How to Read a Declaration Page
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A carrier will send an insurance declaration page every time you sign up for a new policy or renew it. This documentation may seem long, but it can help you understand what coverages you have in place and the premiums you'll need to pay. In this article, we'll teach you how to read your insurance declarations page.
What Is an Insurance Declaration Page?
The declarations page is the front page of a policy that specifies the name of the insured person, their residence, the policy period and coverages. It also lists deductibles, limits, your user ID and other key data. Insurers informally refer to this document as the dec page.
An insurance declaration page is a document that provides access to a summary of your car insurance policy documents. Your carrier sends you a declarations page (dec page) when you initially sign up for your policy.
Additionally, the provider's declarations page summarizes your information, details about the property you're insuring and your coverage. It helps you to understand your coverage options and premium rates.
Separate policies (auto, homeowners, renters, life insurance, etc;) have different declaration pages that are usually included on the first page of each policy.
Remember to always keep a copy of your auto or homeowners declarations page in your records. If you have questions about your coverage, you can access it for future reference. Additionally, if you have any issues with your insurer, you can refer to the guidance listed on the dec page. It shows your different coverage options and covered incidents.
Dec pages differ in format depending on the carrier; however, each one shares some common content. In the next sections, you'll learn what each dec page section contains.
What Does Each Insurance Declaration Page Contain?
In an insurance declarations page you'll have access to the following basic information:
1.) General Policy Information
Your insurance declaration page should contain the following content about your policy. If there is an error, make sure to fix it using the proper forms.
Insurance Company – The dec page will also list the address of your carrier, its address, and contact information.
Policy Term – Each insurance declarations page clearly states when your policy period began and when it ends so you can renew coverage. Your dec page will list information about your policy's car insurance period. It outlines the day your coverage started (the effective date) and when your coverage expires (the expiration date). Get familiar with the set terms and conditions.
Insurers issue policies in six-month or one-year terms.
Car insurance renews on a monthly, six-month or annual basis.
- Homeowner insurance policies are effective for a year.
Account Information – This document will include your policy number, the policy period, user ID and billing details.
2.) Relevant Parties on the Policy
Each declarations page has a list of relevant people who are included in or excluded from coverage.
Insured People – At the top, you'll find the names, ages, and addresses of each person insured under the policy. You'll also find their user ID. Insurers call this list "the policyholders."
Excluded Drivers or Residents – A dec page may list the names of household drivers excluded from coverage. You should never exclude another driver who may borrow your car. It may be a good idea to exclude people who are high-risk drivers, teenagers, or who aren't allowed to use your vehicle to keep your premium rates low. If you rent out a portion of your home, you should list excluded renters because they live with you and may appear on your declarations page.
Agent's Name – Your declarations page will list the name of your insurance agent. A good insurance agent reviews all lines in a declarations page with their client.
Loss Payees (Lienholders) – These are individuals or institutions that have an interest in your property. For instance, if you purchased your vehicle with a car loan, your bank or lender would have a vested interest in your car. Your car insurance declarations page would include their name, address and contact information. It will list your mortgage, lender or banking lienholders.
3.) Property Covered Under Your Policy Number
Your car or homeowners' dec page will contain information about each piece of property (homes, vehicles or a special device, like a telematics device, if you have one).
An auto insurance dec page should list every insured vehicle's year, make and model. It will also list the vehicle identification number (VIN), a unique 17-digit code given to every new car. In no-fault states, it will include personal injury protection coverage. Your home or garaging address should appear on the dec page.
A homeowner's declaration page will list a description of the location of the house, its type and address. This documentation may also list unattached structures, like sheds or garages.
Your declaration page will list the coverage you have, along with the premium rates. This content should be listed in the middle of your page. Your carrier will list the cost associated with each coverage (your premium).
Almost every state requires car insurance. Your insurance will have to meet the required coverage for your areas. Each dec page contains an itemized list of exact coverage of each vehicle on your policy, along with the premium rate.
Liability Coverage – It provides coverage for damages that you cause to another driver in an accident. It includes bodily injury liability (which covers medical expenses) and property damage liability (which covers vehicle damages) of another driver.
Personal Injury Protection – This insurance covers medical expenses you cause to yourself or your passengers.
Collision coverage – This coverage pays to repair your car when it's involved in a collision with another vehicle or accident.
Comprehensive coverage – It covers repair bills when your car is damaged or totaled in a non-collision incident. It includes natural disasters, vandalism and theft.
Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage – It provides coverage for your medical bills and damages when a driver with little or no coverage damages it.
Gap insurance – It pays the gap between your car insurance settlement and the remaining portion of your car loan when your vehicle is totaled or stolen.
A homeowners insurance policy will contain the following list of coverages on your home.
Coverage A (Dwelling) – Coverage covers damages to your home.
Coverage B (Other Structures) – Covers other structures on your premises (like sheds) that aren't attached to your house.
Coverage C (Personal Property) – Covers damage to personal items in your home.
Coverage D (Loss of Use) – Pays for food, hotel, or lodging when your home undergoes repairs for a covered claim.
Coverage E (Personal Liability) – Pays for accidents that take place on your premises, along with legal fees.
Coverage F (Medical Payments) – Covers the medical costs of people who get injured on your premises.
Your policy's declarations page will also include data about your premiums, which is how much money you pay for coverage. The dec page also indicates the ways you should pay your premiums (monthly, every six months, annually).
The premium is the amount of money you pay for your coverage. When you have multiple cars on your policy, it will list an itemized rate for every vehicle. You'll also get a breakdown for each type of product you selected in addition to the total cost.
You'll also see payment options, such as auto-pay, credit cards and the like.
6.) Coverage Limits
Your declarations page will contain certain coverage limits. For instance, you may see daily or per-use limits listed on your page. Car insurance is usually expressed in a 3-tier limit system. For instance, 30 / 50 / 20:
30 stands for the maximum amount ($30,000) that your carrier will pay toward injury-related expenses per person.
50 stands for the highest amount ($50,000) that an insurer will pay per incident.
15 stands for the maximum coverage limit ($15,000) that an insurance company will pay in property damages per incident.
Check with your state government's site for a reference of the coverages you should obtain for your vehicle or house. Buying more than the minimum is always a good way to save money if something were to happen to your most expensive assets.
Your deductible is the amount you agree to pay whenever you file a claim with the insurer. Deductibles are usually common for comprehensive and collision coverage. A deductible can vary from $100 to $1,000.
Discounts are cost savings that a carrier offers to reduce premium rates. After the policy information, you'll see any discounts that apply to your account. Your insurance carrier must list discounts on the car insurance declaration page of your policy jacket or else they may not apply.
Discounts vary from insurer to insurer so make sure to make use of all of them as they apply to the drivers listed on your car insurance. Some discounts include military, good student discount, multi-car discount, multi-policy discount, low-mileage discount, good-driver discount and mature driver discount. If you don't see any discounts, contact your insurer to find out if you are eligible for them.
9.) Special Equipment or Non-Factory Equipment
If you have exotic customs: pricey wheels, wheel accessories, spoilers and the like, these are often considered special equipment. If these parts are stolen or damaged, you want to be covered for them, so look for these items in the section called Special Equipment.
If you don't see these parts listed anywhere on your declaration page, contact your agent ASAP. These items will only be covered by comprehensive insurance if stolen and if they are listed on your declaration page.
10.) Insurance Policy Forms/Endorsements
In this section, some providers require special forms to provide proof of homeownership (for instance forms related to mortgages) or other documentation of your original policy.
What May Not Be Listed on Your Insurance Dec Page?
Your insurance declarations page will not explain your auto policy in detail. It is just a summary of the coverage that you have. It won't list the policy's definitions, terms, coverages or exclusions. Read your insurance policy for more details about the contract you have with your carrier.
How to Access Your Insurance Declarations Page
Insurance companies will give you a copy of your declarations page when you renew your coverage. You can access this documentation at the beginning of your car insurance policy.
Additionally, you can contact your insurer if you need a copy of this page. You can also access an electronic copy from your insurer's official site or online app for copies of your policy. You can speak with a local agent if you have any questions about your coverage.
When Will You Need Your Auto Insurance Coverage?
You'll need this page as proof of insurance after you've purchased a car. The business will fax your insurance declarations page to the dealership. You'll also need this policy when you purchase your tags, register your car or file a claim. That's why it's best to keep your documents in a safe place.
Do you need more affordable coverage for your home or car? SmartFinancial has online insurance comparison tools that can help you get the best coverage from top carriers within your area. Just enter your zip code, and we'll get you a free quote from local insurance companies within your area. You'll also be paired with an insurance agent. Remember, a good agent reviews the declarations page and each insurance product you purchase!