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: Apr 13, 2022

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Key Takeaways

  • Your insurance policy number is a unique nine to 13-digits long number that can be used to identify your account
  • You can find your policy number at the top, near the center of your insurance card
  • Your policy number will come in handy when you want to contact your insurance company, are involved in an accident, or are pulled over by the police

Most of us don’t pay much attention to our insurance cards. At least, not on a daily basis. But if you’ve ever taken a closer look at your insurance card, you’ll likely have noticed an unusually long number near the top. This number is known as your insurance policy number.

Your policy number is your unique reference number and is unique to you alone. It is very important that you know and understand your insurance policy number on the card, since it is the key to your coverage, rates, and other important information. In this article, we’ll look into what an insurance policy number is, what it’s used for, how you can find it, and a few other frequently asked questions.

What is a car insurance policy number?

When an insurance policy is created, it is assigned a unique identification number. We call this an insurance policy number. You can find this number on all of the paperwork related to your policy, such as your insurance card and declaration. You can also find these numbers on bills and statements you receive from your insurance company.

This is a unique nine to 13-digits long number, and looks something like this: 

Car insurance policy number example: #1234567891011

On most insurance cards, the policy number is listed near the center. This placement will vary from company to company, but as long as you remain with the same insurance company, your policy number will remain the same. However, your number may change if you switch insurance providers.

A policy number allows insurers access to all of your insurance details, as well as your billing information and account information.

Insurance companies use your policy number to locate your account. You’ll also need your policy number if you get in an accident or want to talk to your insurance company about your policy.

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What do I need my insurance policy number for?

There are a variety of scenarios in which a policy number may prove extremely useful (and even required). Here are some situations when you might be asked for your car insurance policy number:

Contacting Your Insurance Provider to Change Policies or Details

Your previous policy number will be required when renewing your car insurance policy. This will allow car insurance companies to identify your account, but don’t worry if you can’t provide it on short notice. Even if you don’t have your policy number, other information such as your birthday and social security number may be able to help them locate your account.

Your old policy number is still required even if you plan to change your insurer and purchase insurance from one of the top car insurance companies. This helps ensure your No Claim Bonus (NCB) is transferred over to your new policy.

The insurance policy number is also useful for changing insurance details. Perhaps you have moved or changed your phone number and would like to update your policy information. The information must be updated by your car insurance company, in which case, you will have to provide your car insurance policy number for quick verification.

Immediately After an Accident

In the event of a car accident, you must exchange insurance information with the other driver. Among other things, this will include your policy number. Moreover, you should also call the police and file a report, where they may also ask you to provide proof of insurance (like an insurance card with your policy number).  

After the accident, you’ll need to use the other driver’s policy number to begin the claim process with your own and the other driver’s insurance company.

Getting Pulled Over by the Police

Whenever you are pulled over by the police, you will be required to show your proof of insurance, as well as other identification.

Proof of insurance can be an insurance ID card or other document from your insurance company. The insurance card or form displaying your policy number is the most important part of proving your insured status. It should also clearly display the effective dates of the policy, the vehicle it covers, and the policyholder’s details.

How can I find my insurance policy number?

Don’t worry, you don’t need to memorize your insurance policy number. Nonetheless, it’s useful to know how to quickly locate it if you’re in an accident or need to check your policy.

Here are some of the most common ways you can look up your car insurance policy number:

Insurance ID Card

You can find your car insurance policy number by looking at your insurance card. On it, you’ll find information about the policy, the policyholder (yourself), and more importantly, your policy number. Your insurance card also doubles as proof of insurance that shows you’re carrying at least the state’s required minimum of coverage. 

In addition to your physical insurance card, you may also have a soft copy in your email (such as a PDF file) that you can use to locate your policy number. The digital versions of this card are also known as digital ID cards and are accepted as proof of insurance on the road.

Alternatively, you can log into the online service center of your insurance company (usually a website) to find the card and your policy number. Some car insurance companies also offer mobile applications that allow you to access details of your policy directly from the app.

Contact Your Insurance Agent

You can always contact your insurance agent and ask for your policy number. Your insurance agent may keep copies of your policy information, and will be more than happy to help.

Visit Your Insurance Company’s Office

If you’re already near the branch or agency office of your car insurance company, head on in to learn your policy number. Be prepared to present proof of identification, such as your car registration and your personal details. After verification, they will provide you with your car insurance policy number.

What’s the difference between an insurance policy number and a VIN number?

In addition to your car insurance policy number, your insurance card also displays another number and letter combination — your VIN number.

An easy way to differentiate between the two is that a VIN number serves to identify your car. Your policy number, on the other hand, serves to identify your insurance policy.

VINs consist of 17 digits and characters. It can be found on car registration documents, insurance cards, or even on the car itself, such as on the hood or engine. Meanwhile, an insurance policy number is usually eight to ten digits long, and clearly labeled as a “policy number.”

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Can I use a fake car insurance policy number?

No, it’s impossible to create a fake insurance policy number.

The reason is because each number is unique to a specific policyholder. There is simply no way for a fake insurance policy number to pass through a database check. This number won’t match any existing records and will be marked as fraud right away.

The other, more obvious reason why you should not fake insurance documents is that it is very illegal to do so. Falsifying insurance cards constitutes fraud. Presenting a forged insurance card when you’re pulled over may result in a pretty hefty fine if caught by a police officer.