Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager Chris Harrigan

UPDATED: May 3, 2022

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Here's what you need to know...

  • When you buy auto insurance, you will be issued a policy. The policy number is your account number with the carrier that helps to identify your file with the insurer
  • You will have the same policy number for all of your vehicles if you buy coverage through a provider that sells multi-vehicle policies
  • When insurers sell separate policies for each vehicle that a policyholder owns, each vehicle will have its own policy number on your policy documents and vehicle identification information. When there’s a separate policy number on each motor vehicle, the files are still connected to ensure that the policyholder gets their multi-vehicle discount
  • When an insurer sends you documents, each document will have your name and policy number on it
  • Every company issues its own policy numbers. Some include letters and numbers, and others are strictly numbers

When you buy coverage, you’ll receive a thick packet of documents that details your rights, the terms and conditions of your policy, and your coverage limits. Each document that pertains specifically to you and your coverage will have your name and your policy number.

What’s a policy number?

Every policy that’s issued is given its own unique policy number. This identifier will never be repeated because it’s used only to identify the contract between you and the insurer.

If you need to call your insurance provider’s customer service line, they will likely need your policy number before they can do anything to help you. You will also need the number to file an auto claim or check a claim status.

If you’d like to know more about your policy number and where you can find it in your paperwork, here’s what you need to know.

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Is your policy number like an account number?

When you open up a bank account, you are assigned an account number that’s unique to you. No one else is given that string of digits. The same goes for a policy number.

Whenever an application is issued, the insurance company will assign the account a policy number that’s unique to you as a named insured.

It’s a reference point that your insurer can use to access everything from your coverage to your billing information.

Every insurance company issues its own policy numbers. In some cases, policy numbers won’t be numbers at all. They can be a variation of numbers and letters or entirely numbers.

The number follows a sequence that’s unique to the carrier. After a time, the sequence can change because a policy number can never repeat itself.

When do you receive an auto insurance policy number?

When you’re comparing quotes, you aren’t issued a policy number. At this time, the company may give you a quote or proposal number so that the estimate can be easily accessed.

When you apply for your coverage, the proposal number will turn into a binder number. This binder number still might be different from your policy number.

After an application is submitted, the information that you provide on the application is reviewed by the underwriter assigned to your file. The underwriter uses electronic databases to run reports and verify the information disclosed.

Only after the policy is fully underwritten will it be issued. When it’s issued, the company will assign a policy number to your file which can replace the binder number.

Where can you find your policy number once your policy is issued?

After your policy is issued, your policy number can be found on virtually every document that you receive from the carrier.

If you need your policy number while you’re on the go, you can find it on your auto insurance ID card.

In addition to on your insurance card, you can also find the identifier on the top of your declarations page, your invoices, and disclosures that you’re sent.

You will likely also have online access to your policy number if you check your auto insurer’s website or mobile app. Mobile apps give you quick access to basic policy service options without the need to speak to a customer service agent.

You can usually view your ID card for proof of insurance purposes in the mobile app as well.

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Will you be given multiple policy numbers for each vehicle?

Some companies sell multi-vehicle policies, and others sell single-car policies. If you do business with a carrier that issues one policy for multiple vehicles, you’ll have the same policy number for each vehicle.

When you do business with an insurance company that offers single-car policies, each car will have a different policy number.

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Does your insurance policy numbers change when the term ends?

Every policy is sold for a term. The term will either last for six months at a time or 12 months. At the end of the term, the policy number for car insurance will either cancel or renew.

If you qualify for a renewal, and you decide to continue your coverage with the carrier, your policy number will remain the same.

The longer you have the same policy number, the greater your loyalty discount.

How do you find your policy number for other types of insurance?

Whether you have a life insurance policy, business owner’s policy, or umbrella policy, your policy number can be found on your bill and any other documents from your insurance provider about your policy.

Depending on the provider, you may also be able to find this information online by logging into the company’s website.

If you need more than one kind of insurance, many companies offer insurance discounts for taking out multiple policies with the same company.

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What happens if your policy is cancelled during the term?

If you fail to make a payment, your auto insurance policy can cancel for non-payment before it is set to expire. When this happens, you have the option to make your payment and reinstate it or purchase coverage elsewhere.

If you reinstate your policy within 30 days of it canceling, you’ll have the same policy number. Any longer and the number will change.

Having your policy number is a must when you get into an accident or when you’re making a payment for your premiums.

If you’re not happy with the premiums that you’re paying on your existing insurance plan, it’s time to start a new policy through a new carrier.

To compare premiums through carriers, use our FREE online quote comparison tool. Enter your zip code below, compare the pricing for coverage, and choose the best plan.