How to find out if someone has auto insurance coverage

The easiest way to find out if someone has auto insurance is to ask directly, but you can also go through the police, the DMV, or your own insurance company to find someone else’s insurance information.

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By 

Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

Published January 21, 2022 | 4 min read

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Being in a car accident can be an overwhelming experience — it can be hard to remember all of the things you need to do in the moment, like taking pictures of the accident and documenting important information like license plate numbers.

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One of the most important things to remember in an accident is to exchange car insurance information, but what happens if the other driver refuses to provide it, or worse, drove away from the scene in a hit-and-run? Is it possible to find someone else’s insurance information if they don’t want to give it to you?

Key takeaways

  • There are a few ways to find out if someone has auto insurance, including filing a police request, going through the DMV, using your auto insurance company, and asking them directly.

  • If someone won’t give you their insurance information, make sure you have some identifying information such as their license plate or driver’s license number so you can track it down later.

  • There are several coverages that can help you if you are hit by an uninsured driver, including uninsured motorist coverage, PIP, MedPay, and collision coverage.

How to find out if someone has auto insurance coverage

There are several ways to find someone else’s insurance information after a car accident:

1. Ask them for their policy information

The stress of being in a car accident can make some people forgetful, but most drivers have car insurance for exactly this situation. It is possible someone who is a little bewildered after an accident might simply forget to share their insurance information, so it is a good idea to ask them for it if they don’t automatically provide it.

Remember to stay calm and be ready to give them your insurance information as well. Emotions can be tense after an accident and you don’t want to create an unnecessary conflict if you can avoid it.

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2. File a police request

If the other driver is unwilling or unable to give you their insurance information, make sure you have as many identifying details as possible (their name, their license plate, the make and model of their car, etc.) and provide it to the police when you file an accident report. Once they have a record of the accident they help you find the other driver’s insurance information.

3. Go through the DMV

The DMV can’t give information to just anyone, but if you can show a police report and any other documentation that shows you were involved in the accident they can give you the insurance information for the other driver. Each state has different rules and regulations, so call ahead and find out exactly what they will need from you before you make an appointment.

→ Learn more about contacting the DMV

4. Go through your auto insurance company

Your car insurance company doesn’t want to pay your insurance claim if you were not at fault for the accident. If you can provide your insurance company with the accident report and at least some of the other driver’s identifying information, they will do their best to find the other driver’s insurance policy so their liability coverage can be used to pay for your damages.

What should you do if the other person doesn’t have auto insurance?

If you have to go through the police, the DMV, or your auto insurance company to find the other driver’s insurance information, be prepared to find out that the other driver doesn’t have insurance. 

According to the Insurance Research Council, 12.6% of drivers in the U.S. were uninsured in 2019, which means someone who doesn’t give you their car insurance information quite possibly doesn’t have any. [1]

There are a variety of car insurance coverages you can purchase that help protect you in the event that you are hit by an uninsured driver, including:

Uninsured motorist coverage

Uninsured motorist (UM) coverage helps pay your medical bills if you are injured in an accident and the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance. It is set at the same limits as your bodily injury liability coverage, which means having higher levels of liability insurance offers you more coverage if you are hit by an uninsured motorist or a hit-and-run driver.

UM is an optional coverage in most states, so if you want to be protected from uninsured drivers you need to make sure your insurance policy includes UM coverage.

→ Learn more about uninsured motorist coverage

Personal injury protection and MedPay

Personal injury protection (PIP) and MedPay are both coverages you can purchase to pay for some of your medical expenses in an accident, no matter who is at fault. PIP is a required coverage in some states, but some other states offer either PIP or MedPay as an optional coverage.

MedPay is usually sold in smaller amounts, sometimes as little as $2,000, and designed to cover small medical bills or your health insurance deductibles and copays. PIP is usually sold in larger amounts and is designed to help you avoid filing a claim with the other driver’s insurance to get your medical bills paid.

→ Learn more about no-fault states vs. at-fault states

Collision coverage

Commonly considered part of a full coverage policy, collision insurance covers the costs if your car is damaged in an accident, no matter who is at fault. If you are hit by a driver who doesn’t have insurance, collision coverage will pay to repair or replace your vehicle, minus the cost of your deductible.

Collision only covers damage caused in an accident. If your car is damaged in another way (fire, theft, flood, etc.) that would be covered by your comprehensive coverage. Unless your car is leased or financed, both collision and comprehensive coverage are optional.

→ Learn more about collision coverage

Frequently asked questions

Can I get the other driver’s information in a hit-and-run?

Getting insurance information after a hit-and-run is difficult, but not impossible. The other driver may not have stuck around to trade insurance cards, but if you got their license plate number or other identifying information it is possible to get their insurance information through the police or the DMV.

Can you look up someone else’s insurance policy?

It is possible to look up another driver’s insurance information as long as you have a valid reason. For example, if you filed an incident report for a car accident the police or your insurance company will likely help you get the other driver’s insurance information if they didn’t provide it at the time of the accident.

What should I do if someone refuses to give insurance details?

If you are in an accident and the other driver refuses to give you their insurance details, the first step is to call the police (if you haven’t already) and file an incident report. You should also document as much information as you can about the other driver, including their license plate, make and model of their car, and their driver’s license information. This will make it easier to track down their insurance information after the fact.