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When your proof goes poof

By Ryan Hurlbert on December 3rd, 2010

My daughter was in a panic. She was leaving on a trip in Oregon over the Thanksgiving weekend, and had been pulled over the night before for failing to yield. While she escaped with a warning, she realized she did not have her Proof of Insurance card in the car.

Oregon is like many states, and not having proof of financial responsibility (either an insurance policy or a bond) can leave you stranded. The police can write a citation and impound your car! She didn't want to take a chance driving over the busiest travel weekend without proof of insurance, but couldn't obtain new cards over the long weekend, either.

Printing proof of Insurance online?

We logged onto the company website, and while we could order replacement cards, they couldn't be downloaded or printed. Instead, we were able to print a copy of her declarations page, showing the coverage dates and policy number. It would be sufficient until her new cards arrive in the mail. Some auto insurance companies will allow you to print ID cards yourself, but many won't.

Proof of Insurance - keep it safe, keep it private

When you receive your renewal notice, your new ID cards are included. Since they usually don't take effect right away, it is easy to set them aside and forget about them. Don't yield to temptation! Put one in your wallet right away, and the other in your car as soon as possible. Failing to do so could cost you a towing fee, an impound fee, and a huge inconvenience.

One note on the declarations page: There is more information on that sheet than appears on your insurance ID card, like your coverage limits, other autos on the policy, and even your premiums and payment method. It is a good idea to keep this information private, so only use a declarations page as proof of insurance in an emergency, and don't leave it in the car.

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