What Are Important documents to keep in your car?

What kinds of things to keep in your car plus what are some UNSAFE documents to keep in your car? We’ve got that answered for you!

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Vehicle registration is a critical document that verifies your vehicle is officially registered with your state’s motor vehicle department, confirming you have fulfilled all necessary taxes and fees for your tags/license plates. It is mandatory for your vehicle to be registered before it can legally be driven on public roads.

To register your vehicle, the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV) requires you to provide proof of insurance, a valid driver’s license, and, depending on your state, car tax information. Since documentation requirements can vary, it is advisable to consult your local DMV, division of motor vehicles, or the specific state department responsible for vehicle registration for accurate guidance.

In the event you are stopped by law enforcement, you are obligated to present proof of registration, insurance, and your driver’s license. Therefore, it’s imperative to ensure your vehicle registration is always present in your car.

Note: Liability insurance is mandatory in 49 states, with New Hampshire being the exception.

It’s prudent to regularly verify that your vehicle registration document is stored in your car, particularly if you suspect your vehicle may have been compromised or accessed without authorization.

Proof of InsuranceRequired in 49 states (except New Hampshire)Ensures compliance with state laws
Driver’s LicenseMandatoryValidates the driver’s legal ability to operate a vehicle
Car Tax InformationVaries by stateSome states require proof of paid vehicle taxes
Additional DocumentationMay be requiredCheck with your local DMV for specific requirements

This table summarizes the primary documents needed for vehicle registration and highlights the importance of keeping these documents, especially the registration, readily available in your vehicle for legal compliance and to facilitate any required checks by law enforcement.

Theft of vehicle registration documents poses significant risks due to the sensitive information they contain. Here’s why criminals may target your vehicle’s registration:

  • Access to the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN):
  • File false insurance claims, potentially damaging your record and financial standing.
  • Secure vehicle insurance under false pretenses, engaging in insurance fraud.
  • Manufacture duplicate keys, increasing the risk of your vehicle being stolen.

Protective Measures to Consider

To mitigate these risks, consider the following precautions:

  • Avoid storing your registration in an easily accessible or visible area within your vehicle.
  • Consider using a secure, lockable compartment or taking the registration with you when leaving the vehicle unattended.
  • Regularly monitor your credit reports and insurance statements for any unauthorized activities that could indicate your information has been compromised.

By understanding the motives behind registration theft and taking proactive steps to safeguard your documents, you can significantly reduce the risk of falling victim to these fraudulent activities.

Car insurance ID cards are crucial documents to carry in your car that serve as proof of your insurance coverage. These cards are typically issued when you purchase or renew your car insurance policy and represent one of the essential items to have in your cars. While many drivers opt to keep a digital copy on their mobile devices for convenience, it’s important to note that not all states recognize electronic versions as valid proof of insurance.

Therefore, it’s advisable to carry a physical copy of your car insurance ID card in your car’s glove box. To secure a physical copy, you can select to have one mailed to you simply by contacting your insurance agent. This ensures that you always have proof of insurance readily available, should you need it.

In the event you are stopped by law enforcement and cannot provide proof of insurance, you are at risk of receiving a ticket. Remember, car insurance is a legal requirement in 49 states, with New Hampshire being the exception. However, even in New Hampshire, certain drivers might be mandated to have insurance based on their driving history.

Having your car insurance ID card in your vehicle not only complies with state laws but also provides peace of mind, ensuring you’re prepared for any situation on the road. Keeping this document readily accessible in your car’s glove box is a simple yet effective step towards responsible vehicle ownership and ensuring your journeys are both safe and compliant with legal requirements.

Physical vs. Digital Copy– Some states accept digital copies. Always verify if your state allows digital proof. It’s best to carry a physical copy in your glove box.
How to Obtain a Physical Copy– Contact your insurance agent to request a mailed copy. Often available through your insurer’s online portal for printout.
Legal Requirement– Car insurance is mandatory in 49 states. New Hampshire may require it based on driving record.
Consequences of Not Having Proof– Risk of receiving a ticket if stopped without proof.
Storage Recommendation– Keep the physical card in your car’s glove box for easy access.
Benefits of Carrying Proof– Ensures compliance with state laws. Provides peace of mind and readiness for any road encounters.

