increased coverage, any new insured cars or drivers, and any new endorsements, and so on.
If your premium has changed, sometimes the declaration sheet will indicate it with the percentage or dollar amount by which it has changed in addition to listing the new premium.
Car insurance policy periods typically last either six months or one year. If you’re looking to get a better rate, you can work with Policygenius to easily compare quotes from different insurers online. Have your declarations sheet handy to quickly compare your coverage.
Disclaimer: Policygenius’ editorial content is not written by an insurance agent. It’s intended for informational purposes and should not be considered legal or financial advice. Consult a professional to learn what financial products are right for you.