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Get to Know How to Read COIs

Every Certificate of Insurance has multiple sections, the longest being the “Coverage” section. It is important to know how to read a COI, especially if you have one, or one is requested from you. COIs can be daunting since they hold a lot of information, but even with a little basic knowledge, you can go far. In this article, we’ll dive into the longest section of a COI. 

But before we start, we should mention the “Insurers Affording Coverage” section, since it links to the “Coverage” section. This section will list all the insurance companies that the insured has policies for. 

The “Coverage” section is the longest because this is where you will find all the details of the insurance policies. These details include insurance type, validity periods, limits, and any additional important information. In simpler words: a COI coverage provides a summary of your business coverage.  

insurance coverage

Now, let’s break down the whole section:


Short for “Insurer Letter”, the letter that appears in this column will correspond with the letter stated in the “Insurers Affording Coverage” column. For example, if there is a “C” in this column, that means the insurance company is the same as the one listed in the “Insurers Affording Coverage” next to the letter “C”

2. Type of Insurance 

This section shows the type of coverage that is afforded by the policy. It can be car, general, excess coverage, worker’s liability, or it can include any other requested coverage. 


The “Additional Insured” section indicates that the mentioned person is an additional insured party on the policy. 


“SUBR WVD” stands for Subrogation Waived and is an important part of a COI. If this box is checked off, it means that the insurance company of the insured party will not be able to pursue any legal action against specified parties, that includes even the certificate holder. 

insurance policy data

5. Policy Number

Next in the section, is the policy number, which is unique to every COI and helps in locating and identifying the document. 

6. Validity

This section will state the effective dates of the policy.

7. Limits

Last, but not least the “Limits” section will show you the policy limit which will be stated in dollars. 

Although the “Coverage” section may seem long and daunting, after running through these points, it will be easier to understand this part of a COI.

It is important to know what coverages you have and what are the limits to them, so when damage occurs you can use them properly. It is even more important to know what you are looking at if you are the one requesting or needing a COI from another involved person. 

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