Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • An insurance certificate serves as your proof of insurance
  • There are different ways to obtain your proof of insurance
  • Make sure and keep a paper copy of your certificate of insurance in your car at all times

Having proof of insurance is important. It can cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars for not being able to present your proof of insurance certificate if you are pulled over.

Whether you currently have insurance or you are looking to obtain car insurance, you need to have documentation of your insurance coverage.

You must have this proof if you have an accident or you are stopped for violating driving regulations.

If you need auto insurance, compare at least three to four policies today to find the best rates for you! Enter your ZIP code above to begin!

Reasons that You Need Proof of Insurance

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Proof of insurance is necessary for a number of reasons and situations. Below are some of the most important reasons that you need this.

  • It’s the law — It is the law to have proof of insurance in your car at all times. Even if you have insurance, but you are unable to produce a certificate of insurance when stopped, you may still have to pay the fines.
  • It can cost you — There are various fees associated with failure to produce proof of insurance if you are pulled over. You can check to see what the penalties are in your particular state so that you will know what they are.
  • To buy a car — You may be able to produce a temporary insurance document to satisfy this requirement, depending on the rules of the car dealership. But most car dealers require a legal document of insurance before finalizing the deal.
  • For your own records — You should keep a copy of your insurance card in your wallet or purse at all times, as well as in the car. Carrying a copy allows you to always have your information about your car insurance should you ever need it.

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Obtaining Your Car Insurance Certificate

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Getting your car insurance proof or certificate is not difficult.

One way is simply to contact your car insurance company and ask them to send you a copy of it in the mail. The certificate will usually arrive within a week or less in your mailbox.

A faster way to get the insurance proof document is to print them out from the internet. Most insurance companies allow you to receive these via email or online.

Once you access them through your online account, you will have access to your insurance cards. Then you can print them out and put them in your wallet or other location to keep with you.

Keep a copy of your insurance certificate in both your glove compartment in your car and your personal wallet or purse for easy reference.

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When Changing Insurance Policies

If you are in the process of changing your insurance policy, make sure you receive your documentation for your new policy as soon as the policy is issued. You will then need to find a place to keep it for easy reference so that it is always available.

It can be confusing when you are in the middle of making this transition, and it’s easy to get confused as to which policy is valid.

Throw away any old paperwork for your previous policy and replace it with your new one as soon as you get the notification that your policy is in force.

Avoiding the Gap


Here is one word of warning regarding switching plans. You should never change policies or drop the old policy until you have signed up for the new policy and signed the paperwork for the new policy.

You must also pay the first premium in advance to activate your policy.

Technically, your policy should be considered in effect once you have paid the first premium. But you need paper documentation in your hands to verify that you have valid insurance.

If you had to prove that you are covered after an accident, the paper documentation is your best bet.

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Online Transactions

We do so much online these days due to its convenience and the speed by which we can get something done. You can go online and obtain a new insurance policy in a matter of seconds and get your proof of insurance online.

But you still need a paper copy, because people do not always have access to smartphones or a desktop to check the status of your insurance.

Having a paper copy of your insurance documentation guarantees that you will have the proof you need to show that you are covered with the required insurance, no matter in what context you are asked for it.

The Importance of Insurance


Even more important than having your car insurance proof certificate is having insurance coverage.

Some people think it is a waste of money to pay an insurance premium. They hate having to fork out $100 per month or more to protect their car.

But stop to think what the result would be if you totaled your car and had no means of transportation and no way of paying to replace it. 

These reasons are why insurance is so important. Insurance can mean the difference between having reliable transportation and not having it.

Car insurance is there to pay for your liabilities, damages, and repairs that you could not afford to pay for yourself.

If you do not have insurance, you can assume that you will be paying for damages to others if you are at fault in an accident. Can you afford to do this without the help of an insurance company?

Now insurance companies have a large reserve fund that helps them pay claims as they come in. When shopping for an insurance company, be sure to check out the claims rates of the company you are considering and see what their record is.

Ask questions. Get quotes. Then decide for yourself which is best for you.

Start comparison shopping today for the best auto insurance rates by entering your ZIP code below!