Identifying a Car Insurance Company Using a Policy Number [Expert Advice]

Identifying a car insurance company using a policy number can come in handy if you're involved in a car accident with a driver who gives you incomplete insurance information. Although auto insurance policy number formats can differ, an insurance policy number example will generally look like "CAPD 123456789" and can be used by an agent to look up a provider. Insurance agents are exposed to multiple types of policy numbers every day and can easily identify an auto insurance company using a policy number. Learn more about how to look up an insurance company by policy number here.

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Natasha McLachlan is a writer who currently lives in Southern California. She is an alumna of California College of the Arts, where she obtained her B.A. in Writing and Literature. Her current work revolves around insurance guides and informational articles. She truly enjoys helping others learn more about everyday, practical matters through her work.

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Laura Walker graduated college with a BS in Criminal Justice with a minor in Political Science. She married her husband and began working in the family insurance business in 2005. She became a licensed agent and wrote P&C business focusing on personal lines insurance for 10 years. Laura serviced existing business and wrote new business. She now uses her insurance background to help educate...

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Reviewed by Laura Walker
Former Licensed Agent

UPDATED: Jul 16, 2021

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The Rundown

  • There are several ways you can use a policy number to find the car insurance company
  • The easiest way to get the information you need is to look at the police report
  • It’s best to get as much information as possible from the other driver and take pictures when an accident occurs

Sometimes identifying a car insurance company from a policy number may be necessary. The good news is that it is possible. The bad news is that it might take a little work on your part.

No one ever hopes that they will be involved in an accident, but if you have one, you hope that it will be relatively stress-free. Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. It’s not uncommon for an individual who was involved in a car accident to give the other party incomplete information.

Sometimes this is done purposefully because they don’t want to file a claim on their insurance and admit fault or they’re hiding the fact that they are uninsured.

If you find yourself in this situation and need to look up a company by policy number, all hope isn’t lost. There are a few steps you can take to get the information you need.

If you’ve been in an accident, now is a great time to look for affordable car insurance. Before learning how to identify a company from a policy number, enter your ZIP code to compare car insurance quotes today.

What is an insurance policy number?

A policy number is a special number or code that connects an auto insurance policy to its person. After getting into an accident, this number is shared with the other individual in order for a claim to be filed.

The next step is figuring out how to verify a number. Once you know this, you will know how to find an insurance company by policy number, such as a USAA policy number.

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How can you verify a policy number?

There are many reasons that someone might not give you all of their car insurance information. It’s possible that in the adrenaline and stress from the accident, the other driver just forgot. They may not carry their insurance cards and don’t have access to a digital insurance card.

Another possible reason for a driver not giving out all of the pertinent information is that they don’t have an auto policy. According to the Insurance Information Institute, 13 percent of drivers were uninsured in 2015. Uninsured drivers may try to avoid the consequences they will face for not having coverage.

So, there are certain steps you can take to find a company by policy number.

First, make sure that you have the entire policy number. Companies use different number formats so the number of characters could vary, but you will need to know the entire number.

If you’re given letters preceding or following the numbers, including those in your query as well; even though we refer to it as a number, this code can include letters depending on the provider. Some companies use letters in their policy numbers as state identifiers or to specify policy type, for example.

While you may see something like this, “CAPD 123456789,” you shouldn’t ever see a mixture of letters and numbers like “12B64F8332XA984Y.” A combination of sixteen letters and numbers is most likely a VIN number for a vehicle, not a policy number. Although how many numbers are in an insurance policy number vary, most policy numbers are nine to ten digits long.

Unlike the string of numbers at the bottom of your check, any beginning or ending zeros should be included when giving a policy number. Not all insurance companies have flexible search capabilities for their databases, so giving an incomplete entry won’t return any results.

This table will break down the steps you need to take to find the insurance company from a policy number.