It is universally acknowledged that possessing a valid driver’s license is a legal prerequisite for operating a motor vehicle. Moreover, it’s not just about having a license; you are also required to carry your driver’s license with you at all times when driving. Unlike some documents that can be stored or presented electronically, your driver’s license is not eligible for digital storage and must be physically present.

Carrying your driver’s license while driving any vehicle is essential. Although storing your license in your vehicle might seem convenient, it’s advised against due to the personal information it carries. Ensuring that your driver’s license is on your person while driving safeguards your identity and complies with legal requirements.

Similarly, having proof of auto insurance readily accessible is vital, especially during traffic stops or after an accident. Laws in most jurisdictions mandate drivers to present proof of insurance upon request by law enforcement or in the aftermath of a collision.

Carrying Your Driver’s LicenseAlways ensure your driver’s license is on you while driving. It’s a legal requirement that cannot be substituted with an electronic copy.
Storing Your LicenseAvoid leaving your driver’s license in your vehicle to protect your personal information.
Proof of Auto InsuranceKeep your insurance proof easily accessible in your vehicle. While a digital copy might be acceptable in some states, a physical copy is universally recognized.
In Case of Traffic Stops or AccidentsHaving both your driver’s license and proof of insurance during these situations is crucial for legal compliance and to facilitate the resolution of any incidents.

By adhering to these guidelines, you ensure that you’re not only compliant with the law but also prepared for any situation that might arise while driving. It highlights the importance of personal responsibility in maintaining and carrying essential documents, such as your driver’s license and proof of insurance, every time you operate a vehicle.

There are several other documents that can be beneficial for you to keep in your car incase of an accident or emergency. We have listed those below.

While we recommend you keep such documents in your vehicle we would like to note that you will be leaving personal information in your vehicle and if the vehicle were to be stolen they would have access that information.

Emergency Contact Information: This can be very helpful if you are ever in an accident that results in you being incapacitated so those helping you can contact someone to close to you.

Medical Information: This is can also be helpful if you are ever in an accident. Things to consider listing are current medications, allergies, medical conditions, primary doctor or any specialist you may see.

Owners Manual: This could be helpful if you ever breakdown or have an issue with the vehicle. Granted we all have smartphones these days so you could easily google the problem as well, but just incase you are in an area without service it is a good thing to keep in the glove box.

Having a well-prepared car equipped with essential items can significantly enhance your convenience and safety, especially in unexpected situations. Whether you find yourself in an emergency, such as an accident or a breakdown, or simply need to manage everyday tasks, certain items stored in your glove box or trunk can prove invaluable. Being prepared is always better than being caught off guard.

These items vary in their utility, ranging from potential lifesavers to tools that simply make life a bit easier. Another compelling reason to keep these items within reach is the possibility of having to wait for roadside assistance after an accident or a breakdown. In such scenarios, having the right supplies can make your wait more comfortable and safer.

Recommended Items to Keep in Your Car:

Napkins/Wipes/TissuesEssential for cleanliness and hygiene, useful for spills, sneezes, or cleaning hands.
Bottled WaterStaying hydrated is crucial, especially in emergencies or during long waits.
FlashlightVital for visibility at night, whether checking your vehicle or signaling for help.
FlaresCan be used to signal for help or to ensure your car is visible to passing traffic in case of a breakdown.
Snacks (Protein Bar, Granola)Keeping energy levels up during waits or emergencies can be a lifesaver.
Lint RollerHandy for quick clean-ups, especially if you’re heading to a meeting or event straight from your car.

There are specific documents that, while important, should never be left in your car. The reason for this caution is straightforward: these documents contain sensitive personal information that, if accessed by unauthorized individuals, could lead to identity theft, fraud, or other forms of personal harm. Below, we detail which documents to keep secure and why it’s crucial to manage them wisely.

