Generally, you would think having your driving license and a copy of your vehicle registration will be enough to hit the road. You won’t be worried if the cops pull you over for any reason—you have all your necessary car documents with you, right? Well, you are missing an essential document, and the cops may give you a ticket if you fail to provide that document when asked.
Vehicle insurance is mandatory in most states, and proof of financial responsibility or insurance is mandatory for all vehicles. Thus, law enforcement agents can ask you to provide proof of insurance, and failing to provide it may lead to tickets or even penalties. What exactly is proof of insurance? How to show proof of insurance after the ticket? Why is proof of insurance necessary? Here are all the answers.
What Is Proof Of Insurance?
Proof of insurance is a document that proves you have a valid and running auto/vehicle insurance policy that meets the basic or minimum liability requirements of your state. As mentioned earlier, most states require you to have an auto insurance policy which you can show proof of at any time.
The document has all the details related to the policy you have purchased. Depending on the insurer, here are some details that your insurance ID card may have.
- Name and address of the insurance company
- NAIC (National Association of Insurance Commissioners) number and policy number
- Effective date and expiry date of the policy
- First and last name of the policyholder
- Vehicle identification number, model, make, and year of the insured vehicle.
The proof of insurance generally states that you carry at least the minimum amount of coverage for your vehicle. It does not state the specifics of the coverage or the policy limits.
Why Is Proof Of Insurance Necessary?
It is not just the police or law enforcement agencies that may ask you to show proof of insurance. You may have to give proof of insurance when registering a new vehicle or renew your license to obtain a real ID.
Similarly, if you want to apply for a new insurance policy, the insurer may ask you to provide proof from your current or past insurer. The new insurance company would generally contact your previous insurer and get the details needed. However, if the company fails to get those details, it may ask you to give proof of insurance. Remember, if you have a lapse or gap in your coverage, you may end up paying higher premiums. That’s because a lapse or gap in coverage is considered a higher risk by insurance companies.
How To Show Proof Of Insurance—Important Steps
How To Show Proof Of Insurance?
First things first, you can easily carry your proof of insurance with you all the time. You can put it in the glove box or glove compartment, so it never leaves your car, and you can easily use it whenever needed. Similarly, you can keep it in your wallet or purse or even save an electronic copy in your mobile phone or similar devices that you carry with you.
Digital copies of proof of insurance are acceptable in almost all states except New Mexico. Apart from that, it is better to download a PDF copy of the document from your insurer’s website rather than screenshots.
How To Show Proof Of Insurance After Ticket?
What if the cops ask you to provide proof of insurance, but you don’t have it on you at that movement? In such cases, the cops usually give you a ticket, but you can appear at the court clerk’s office in person or write a mail to them with proof. By doing this, the “violation of proof of insurance” will become a correctable offense, and you will only have to pay a small fee to settle the case.
In fact, the clerk or prosecutors may even waive off the charges/ticket issued if you can provide the document after getting the ticket. Also, it is important to show up or write a mail to the court clerk at least three days before your court date. Here are the documents that you must bring as proof of insurance.
- The original insurance card that was valid or effective at the time of issuance of the ticket, or
- An original letterhead from your insurance company that specifically mentions your insurance was valid at the time of issuance of the ticket.
If you don’t have any car insurance when you got the ticket, it is highly recommended to buy one before appearing in court. Although it will not dismiss the charges against you, you can show the court you have rectified the deficiency—a gesture of goodwill.
What Are The Penalties For No Proof Of Insurance?
Generally, the cops don’t pull you over just to see your proof of insurance. They may ask you to pull over because of a traffic violation or any other reason and then ask you to show your license, vehicle registration copy, and proof of insurance.
If you don’t have the document with you, you will most probably get a ticket for driving without proof of insurance. The fines for this conviction may mount up to $2000. Apart from that, you may have to pay increased insurance rates until you get the ticket removed from your MVR (motor vehicle driving record) after 36-39 months. It is highly recommended to carry a hard copy of the proof of insurance. That’s because your mobile phone may run out of power or the officer is unaware of the new law.
Proof of insurance, just like a driver’s license and vehicle registration, is an important document to carry when you are driving your car. The cops can issue a ticket for not showing proof of insurance. However, you can provide it later to the court clerk, and the prosecutor may waive the charges.
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