How to Identify Insurance Company by Policy Number

by Peter Drea

Conduct an Online Search

According to the Car Insurance Comparison, there are no databases where you can search for an insurance company by using a policy number. This makes finding the insurance company a somewhat challenging exercise, but you can do it by following a few steps.

Warnings

Although you don't have to travel to make inquires, thus saving you time, this is a trial-and-error method that may prove unsuccessful.

Understand the policy number format.

Different insurance companies use different policy-number formats. In fact, some use more than one format. To give a few examples:

  • GMAC Insurance and Mercury Insurance policy numbers are in alphanumerical format. The alphabetical code can precede or come after the  numerical digits.

Break the policy down.

If the policy number you're searching for is exclusively in numerical format, break out the first three digits to get the Company Code -- also referred to as the DMV Code in some states. However, sometimes codes can be up to five digits. For alphanumerical policy numbers, check if the letters can give you hints about the location of the policy issuer. If, for instance, A0Z 268 047Z37 705 is your policy number, the code "A0Z" may mean -- but not always -- that the insurance company operates within Arizona.

Tips

For clues on the meaning of letters in a policy number to help you narrow your search, websites such as 50states.com and Lib.berkeley.edu can provide you with a list of common abbreviations for places.

Search through look-up websites.

To search your derived code, type "DMV Insurance Codes" in your browser and press "Enter." A number of websites listing insurance companies against their identifying codes will come up -- such as Myportal.dfs.NY.Gov and Eapps.naic.org . Check if your code matches any company on the record. If you are not successful, explore other options for searching the information.

Talk to Your Insurance Agent

Although your state motor vehicles agency can be a good resource for finding an insurance company by using the policy number, in some states, privacy issues may cause delays, because you're required to complete requisition forms first and wait until they're considered or rejected. Instead, talk directly to your insurance company and have your agent help you find the information. In most states, insurance companies are not bound by privacy laws that would restrict your search.

Consult Other Agents

Doing this may help you find the information you are seeking. However, since many insurance companies expect you to file a claim within 24 hours after an accident, some agents may charge you a consultation fee, because they know you desperately need the information. If you find an experienced agent, she can likely recognize the insurance company that uses the number series of the policy number you’ve got.

Tips

Approach independent agents first and "tied" agents as your last resort. Tied agents sell policies exclusively from a single insurer and may not be familiar with many policies from different insurers.

About the Author

Peter Drea has been a full-time professional content writer and editor for more than 10 years. He has been published in both print and web publications. He has written more than 20,000 articles, primarily on computers, medicine, health, law and automotive repair.