Life is complicated, insurance doesn't have to be.
Read time: 6.5 minutes
If you’re looking for a quick guide all about your insurance
declaration page, you’ve come to the right place! Read on for the
inside scoop on what your insurance declaration page is and how to
What is an insurance declaration page or “dec” page?
Your car insurance policy contains
an “insurance declaration page,” which may also be referred
to as a dec page. You can think of it as an in-depth receipt. It
summarizes what vehicle(s) your policy protects, the specific ways
it protects them (coverages), to what dollar amount it will
provide coverage (limits), the amount you need to pay
(premium), discounts that may apply and how long your policy
will be active (policy term). The insurance
declaration page may not always be the first page you see, so look
at the page headers carefully.
As you read through your insurance declaration page, you may
run into some terms that are a little unfamiliar. So, we worked with
the experts on our auto underwriting team to explain some of these
Car insurance declaration page terms explained:
Effective date: This marks the date from which
point on you have the coverages listed in your policy. Your
coverage continues for a specified length of time, which is
referred to as your policy term (more on that below). Your
effective date may also reflect the date a change was applied to
your policy in the middle of your policy’s term. For example, if
you add a vehicle to your policy, the effective date would reflect
when that additional vehicle will also be covered by your policy
Policyholder since…: If you’re an Auto-Owners
policyholder, you will see the year you purchased your auto
insurance policy with us toward the top of your declaration page.
That’s because we like to remember special things like that (Figure A).
Policy number: How your insurance company
references your policy in their systems.
Policy term: How long your policy will provide
coverage for your vehicle(s) (Figure B).
Important information about your policy section:
This is where your insurance company may leave you a note to
call out something about your policy they want you to know. Some
messages that appear here may be required by the state you live in.
Premium: The total amount you need to pay for your
policy. Depending on what payment plan you choose, you can pay this
monthly, quarterly or semi-annually. Or, you can choose to pay it
all at once, annually (Figure D).
Total policy premium if paid in full: The amount
you pay for your policy, if you pay it all at once. This will be
a smaller amount than the total policy premium, because when you
pay your policy in full you may qualify for the Paid-in-Full
discount (Figure D).
Discounts: An amount you may be able to save on
your premium payment(s) if you qualify. For example, if you go
paperless, you may qualify for our Green discount.
Description of item insured: This is referring to
what is protected in your policy. For example, the
vehicles included on your auto policy will be listed as “insured property.”
Item details: This is a list of information about
your vehicle, how you use your vehicle and applicable discounts.
Insured/Named insured: This is the owner of the
policy, the person that the policy covers.
Coverages: Your policy is made up of different
coverages. Each one details specific ways your policy may protect
you. You can find details about each coverage in your policy forms
This section of your insurance declaration page may also list
the limits that apply to each coverage that your policy contains.
Limits: The most your insurance will pay toward a
covered loss. Some coverages may list limits per person and per
occurrence (Figure C).
Let’s look at an example.
If your Bodily Injury coverage has limits of $100,000 per
person/$300,000 per occurrence, it means that if more than one person is injured in an
accident, your policy can pay up to $300,000 but no more than
$100,000 for any one person.
The “per person” is the maximum amount that will be paid for
one person’s injuries. The “per occurrence” limit is the maximum
amount that will be paid for a single claim.
So, if you get into an accident and one person is injured,
the policy will pay up to $100,000 for that person. If you get into
an accident and multiple people are injured, your policy will pay up
to $100,000 per person but no more than $300,000 total.
Rated driver list: Drivers protected by your car
How to read an auto insurance declaration page
The best way to dive into an auto insurance declaration page
is with the mindset that you’re reading a detailed receipt. Take it
section by section and look through the terms we’ve defined for you.
If you run into a question, reach out to your independent agent (they
love talking about this stuff) or your insurance company.
Other helpful terms to know:
When do I get my insurance declaration page?
You can expect to receive a copy of your insurance
declaration page and forms when you:
Depending on how you choose to receive your insurance policy
documents, you will receive them either by mail or digitally. For
Auto-Owners policyholders, you can access your
policy online anytime, anywhere on our website or by downloading
our app. You can also choose to receive them in the mail.
If you need to request another copy of your policy, reach out
to your independent agent or insurance company.
Is the declaration page the same as proof of insurance?
No, but lots of companies mail your proofs of insurance
(insurance identification card) with your policy. You will receive
an insurance identification card for each item included on your policy.
you get pulled over, the police officer only needs to see your
insurance identification card for proof of insurance, not your actual
policy. Depending on the insurance company, you may have your proofs
of insurance in the form of small, printed cards or digitally in an app.
For Auto-Owners policyholders, you can choose to have your
proofs of insurance mailed to you or access them online. To sign up
for online access to your policy and proofs of insurance, visit
auto-owners.com and click Sign In. Or, you can download the
Is there a difference between an insurance binder and a
Yes, an insurance binder is temporary coverage when you are
buying a vehicle. Essentially, it is the insurance company’s way of
saying, “We plan to insure your vehicle, but we haven’t drafted your
policy yet.” It is particularly helpful when you’re buying a vehicle
from a dealership, since they require insurance in order to drive it
off their lot. An insurance binder will satisfy that requirement, so
you can drive your new/used vehicle home. This is just one way we
take a No Problem® approach to writing insurance.
Do you feel like you just crammed for a vocabulary
We get it.
That’s why we work with independent agents. They make all of
this a lot easier. Since they’re experts with years of experience
in your area, they can make sure you are adequately covered.
*Products referenced may not be
approved/available in all states. Limitations and conditions
may apply. Premium will be based on benefits chosen and
policy rates available at time of application.
Disclaimer: This article is not expert advice. The
analysis of coverage is in general terms and is superseded
in all respects by the Insuring Agreements, Endorsements,
Exclusions, Terms and Conditions of the Policy. Some of the
coverage mentioned in this material may not be applicable in
all states or may have to be modified to conform to
applicable state law. Some coverages may have been
eliminated or modified since the publishing of this
material. Discounts may not be available in all states.
Limitations and conditions may apply. Premiums will be based on
benefits chosen. Please check with your local Independent
Auto-Owners Insurance Agent for details."
Copyright Auto-Owners Insurance Company © 2022. All Rights Reserved.