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What Is an ACORD Certificate of Insurance?

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A close-up shot of a business owner looking through paperwork at a desk next to a laptop with a pen.

An ACORD Certificate of Insurance (COI) is an official document that outlines key information about your insurance policy, including your coverage types, limits, additional insureds, and effective dates.

An ACORD might not play sweet melodies like an accordion, but it does bring music to the ears of outside parties asking to see your proof of insurance.

This document helps to prove you are insured and lets someone know what types of coverage you have. It was created in the 1970s by the Association for Cooperative Research and Development (ACORD) to help standardize the forms insurance companies use.

Instead of having every insurance company create its own form, the ACORD Certificate of Insurance form became the industry standard for liability policies. So if a third party asks for a copy of your ACORD, it’s the same as asking to see your COI or Certificate of Insurance.

A woman smiles at her phone as she looks at her business liability policy online.

Coverage details, limits, and carrier information can vary based on the policy purchased.

An ACORD form may be universal, but the name certainly isn’t. There are a lot of nicknames used, but they all generally refer to the same document. You may see an ACORD called:

  • ACORD 25
  • ACORD certificate
  • Certificate of Insurance (COI)
  • ACORD COI form
  • Certificate of liability insurance
  • Proof of insurance

Let’s dive into some common questions we hear about ACORD certificates!

Why Do I Need an ACORD Certificate?

An ACORD certificate serves as proof of your insured status. It can be used to show a venue, event promoter, property manager, or another business that you have general liability insurance and may be covered for claims, like:

  • Bodily injury: If your business, product, or services cause an injury or illness to a third party.
  • Property damage: If your business, product, or services result in third-party property damage.
  • Lawsuits: If you cause an accident that leads to a lawsuit.
  • Failure to deliver: If you fail to deliver a product or service agreed upon in a contract.
  • Workers comp: If your employee(s) is injured while on the job.
  • Stolen gear: If your gear, tools, or inventory is stolen or damaged.
  • Product recalls: If a product you manufacture, distribute, or sell is recalled.

When you enter into business with someone else—whether that’s renting a booth, selling a product, starting a partnership, or being hired as an independent contractor—they assume a new level of risk and responsibility because if something goes wrong that’s caused by your business operations, they could get sued alongside you.

No one wants to shoulder more responsibilities, so having an ACORD shows you take ownership of your risks and can be trusted to work with.

A female fitness instructor sits on a blue sofa at her in-home gym as she calls clients on her cell phone and refers to the documents in her lap.

What Information Does the ACORD Certificate Include?

  • Your policy number
  • The named insured (your name, business name, or DBA)
  • Policy effective and expiration date (the day coverage starts and ends)
  • Issuing insurance company and carrier
  • Coverage types and limits
  • Named additional insureds

If you need to have other information displayed on your certificate, like a waiver of subrogation or primary non-contributory, our team can work with you to do this (in most cases—we’re technically not magicians).

A male business owner smiles as he sits at his computer in his home office with his microphone and headset.

How Do I Obtain an ACORD Certificate?

You can instantly access your ACORD COI by following these steps:

  1. Log in to your online dashboard
  2. Locate the “Download Documents” section
  3. Click on “Proof of Insurance” to download your COI

You can print this document or download a copy to your device to share it with anyone requesting to see proof of insurance. You can access your COI online 24/7 and have unlimited downloads, too!

How Long Is an ACORD Certificate Valid?

An ACORD certificate is valid from the listed effective date (POLICY EFF) through the listed expiration date (POLICY EXP).

An ACORD certificate of insurance sample with the effective date (POLICY EFF) and the expiration date (POLICY EXP) highlighted in yellow with a blue arrow pointing to it.

These dates will depend on the start date you select, and how long of a policy you select. For example, an annual policy with a start date of May 1st would show:



This same logic applies to a short-term event policy. If you purchased three days of coverage, then you will be covered for three days starting on the date you select during the purchasing process.

Does the ACORD Certificate Ensure Coverage?

This same logic applies to a short-term event policy. If you purchased three days of coverage, then you will be covered for three days starting on the date you select during the purchasing process.

“ACORD-ing” to Customers, Insurance Canopy is #1 for Liability Coverage

Our customers have given us a (nearly) 5-star rating, and we couldn’t be more thankful!

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Site easy to navigate, good price, good customer service.

It’s our mission to provide the specialized liability coverage you need with the top-tier customer service, competitive limits, and affordable prices you deserve. Learn more about our policies and apply online today!

Picture of <span style="font-weight: 600; font-family: open sans; font-size:14px;">Fact-Checked By:</span><br>JoAnne Hammer | Insurance Canopy Program Manager, Certified Insurance Counselor
Fact-Checked By:
JoAnne Hammer | Insurance Canopy Program Manager, Certified Insurance Counselor

JoAnne’s 29 years of industry experience make her unmatched in the small business insurance space. She reviewed this page and gave it her stamp of approval so you can know it’s certified by a pro.

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