Motor Category Motor: car insurance and finance

How to check if car insurance is in force

Whether you're borrowing someone's car, leasing a car or wish to file a claim against someone else's insurance, you must find out if the insurance is in force. Having a policy number and insurance company name doesn't mean that the policy is in force.

After all, an old automobile ID card can show the proper effective dates, but the coverage might have been cancelled. You'll have to do a little digging to find out if the car insurance coverage is still in force.

Check the policy term. The first and simplest way to see if the car insurance is still in force is to check the inception an expiration date of the policy. To do this, take a look at the policy declarations page (cover page) or the insurance ID card effective and expiration dates. If the policy term is expired, then there is no need to investigate any further.

Determine if the coverage was cancelled. Having the correct policy term on the declarations page doesn't mean the policy is in effect. You need to find out whether or not the policy was cancelled. The policy could have been cancelled for non payment of premium or other underwriting reasons. This type of cancellation information is automatically sent out to certificate holders, named insureds and additional insureds on the policy. If you're not one of the above, then you'll have to call the insurance company and ask.

Confirm the right policy number. Making a small error like transposing two numbers in the policy number won't give you the information on the policy you want. You may find out that somebody with a similar policy number was cancelled while the policy you are interested in is still in force. Be careful when writing down policy numbers.

Double check the named insured. Having an insurance company name, policy number and effective date for a car insurance policy is great, but if the policy doesn't cover the person who purchased the car, it's useless. You won't know if you have the correct information if you don't confirm the name of the policyholder (named insured) with the insurance company. This is especially important if the vehicle was purchased in a company name, and you have the information for a personal auto policy. Cars purchased and registered in a company name cannot be insured under a personal auto policy.

Contact the correct insurance company division. More than making sure you have the right insurance company, make sure you are calling the correct division of the insurance company. For example, Chubb Insurance Company has divisions called Federal Insurance Company and Vigilant Insurance Company, to name two. Although they are all under the same parent, they have different underwriting requirements. Make sure to call the correct division of the insurance company.


The best way to make sure you are calling the right company is if you can get a copy of the policy declarations page. It will provide the necessary information to ensure you're calling the right party.