How do I determine how much insurance is on a car?

In order to determine how much insurance is on a car, you can look it up online or contact your agent for a paper copy of your policy.

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Zaneta Wood, Ed.S. has over 15 years of experience in research and technical writing bringing a keen understanding of data analysis and information synthesis to reach a wide variety of audiences. She studied adult education and instructional technology at Appalachian State University as well as technical and professional communication at East Carolina University. Zaneta has prepared technical p...

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Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP®

UPDATED: Jul 22, 2021

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Here's what you need to know...

  • If you’re wondering how much insurance you carry on your current policy, you can look it up online or contact your agent for a paper copy of your policy
  • Your car insurance company cannot sell you less than the state required minimums, so you will at least carry that much liability coverage
  • If you only carry liability coverage, you should look into purchasing additional coverage options

To determine how much insurance is on a car you just need to look at the insurance policy. This can be done online or via a paper policy.

The real question is why do you want to know how much coverage is on a vehicle?

Is it one that you own and you want to be sure that you have an appropriate amount of coverage, or have you been in an accident and want to be sure that the person that caused the accident has enough insurance to cover your damages? Both scenarios are detailed below.

Be sure that you read below and then enter your zip code into the free tool on this page to compare car insurance rates online!

When You Own the Vehicle

Many insurance companies offer you a paperless option when you purchase auto insurance. What this means is that your bills and all of your paperwork are offered virtually online.

If you need new insurance cards, to pay your bill or to view your policy, you log into the insurance company website and you can view your information.

If you choose to go with the paper option you will still have access to your information online, it simply means that the insurance company will send you a hard copy of your information as well.

Often when you look at your insurance card you will see a group of numbers such as 30/60/25. These numbers represent your chosen coverage for liability insurance.

The first number represents $30,000 for a single person injured in one accident, the second number represents $60,000 for all injured persons in an accident and the $25,000 represents the amount of property damage that is paid out per accident.

This is not representative of any additional coverage, such as comprehensive or collision; it just displays the liability coverage, the effective and expiration dates of the policy and the name of the insurance company.

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When You Don’t Own the Vehicle

When you don’t own the vehicle, you will not be able to access this information as it is private. Only insurance agents and underwriters have access to this information through a national database.

If, however, you are concerned about someone’s coverage because they caused an auto accident, you can ask them for the information or contact your agent and ask them to find the information for you.

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In the end, if your agent says they can’t share that information and the individual who caused the accident doesn’t want to tell you what their coverage is, then you will have to wait until you get a settlement offer from the insurance company before you will find out what’s what with the policy.

Types of Coverage Offered by Insurance Companies

To start off, when you purchase auto insurance your insurance company will not sell you less than your state minimums.

Every state has different set minimums and some states only require you to carry liability insurance while others require additional personal injury protection and/or uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage.

When you use a quote tool to find auto insurance coverage, you will automatically be quoted based on your zip code, which will apply directly to your state’s insurance requirements.

This means that there is no guesswork involved in selecting the right amount of minimum coverage.

You will find that in all cases you will be encouraged to purchase a larger policy amount. Even if you drive an old car with little to no value this is something to consider.

The reason for this is that this basic insurance isn’t for you; it is to pay for damages that you cause to someone else’s vehicle. If you want insurance for your vehicle then you are going to have to purchase collision coverage.

Collision coverage basically covers damages to your vehicle when you have an accident that you caused. If the other person is at fault then their insurance should cover your damages.

If you are wondering when you should purchase collision coverage, the answer isn’t as simple as you might like. You need to take into consideration the value of your vehicle, if you owe money on the vehicle, and if you can afford the additional coverage.

Now, if you are financing the vehicle then you won’t have a choice, lenders require this type of coverage. If, however, you aren’t being forced to carry this insurance, then consider your reasons for the coverage.

If the vehicle has some value and you can’t afford to replace it without an insurance check, then this coverage can be valuable.

Another form of coverage to consider is comprehensive coverage. Again, if you are financing the vehicle then your lender probably requires you to have this coverage.

If, however, you don’t have to have this coverage then consider what you would do if your vehicle was:

  • Vandalized
  • Stolen
  • Damaged
  • Destroyed in a natural disaster

If you have an old clunker, these situations won’t matter as your payoff wouldn’t be much. But for a nicer vehicle, this coverage can be a lifesaver to the owner. Basic insurance doesn’t cover any of these situations.

You can also choose coverage such as rental car coverage that pays for a rental car while your vehicle is in the shop after an accident and roadside assistance that covers things like:

  • Tow truck fees
  • Key service
  • In some cases, the costs from the breakdown

Fortunately, roadside assistance and rental car coverage are both very affordable costing only a couple of dollars a month. Most people find that they can add this type of coverage without breaking the bank or their budgets.

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If you are concerned about the amount of coverage you have and you want to know what your options are or you are in the market for auto insurance and don’t have any yet, then it is time to use our free quote tool.

Our third party comparison tool allows you to compare the cost of different types of insurance from different insurance companies.

Having all this information in a single location makes the process fast and easy, and you can start now by entering your zip code!

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