What Documents Should I Keep In My Car At All Times?

Buckle up, look both ways before crossing, stop at the red light – these rules should be second nature to you as a driver. But one thing that might not be so clear is what documents you need to keep in your car. It’s important that you keep some files in your car in case you’re pulled over, or worse, you’re in an accident. Keeping the following documents in your vehicle could save you a some trouble – and even a ticket!

Vehicle Registration

It’s one half of (what should be) the well-known police officer saying, “License and registration.” Your vehicle registration shows that the car you’re driving is in your name and it hasn’t been stolen. Always make sure you have your vehicle’s registration safely tucked away in your car, just in case you get pulled over. Try not to lose your registration, either. Doing so will cost you a trip to your local government office, where you can expect to wait in line and probably pay a fee for a fresh copy.

Proof of Insurance

Car-Glove-BoxPapers showing your proof of insurance is another thing you’ll need if you get stopped by a police officer. While the car registration proves that the car is indeed yours, your proof of insurance ensures you’re driving a car that’s insured. Driving an uninsured car is illegal, so if you don’t have your papers, count on getting written up for a ticket. You’ll also want your insurance information on hand in case you get into an accident, as the other driver will need it for his or her insurance company. If you somehow don’t have your papers, or you’ve lost them, immediately contact your insurance provider, and they’ll probably be able to email you a copy that you can print out and stick in your car.

Accident Checklist

A post-accident safety checklist isn’t legally required for you to have in your vehicle, but it is nice to have just in case. It’s difficult to keep a straight mind after a traumatic event, so a checklist serves as a good reminder of all the information you should gather and what other steps you should take immediately following the accident. You might want to keep with this document phone numbers for your insurance company, the local police department, and an emergency contact. While an accident checklist isn’t a standardized form, you can find a few different similar variations online, such as this printable form.

As well as these documents, you need to be sure that you have your driver’s license on you whenever you’re driving. While it’s very important to keep your registration, proof of insurance, and an accident checklist in your car, you should avoid having any other personal and sensitive information, such as your car’s title, in your vehicle. If your car is even stolen, that information could be a goldmine for thieves. Lastly, always have these documents in a memorable and secure place in your car. Most people keep their documents in the glove box, but you might have another compartment you can devote solely to these papers.

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