Documents Not to Store in Your Vehicle:

  1. Driver’s License: Although it’s required to have your driver’s license on you when operating a vehicle, it’s imperative not to leave it in the car. A driver’s license includes personal information that could be exploited if someone were to break into or steal your vehicle.
  2. Other Sensitive Personal Documents: Absolutely no personal documents, such as social security cards, birth certificates, or marriage licenses, should be stored in your vehicle. These documents are a goldmine for identity thieves and can lead to significant personal and financial distress if fallen into the wrong hands.
  3. Vehicle Title: Unlike the driver’s license, which must be carried by the driver, the vehicle title does not need to be in the car. Keeping the title in your vehicle poses a risk, especially if the car is stolen, as it could simplify the process of an unauthorized transfer of ownership. It’s best to keep the vehicle title in a secure location at home and only take it out when necessary, such as when registering your vehicle.

Protective Measures:

DocumentWhy It Shouldn’t Be in Your CarSafekeeping Tips
Driver’s LicenseContains personal information vulnerable to misuse.Carry on your person but ensure it’s not left behind in the vehicle.
Sensitive Personal DocumentsDirect route to identity theft if stolen.Store securely at home, ideally in a locked safe or another secure area.
Vehicle TitleCould facilitate unauthorized ownership transfer if stolen.Keep in a secure location at home; only bring it out when needed for vehicle registration or sale.
  1. Proof of Insurance: Having your proof of auto insurance readily available is crucial in case you’re involved in a traffic stop or an accident. It’s required by law in most places to provide proof of insurance when requested by law enforcement or in the event of a collision.
  2. Vehicle Registration: Keeping your vehicle registration documents in your car is necessary to prove that your vehicle is registered and legally allowed to be on the road. This document contains important information about your vehicle, such as the vehicle identification number (VIN) and owner details.
  3. Driver’s License: Your driver’s license serves as your primary form of identification while driving. It’s essential to have it with you whenever you’re operating a motor vehicle, as you may be required to present it during traffic stops or other interactions with law enforcement.
  4. Emergency Contact Information: It’s a good idea to keep emergency contact information in your car in case of an accident or medical emergency. This could include contact details for family members, your primary care physician, and any other relevant individuals.
  5. Roadside Assistance Information: Keeping information about your roadside assistance coverage or membership in your car can be helpful in case of breakdowns or other roadside emergencies. This might include contact numbers and policy details.
  6. Owner’s Manual: While not a legal requirement, keeping your vehicle’s owner’s manual in the glove compartment can be useful for reference in case you need to troubleshoot a problem or perform basic maintenance on your vehicle.
  7. Vehicle Inspection and Maintenance Records: Keeping records of your vehicle’s inspections and maintenance can help ensure that your vehicle is in compliance with regulations and operating safely. It can also be helpful for warranty purposes and when selling or trading in your vehicle.
  8. Pen and Paper: Having a pen and paper in your car can be handy for jotting down information such as license plate numbers, insurance details, or notes about an accident.

Frequently Asked Questions about Documents to keep In Your Car

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What Happens If I’m Caught Driving Without Insurance?

Driving without auto insurance can lead to severe consequences, such as hefty fines, license suspension, and even legal penalties. It may result in increased insurance premiums, vehicle impoundment, or difficulty obtaining coverage in the future.

License Suspension
Legal Penalties
Increased Premiums
Vehicle Impoundment
Coverage Difficulty

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Contact Us​

Start by reaching out to us, either online, by phone, or in person. Provide basic personal and vehicle information to initiate the quote process.



Provide more detailed information about your driving history, the vehicle you wish to insure, and any specific coverage needs or preferences you have



We will process your information and present you with a customized insurance quote, outlining coverage options and prices tailored to your needs.



Review the provided quote at your leisure. If you decide to proceed, you can finalize the policy, setting up payment and coverage start dates.

Documents to Keep In Your Car – A Plus Insurance

Documents to Keep In Your Car

Ensure you have these essential documents in your car in case of emergencies or routine needs:

  • Driver’s License
  • Vehicle Registration
  • Proof of Insurance
  • Emergency Contact Information
  • Car Manual
  • Roadside Assistance Information

For more information or assistance, call us at 1.888.445.2793.

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Last Updated on by Veronica Moss

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