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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Written by Chelsey Tucker
Insurance Expert Chelsey Tucker

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 Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: May 17, 2022

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The lowdown...

  • Utility bills are documents mailed to your address by county or city service providers requesting payments for services such as electricity, water, gas, and trash
  • Depending on your insurance company, you can pay car insurance bills monthly, quarterly, or annually, and they are often confused with utility bills
  • Car insurance providers are for-profit organizations with no ties to local governments whatsoever and, for that reason, are not considered utility companies

The average American household owns at least one automobile. However, to legally operate vehicles in most states, drivers must carry some auto insurance coverage. Insurance requirements vary depending on where they live.

As a result, car insurance has become so common that many households see it as a utility bill. It’s just something they pay each month while hardly thinking about it. The similarities between the car insurance bill and utility bills, such as gas, water, and electricity, may seem overwhelming.

If you have a car, make sure that you have auto insurance in place before hitting the road. If you don’t already have a policy, you can obtain a quote online or through an independent insurance agent. 

Before buying auto insurance, check your state’s insurance requirements. Then, compare quotes from different insurers until you find one that’s affordable and fits your needs. If you have ever wondered if car insurance is a utility bill, keep reading to learn more about car insurance and utility bills.

Is car insurance a necessity?

According to the Insurance Information Institute, car insurance is a necessity, not a luxury. You need car insurance to drive to work, drop off your kids at school, and do other activities that keep the household going. 

Drivers who go uninsured face many challenges from the state and everyday situations. If you get in a minor fender bender with some physical damage while driving without insurance, you could find yourself in a lot of trouble. 

Driving without car insurance can attract penalties such as hefty fines, suspension of your driver’s license, and even jail time. Of course, if you don’t have a car, you don’t necessarily need car insurance, but to drive, it’s a must.

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What’s the difference between car insurance and utility bills?

Utilities and car insurance payments should both be a priority when budgeting for household expenses. It’s hard to isolate car insurance into a different category from utility bills when you have to pay for it regularly each month. However, the two are hardly the same.

Insurance, in general, is a contract between an insurance company and you to protect against financial losses. 

Car insurance covers your liability while on the road and protects you from the consequences of property damage if you carry collision and comprehensive coverage or full coverage car insurance

Some additional coverages, such as rental car coverage and roadside service, can be added to an auto policy. The policyholder pays their premium monthly, quarterly, or annually depending on what’s agreed upon with the auto insurance company, in exchange for coverage.

Car insurance is a financial contract, and payments are your way of honoring the agreement. Auto insurance companies provide these services to generate profits. Thus, car insurance bills don’t fall under utility bills.

Though private companies provide utilities, the providers have to work hand in hand with city or county authorities to offer their services. Therefore, these services are considered utility bills.

Which invoices count as utility bills?

Many people have problems deciding how to label certain expenses on their monthly budget or accounting ledger. For example, only a few bills fit the term “utility bill.” 

A public utility is any service deemed necessary to keep a home operational and is available via — or with the help of — government entities such as city or county governments.

A utility bill is an invoice sent to your specified address, commercial office, or personal residence by the service company. Car insurance might also be billed similarly, but it’s not a utility bill. But, that does not make it less critical. You will still need car insurance to drive around.

Now, let’s look at which bills you might receive that count as utility bills.

Common utility bills include:

  • Electricity
  • Gas
  • Water
  • Cable
  • Landline telephone 

Typically, you receive each of these bills once a month. While you need water, gas, and electricity to run your home, cable and a landline telephone aren’t necessities. In fact, with a cellphone and streaming services, many people skip cable and a landline phone altogether.

Can your car insurance bill be used as proof of residence?

Car insurance and utility bills have a lot in common. For instance, both bills arrive through the mail or email and are attached to your residence.

However, a car insurance bill isn’t considered proof of residence. Many lenders will ask you to verify your permanent address when applying for a loan.

While some will only accept water and electric bills, others will also accept a telephone bill. Unfortunately, none will accept your car insurance bill as proof of your permanent address. 

The address on the car insurance bill can be easily changed by simply talking to your insurer or agent, which reduces the credibility of a car insurance bill as a verification document.

You won’t often have to show utility bills to verify your address. However, if you need to change your address with the DMV, you might be asked for two utility bills to confirm your new residence.

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Final Thoughts: Is insurance a utility bill?

Car insurance bills don’t fit the definition of a utility bill. While you can receive your bill monthly, your car insurance company doesn’t work with your local government to provide a service. Additionally, you can choose your insurance company, while you usually can’t choose your utility company.

Auto insurance is a necessary expense and not having it can attract serious consequences. Compare quotes from different providers when shopping for car insurance to increase your chances of getting a better deal.