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: Sep 15, 2020

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Distinguishing between all of the different documents and understanding how they differ from one another can be difficult
  • Consumers are given quotes before they even decide to apply for coverage
  • Unlike a quote, the declaration page shows you how much you will pay throughout the term

When you buy car insurance, it is critical that you understand exactly what you are paying for. Insurance policies are not one-size-fits-all and can easily be customized to meet your own personal needs.

Buying auto insurance is a process. Not only do you need to compare pricing, you also need to understand what happens behind the scenes one your application is submitted

You do not actually receive official documentation until after the policy has officially been issued.

Read on, and learn about declarations pages, how to review them, and how they can help you on your mission to find the best bargains in the insurance marketplace.

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What types of documents should you know about when buying car insurance?


Distinguishing between all of the different documents and understanding how they differ from one another can be difficult when you are buying car insurance for the first time.

When you price policies and buy one, you will need to know that a quote, a declarations page, and an auto insurance ID card are all separate documents that serve different purposes.

Here is a breakdown of what each document is for:

— Auto Insurance Quote

An auto insurance quote is essentially a personalized estimate that will help consumers price the cost of insurance if they purchase a plan with a specific carrier.

This estimate is not guaranteed because the rating information can change if the policyholder provides inaccurate information or fails to disclose information that changes the policy risk classification.

Once a quote has been given, the premium will not be official or confirmed until there is an application submitted and until that application has been fully underwritten.

Consumers are given quotes before they even decide to apply for coverage. It is also possible for consumers to get quotes with their current insurers when they are deciding if they want to buy a new car, add new coverage options, or add a new driver.

It is possible that the quote premiums and declarations will not match, and this is referred to as a misquote. Misquotes are completely legal if the difference was unintentional.

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Auto Insurance Declaration’s Page

Once a prospective client has submitted their application for insurance, it will be underwritten. An underwriter is a professional who will review the information provided, verify the information by running reports, and then compare what is found with the guidelines.

If someone is believed to be more of a risk than they portrayed on the application, the rates could go up.

After underwriting has been completed, the policy is ready to be issued. When the policy is issued, the declaration’s page will be printed and sent to you.

The declaration’s page is an official document that shows you what you are insuring and what you are carrying on your policy.

Unlike a quote, the dec page shows you how much you will pay throughout the term and the figure is guaranteed unless you make changes to the policy midterm.

It includes the following information:

  • Named insurance
  • The policy period
  • The policy number
  • Mailing address
  • Physical address
  • Covered vehicle make, model and VIN
  • Coverage for each listed vehicle
  • Lender names and addresses
  • Listed drivers and date of birth
  • Driver assignments
  • Violation types
  • Chargeable accidents
  • Applicable discounts

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Why the declarations page so important?


If you begin insurance with a company, the declaration’s page will be sent to you right after policy issuance. When you receive this document in the mail, you might be tempted to just file it away without looking it over.

No matter how tempting it is, you should skim through the information to verify it is all correct and there are no errors that could present complications with the DMV or when filing a claim.

The document serves many purposes. This is why you need to know where it is at all times.

Here are some of the many scenarios where the dec page will come in handy:

Confirm Coverage

If you have had an accident or you have a potential claim, your declaration page is what you will reference to confirm coverage.

It shows what coverage you have on each vehicle and will always be updated when changed are made.

 Verify a Change Was Made Correctly

When you buy a new car, add a new driver, change the household members or even change your physical location, a change is inputted into the system and a new declarations page is mailed to you.

Use this page as a reference so that you know what is stored in the company’s computer is what is accurate.

— Verify Your Discounts

The only way to see what is driving your discounts down is to review the discounts on your declaration’s page. Companies include this to show you that you are saving money.

Verify Your Lender or Loss Payee

If your vehicle is financed, the lender will want to see that you have enough insurance to protect their asset.

This is part of the terms and conditions of your contract. Be sure that your lender is listed as the loss payee before using a dec page as proof of coverage.

The final use for your declaration’s page is to compare coverage options, limits and premiums effectively when you are shopping around.

The best way to find affordable insurance is to comparison shop for several companies.

Start comparing car insurance rates now by entering your zip code in our FREE tool below!