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Which Documents Should You Keep In Your Car At All Times?

Thursday, July 8, 2021

Everyone wants less paper and less clutter in their lives. We were promised a paperless existence several years ago, but we also dreamed that there would be flying cars by now! Taming the paper and document overload in your life is no small feat. Still, there are a few essential car documents that you must keep in vehicles.

Documents To Keep In Car

State laws require proof of automobile insurance and registration of your vehicle. If you are pulled over by the police or have a car accident, you will need your proof of insurance documents. Make sure your insurance card is up to date; most auto insurance companies email updated forms so you can print and store them in your glove box. You may wonder if you need to keep insurance documents in the car, or is it OK to have a copy on your phone? A few states will accept proof of insurance in electronic form on your phone or other mobile devices, but the safe bet is to have a hard copy in your car.

Your car registration is the document that proves ownership. The information is paired with your car license plate. In the event of an accident or traffic stop, you will be asked to show your hard copies to the authorities.

A man looks over documents in his car.

Additional Documents to Carry While Driving

Along with the documents you should keep in your car at all times is the requirement to carry your driver’s license. Your state driver’s license has a lot of personal information on it, so you should keep it with you rather than stored in your vehicle. Remember that this is likely your photo I.D. and carries your address and birth date, which are items of information subject to identity theft. In the not-so-distant past, some states used your social security number as your driver’s license number! Thankfully, times have changed; protecting your personal information is critical.

A few other items you may wish to keep in your glove compartment are emergency contact names and numbers and basic medical information about family members. You may also want to have an emergency car kit in your trunk. In an accident, all of the information you rely on in your phone could be inaccessible if it is damaged or lost. For example, if a family member has life-threatening allergies or someone in your vehicle needs insulin, it is a good idea to keep that information handy as a backup for emergency responders.

Lastly, keep your vehicle owner’s manual in your glove compartment. That red light on your dash that suddenly comes on when you are in the middle of nowhere might be a reminder to take your car in for regular maintenance. It could also be something that you need to deal with immediately, though. If you are out of range for a cell signal, knowing you have that owner’s manual at your fingertips goes a long way to helping you deal with the panic of car trouble on the road.

We all feel overwhelmed with paper clutter. It might be a good time to clean out your glove box and other storage areas in your car and re-assess what you need to keep and what can be recycled. You might want to throw out the 27 ketchup packets and dusty breath mints while you are there. Feel free to contact your Independent Insurance Associates agent if you need to update any proof of insurance documents or review your current coverage. We are dedicated to keeping you and your family safe and secure.