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What is an Insurance Declarations Page?

When an insurance policy gets issued in the State of Oregon, several pieces of paper (or electronic pages) are issued by the insurance company. Most of the pages are pre-printed. Sometimes they are printed and bound in booklet form. Other times the pages are printed on regular 8 1/2" x 11" paper and bound together by staples or some other fasteners. These pre-printed forms make what is known as the policy or contract. They are sets of legal clauses and paragraphs. Depending on what type of insurance policy you buy or what you are insuring, the policy might be just a few pages like 10 or so or the policy could be in the hundreds.

Attached to the main policy that everyone gets of each type of insurance are separate form that make up what are called amendments or endorsements. Again, these are usually pre-printed or slightly personalized to identify you, your property, your business or geographic locations. These amendments or endorsements are meant to modify or change the basic contract forms in some way. They either restrict coverage (such as an exclusion or limitation of some coverage) or amplify (such as increased limits or items) coverage. Laws in our State of Oregon might differ from other states so an amendment form would be a perfect way to state the changes.

These forms, contracts and endorsements are pretty standard and just about everyone buying similar types of insurance will get these pre-printed, bound, standardized documents. What is unique is the Declarations Page.

The declarations page is that piece of paper that is affixed usually to the top of all the other forms that identifies you, your business, your property and the limits and deductibles you have specifically chosen. The 'dec page' also contains your policy number, inception and expiration dates and the premium you are being charged for the policy. Every single insurance contract issued must have a declarations page or face page that identifies the unique 'risk' being insured. The declarations page should reference the stock form numbers of the contract and amendments you should find attached to your policy. If you see a form number on your declarations page but you can't find it bundled in with your contract, you should request of your agent or company a copy of that form. It may contain language in that form that modifies your policy in a way that doesn't benefit you.

A copy of the declarations page may be shared by photocopy or some other electronic means with other insurance companies, lenders or government agencies to prove you have insurance. The dec page usually doesn't contain data items that are serious points of identity theft. But, it's a good idea to limit the number of people who have access to these documents. After a loss or claim, an opposing party or their attorneys would love to get their hands on a copy of your policy and declarations page so they know what they can sue for rather than pursue a lawsuit based on the merits of the case, regardless of what you have insured or the limits of coverage stated in the contract.

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