Understanding the Declaration Page of Your Auto Insurance Policy
Posted on: 11Feb,2016
It goes without saying that auto insurance is one of the most important intangible items that you will ever purchase during your lifetime. The only tangible items that you get when you purchase your policy are a pile of documents and related paperwork, some of which you may be familiar with while others seem like a foreign language. Within every set of policy documents is a Declarations Page or dec page as it is commonly called. Other than your “evidence of financial responsibility” or Proof of Insurance and your ID card, this document is the most important one of the bunch.
What Information is found on the Declarations Page?
The Declarations Page is basically a summary of your policy and its contents. This page contains all the pertinent information regarding you and your coverage, and is laid out in an easy-to-read format (although some of the contents may not be easy to understand). Some of the information contained on this document includes:
• Additional insured, additional interest, lien holder, or loss payee (financing or leasing company that owns the vehicle)
• Cost breakdown or premium rate for each vehicle and coverage
• Description of vehicle(s) that is/are covered under the policy
• Endorsements or changes to the policy and any special conditions that are applicable
• Limits and types of coverage for each vehicle
• Name and address of the insured
• Name of the insurer
• Policy number
• Policy terms (date of expiration and effective date)
When you first receive your policy, it is recommended that you review it carefully and thoroughly for accuracy while keeping a copy of this with your personal records and other important documents. Your Declarations Page is issued upon inception of your California auto insurance policy or whenever you renew it. If there are any changes made to your policy prior to the expiration and renewal dates your policy will be revised. This revision will be reflected as an endorsement dec page once the changes are updated.
In addition to the information listed in the prior section, the Declarations Page will also contain information regarding the types of coverage that you are paying for. For instance, you may see the following codes on your Declarations Page, depending on the coverages you have chosen:
BI (Bodily Injury) – protects you and the assets you own should you cause an accident and others are injured as a result.
Collision – pays for damages to your vehicle that has resulted from an accident and pays regardless of who is responsible.
Comprehensive (now referred to as “Other than Collision” coverage – covers your vehicle and any damage to it should it be broken into, stolen, or vandalized. A deductible amount is required and must be paid before your insurer will repair any damages that resulted from these situations.
MP (Medical Pay) – covers any medical bills for treatment of injuries resulting from an accident regardless of whether or not you are the at-fault driver. This also covers you when you are a passenger in someone else’s vehicle.
PD (Property Damage) – this coverage pays for the damages to vehicles other than your own as well as any property that is damaged (e.g. highway signs, structures, utility poles, etc.).
UM/UIM (Uninsured/Underinsured Motorist coverage) – after liability coverage, this is probably the most important optional coverage to include in your California auto insurance policy. This coverage protects you and members of your family if any injuries result from an accident and the other driver is not insured or does not carry enough insurance to cover your medical expenses resulting from the treatment of those injuries. It is recommended that you carry as much UM/UIM coverage as bodily injury.
Whenever you initiate a new policy, make changes to your current policy, or renew your policy, your insurance company will e-mail you regarding these events or send you a hard copy in the US Mail. On a closing note, your Declarations Page is an excellent reference tool as well as being one of the more important insurance documents in your policy package. Whenever you receive one, be sure to check it for accuracy and to verify that everything you agreed to and wanted is included in your policy. If you have any questions, contact your agent as soon as possible.