How to Read Your Insurance Card

How to Read Your Insurance Card
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When you obtain insurance through a health or auto insurance provider independently, through your parent's policy or from an employer, the insuring company mails you an insurance identification card to carry on your person or in your vehicle. Both health insurance and auto insurance cards contain identifying information specific to your policy as well as contact information for the insuring company. If you need to receive health care or file an auto insurance claim, use the information on your card to begin the process.

Health Insurance Cards

Review the header information on your card. Many health insurance cards feature basic contact information for your insurer, such as the company address, Web address and phone number, in a header at the top of the card. These contact methods are usually used for routine billing questions or basic account questions and should not be used when checking your benefit or claim status unless specifically noted.

Compare the information on the face of the card with the account information present in your official policy documents. Your policy number, name and health insurance group number should match on both your insurance paperwork and card. In addition to your health account information, the card front also features your prescription benefit identification number and prescription group number when your policy also includes prescription benefits.

Look at the back of your card. Generally, this portion of the card features the phone numbers for both you and a health care provider to call for benefit and claim information. The back also features a mailing address for medical providers to use when submitting claims.

Examine your card for any additional information. Sometimes health insurance cards also list the amount of your deductible or copays for select services on the front or back. It may also relay services that require preauthorization from the insurance company.

Auto Insurance Cards

Review the front of your insurance card to identify your policy information. Your policy number and the effective dates for your insurance appear on the front along with your insurer's address.

Locate your vehicle information on the card. It lists the year, make and model number of your car as well as multiple digits from the end of your vehicle identification number.

Scan the back of your card. This area typically contains instructions on how to handle the insurance aspects an automobile accident and how to contact the insurance company to report a claim. However, this information may appear on the front of your card.


  • Make a photocopy of your insurance ID cards to keep in your personal files at home in case your original documents are lost or stolen. You still need to request a new official copy of the ID cards from your insurer, but your personal copy will provide you with policy information until your new cards arrive in your email account or mailbox.