Rachel Bodine graduated from college with a BA in English. She has since worked as a Feature Writer in the insurance industry and gained a deep knowledge of state and countrywide insurance laws and rates. Her research and writing focus on helping readers understand their insurance coverage and how to find savings. Her expert advice on insurance has been featured on sites like PhotoEnforced, All...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer Jeffrey Johnson

UPDATED: Mar 14, 2022

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Just the Basics

  • An insurance policy number is a unique number given to you by your insurance provider to name your insurance plan in their system
  • The policy number is necessary to exchange insurance information in case of a car accident, give proof of insurance to the police, and for your insurance company to find your plan in their system quickly
  • Every insurance plan has a policy number, and if you have multiple vehicles, they will sometimes have an insurance number

A policy number on an insurance card is a unique number assigned by your insurance company to identify your account. The number appears on your insurance card, bills, statements, and other documents about your account with the insurance company. It is a convenient way for the insurance company to quickly find all of the information about your account. It also saves you from disclosing personal information to anyone should you get into an accident or be pulled over.

If you’re an existing policyholder and want to compare rates, or you’re signing up for your first policy, you can check the prices of insurance plans in your area with our free online quoting tool by entering your ZIP code here.

Where can you find your insurance policy number?

The fastest and most common way to view your insurance policy number is on the physical insurance card provided to you by your insurer.

Typically between 8-10 characters long, it is also known as a policy number or member ID and is labeled as such near the top of your insurance card. Every insurance company has different layouts on their insurance cards, so there is no standard location for policy numbers. Speak with your insurance company or agent to get your number if you cannot find it.

If you have multiple vehicles on your plan, they might all be under a single policy number, or you might have a different number and card for each car. If you have unique numbers for each vehicle, it is common for only the last digit of your policy number to change. For example, if your first vehicle’s policy number is 000000000-1, you could expect your second vehicles policy number to be 000000000-2 if they are both insured under the same individual.

Another number that correlates with your insured vehicle is the vehicle identification number, or VIN, usually located underneath or near the insurance policy number. The VIN, unlike an insurance policy number, is a 16-digit number attached to your vehicle.

When your insurer sends a document regarding your insurance plan — whether a bill, statement, or service announcement — your name typically accompanies the policy number, address, and relevant information. Try to memorize your policy number to avoid digging through documents when you need it and don’t have your insurance card handy.

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When do you need your car’s insurance policy number?

Below are three common examples of when you will need your insurance policy number.

After a Car Accident

If you are involved in a car accident, you will need your insurance policy number for you and the other driver to exchange, regardless of who is at fault. This exchange will give both drivers the information they need when filing their insurance claims to their respective insurance providers.

Insurance companies will usually handle the rest by communicating to determine the correct payouts and fault involved with the accident. You should provide the police with your insurance number to file a report after an accident. A police report serves as a record of the accident that can be useful to the insurance companies.

When Pulled Over by the Police

If the police pull you over, they will require your insurance policy number to determine if you and the vehicle are insured in compliance with laws in your state. Keep a copy of your insurance card in the glovebox to always have it handy for situations like this.

When Contacting Your Insurance Provider

Whenever you contact your insurance company or agent, providing them with your insurance number allows them to pull up the relevant information regarding your account. It also removes the hassle of giving extra information over the phone and keeps the conversation quick.

What do you do if you lose your insurance card?

If you misplace your insurance card, insurance companies will usually mail you a paper copy. Today, most insurance companies allow you to print a new insurance card from their online service, making it very handy if you need it in a pinch and don’t have the time to wait for it to come in the mail.

Always alert your insurance company if you misplace your insurance card, especially if you suspect it has been stolen. They can make a record of it and protect you from instances of insurance fraud.

It is a good idea to keep two copies of your insurance card, one on your person and one in your glove box if you need your policy number. You should read this more specific article about what to do if your insurance card or temporary card has been stolen.

Exchanging Insurance Policy Numbers

After an accident, you want to get the policy numbers of all the drivers involved. Insurance companies print different designs on their insurance cards, and you might not know exactly where to look in an emergency. Snapping a photo of the other driver’s insurance card with your phone is a smart call. This way, you have the necessary information of the other driver that you can use to file a claim with your insurance provider.

Make sure to verify at the scene of the accident that you have taken a photo of the front and backside of their card and possibly written down their name and contact information if you need more information later.

If you are currently in the market for a new insurance plan and wish to save money, try checking out this informative list about where you can look.

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Things to Remember About your Insurance Policy Number

Every insurance plan has an insurance policy number and sometimes multiple people can share the same number if they are covered and listed under the plan.

Try to have a second copy of your insurance card available whenever you need it, and if it gets lost, make sure to contact your insurance provider to receive a new one immediately. If coverage lapses or you renew an older policy, your policy number might change. Make sure to update any record of your insurance number to ensure you’re handing out the current plan information and not an old one.

Lastly, if you are in the market for a new insurance plan, don’t forget to use our free online quoting tool to compare prices in your area by entering your ZIP code here.