What is an insurance policy number?

6 minute read Published on Jun 14, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

What is an insurance policy number?

When you purchase insurance, you will need to sign an insurance contract. There are many elements that make up an insurance contract, and one is your insurance policy number. In order to prove that you have insurance and easily identify your policy to your insurance company, law enforcement officers, and more, you can reference your insurance policy number. To do this, you need to know where to find your policy number, which is what we discuss below.

What is a car insurance policy number?

A car insurance policy number is a unique number that is assigned to your insurance policy and your policy alone. The insurer and the insured will both be aware of this number. However, it is the insurance company that will determine the number, not the insurer.

Similar to how each person in Canada has a unique social insurance number or how each driver has a unique driver’s licence number, your insurance policy number will also be specific to you. This is the only way for your insurance company to keep track of your specific policy among the thousands or millions of policies they manage.

Insurance policy numbers can range in length depending on the insurance company. However, they are generally between nine and 13 digits long. In addition, the number could be made up entirely of numbers or include a mix of numbers and letters.

Does the insurance company issue the policy number?

Yes, insurance policy numbers are generated by insurance companies. The policyholder for insurance typically has no say in the number they receive. Please note that policy numbers are specific to insurance companies and the policy itself, so if you decide to switch insurance providers down the road and buy a new plan from this new provider, you will receive a different insurance policy number for that policy.

Similarly, if you purchase multiple policies from the same provider, such as an insurance policy for businesses and your first car insurance policy, each policy will be given a unique policy number. That said, if you aren’t purchasing a brand-new policy but simply wish to modify an existing policy, then your policy number will likely remain the same. For example, if you wish to add extra coverage or lower a deductible, your policy number should remain unchanged.

Where can I find my insurance policy number?

There are a few different places that you can locate your insurance policy number, which are outlined below:

The declarations page of your insurance contract

The first place that you can find your insurance policy number is by checking your policy - specifically, the declarations page of your policy. Also known as the “dec page,” this page is typically found at the start of any type of insurance contract. A car, home, and life insurance policy should all contain a declarations page that features basic but important information about your policy. For example, the declarations page will include:

  • Your insurance policy number
  • The type or name of the coverage being provided to the policyholder by the insurance company
  • Your insurance policy period
  • Your insurance premium amount
  • The legal names of the people and assets covered
  • The dollar limits on all coverages and the policyholder’s chosen deductibles
  • A list of endorsements included in the policy
  • Any discounts applied to the policy

Your billing statements

In exchange for receiving coverage from your insurance provider, you are required to pay a premium. Depending on the agreement, you might have to make payments monthly or yearly. Either way, your insurance policy number should appear on these billing statements. Locate your most recent billing statement to find your policy number.

Online via the website of your insurance provider

You might also be able to find your insurance policy number by logging into your online account, if applicable. Nowadays, most insurance companies give policyholders the option of managing their policies online. To do this, you usually need to create an account with a unique username and password. Once created, you can log in and review various details of your insurance policy, including the policy premium, term, and number. You can likely also modify your policy and pay your bills using your online account.

Your pink slip

When you are issued an insurance policy, it will come with what’s known as a liability or pink slip. Historically, pink slips were physical slips of paper that you could fit in your wallet. They contained important information about your policy, including the insurance policy number, as well as your full name, the type of vehicle you drive, and the name of your insurance company. Nowadays, pink slips are provided digitally in many provinces, including Ontario.

This means that you can store your pink slip on your smartphone, and it can be presented to a law enforcement officer as proof of insurance in the same way that a physical pink slip would have been. In addition, it contains the same information as a physical pink slip, like your insurance policy number. To download a digital pink slip, you usually have to visit your insurance company’s website and log into your account.

Call your car insurance company

If you are having trouble finding your insurance policy number using the methods above, give your insurance company a call. An insurance agent should be able to provide you with your insurance policy number over the phone.

Your policy number is vital in situations such as reporting an accident, getting stopped by the police, or when discussing your policy with your insurance company. It’s your unique identifier, allowing your insurance company to access your policy details quickly.

When will I need my car insurance policy number?

You might need your insurance policy number in a variety of situations. If you cannot provide your number when asked, such as when asked by a law enforcement officer, you could face a fine. Car insurance is a legal requirement everywhere in Canada, and you must be able to show proof of your policy when asked. For this reason, you are legally required to carry proof of your insurance policy with you when you drive, whether it is a physical pink slip that you keep in your glove box or a digital copy that you keep on your smartphone.

Please note that if you choose to keep a digital copy of your insurance policy on your smartphone, it is your responsibility to ensure that your smartphone is fully charged and that it is not damaged to the point that it makes your proof of insurance difficult to see or read. For example, if your phone is dead, the screen is cracked, or the brightness is not high enough, a law enforcement officer could charge you for failing to provide proof of insurance.

Generally speaking, there are three situations in which you will need to know and provide someone with your policy number: if you are involved in a car accident, if a law enforcement officer pulls you over, and if you’re speaking with an insurance company. Thus, the people that you may have to give your insurance policy number to include another driver that you were involved in an accident with, a police officer, and an insurance agent. We provide more detail on each of these situations below:

If you are involved in a car accident

If you get into a car accident, then you will need to exchange insurance information with the other driver or drivers involved in the accident. You will also need to give your policy number to the police officer who arrives on the scene, as it will be included in the officer’s police report.

If you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer

Next, you will be required to show proof of insurance, which includes your insurance policy number, if you are pulled over by a law enforcement officer. Whether you are pulled over as part of a routine traffic stop or because you committed a driving infraction, such as speeding, the law enforcement officer will likely ask for proof of insurance, along with your licence and vehicle registration.

If you are speaking with your insurance provider

The next situation that you will need to have your insurance policy number handy is if you are speaking to an agent at your insurance provider. In order for them to help you, whether you wish to file a claim, cancel your insurance policy, renew your coverage, or make changes to your car insurance policy, you will need to give them your policy number so that they can identify you and find the details of your coverage.

Learn more about your insurance policy number by contacting BrokerLink today

If you still have questions about how to find your insurance policy number, reach out to BrokerLink today. As insurance experts, our team can explain all kinds of important insurance terms, elements, and concepts, like the insurance policy number, reinsurance and double insurance, and if car insurance settlements are taxable.

Plus, since BrokerLink brokers know the ins and outs of insurance, we can also help you save money on insurance or file a claim and receive an insurance reimbursement.

Get in touch with BrokerLink to request a free insurance quote and have all your questions answered!

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