Cover Note

What is 'Cover Note'

A cover note is a temporary document issued by an insurance company that provides proof of insurance coverage until a final insurance policy can be issued. A cover note is different from a certificate of insurance or an insurance policy document. A cover note features the name of the insured, the insurer, the coverage and what is being covered by the insurance.

BREAKING DOWN 'Cover Note'

Insurance companies issue a cover note in order to provide an individual with proof of insurance before all the insurance paperwork has been processed. During this time, the insurer may continue to evaluate the risks associated with insuring the holder of the cover note, and the cover note will continue to serve as the insured’s proof that he or she has purchased coverage until the insurer issues the policy documents and certificate of insurance. In general, the cover note provides the same level of coverage as the full insurance policy, though insurers may place some restrictions while they make any final determinations on the risks associated with the insurance policy.

How long the cover note remains valid depends on how quickly the insurance company can create a new policy, and whether the insurer has any problems with the policy coverage in between selling the policy and issuing the policy document. If the cover note expires before the permanent policy documentation has been received, the insured individual will either receive an automatic extension of the cover note, or they can request one be sent.

Insurance companies may allow someone who has recently purchased an insurance policy, but who does not yet have a formal policy, to cancel the purchase. This allows someone who only holds a cover note to receive a refund, provided that a claim on the policy has not been made during the cancelation period.

Cover Notes in Use

In the case of purchasing a vehicle with a loan, cover notes can play an important role in the transaction. That's because the lending institution typically won't allow the individual purchasing a vehicle to drive it off the lot without insurance. Often, a buyer will call their insurance company and buy the policy over the phone, and the insurance company will immediately email or fax a cover note to the buyer, which will allows them to drive the car off the lot. However, this will only be necessary if the insurance company can't immediately deliver a certificate of insurance. Some insurance companies do not issue cover notes, and instead issue a certificate of insurance immediately when the policy is purchased and accepted.