Steps to Take if You Have a Policy Number to Find the Car Insurance Company
Who to ContactActions to Find the Car Insurance Company
Call Your AgentReport the accident. The other party might be covered by the same insurer, in which case your agent might recognize the policy number.
Call Other Insurance CompaniesWhile it seems unlikely, the policy number can be sent to multiple organizations to see if it is one of their numbers.
Contact the DMVThey may not be able to prove any information, but you should try them anyway.
Ask Your Insurer to Put a Hold on the ClaimAlthough this process can take longer than the insurance company may allow, you will be able to request the police report once it is filed and get the information you need.
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In the event that the policy number you’ve been given looks incomplete or incorrect, try to get a copy of the police report if one was made.

Although the other driver (hopefully) wrote down their information to give you, police officers are required to take down insurance information from an ID card themselves so it’s much more likely to be accurate.

The police report should also include the name of the other driver’s insurance company so this may be all you need to find the information you’re looking for.

Where can you look up a car insurance policy number?

If you know the name of the insurance agency where someone is insured, your best bet is to call an agent. While they won’t be able to give you any more information about the policy, they should verify what company the policy is through if you’re needing to file or inquire about a claim.

After an accident, it isn’t uncommon for a driver to give out the name of their agent instead of their provider if they use an independent agent.

Although they may have used the same agent for many years, it’s possible their insurer has changed several times since independent agents can write policies for multiple companies.

Call Your Local Agent

Without even an insurance agent name to search for, try calling your agent. Explain your situation then ask if they have any idea what company the policy may belong to.

Usually, with incoming information from new customers changing companies, insurance agents are exposed to multiple types of policy numbers every day.

After seeing them so often, some agents are able to tell at first glance what company a policy number belongs to. Or, your agent may be willing to do a little research to help you find out.

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Check With the DMV

For residents of states that require insurance reporting, you may be able to call or visit your local DMV and have them search for the company by giving them the policy number you have. A lot of the time, providing proof of insurance is just part of the registration procedure someone goes through in order to drive at all.

They may also require the name or vehicle description of the other party before they will release any information.

However, if you don’t have to report your car insurance to your state, this method of research will most likely not be feasible. Unfortunately, at this time not all states keep current databases of all drivers with active insurance.

Get a Copy of the Police Report

The police report should have all of the information you will need about the other driver. Not only should their policy number be listed, but the car insurance providers should also be on the report.

How can you avoid this situation in the future?

Not all car crashes are avoidable. However, you can prevent getting the runaround in future accidents by taking a few steps.

Here are the steps to take after being in a car accident to help you in the future:

  • Make sure you get all of the information for any other involved drivers when you are in a car accident. Get their name, phone number, policy number, agent name and number, the name of the company, vehicle year make and model, and license plate number. With all of this, you should be able to easily contact their insurance company.
  • Instead of writing down their policy details, take pictures after a car accident of their insurance card and vehicles with your phone. Be sure to take pictures of both front and back and note whether or not the date on the card is current. Offer to let the other driver take a picture of your ID card as well as a sign of good faith.
  • Always file a police report when possible. Since the police are required to take down the insurance information of both drivers, you have a guaranteed source of accurate identification. The police report also details who is at fault in an accident, which is very useful when you need to file a claim.

Although being in a car accident is stressful, there are certain steps you can take at the scene to make things go as smoothly as possible.

Once you know that everyone is okay, call the police, take pictures of the cars and insurance cards, and determine how to get home. Everything else can be figured out later.

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What do you need to know about your car insurance policy number?

Your policy number is located on your insurance card and on the policy itself. If your car insurance company uses an app, it will be listed there as well. This is especially true if you’ve signed up for paperless billing, etc. If all else fails, you can always contact your agent directly and they can look up your number for you.

If you are in an accident, how do you use your policy number?

You will give your policy number, as well as the company information, to the police and other drivers. This policy number connects you to your auto insurance company and will be used to move the claims process along.

Now that you know how to identify an auto insurance company using a policy number, make sure you are getting the best deal on your car insurance.

Enter your ZIP code now to compare quotes after you use a policy number to find a car insurance company.

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