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Car insurance companies want your vehicle identification number (VIN) when you apply for a car insurance quote because it helps them pull up information about the vehicle. Auto insurers who have this information can provide more accurate quotes.

Car insurance companies know that you may forget the exact make and model and other vehicle-specific details that can make a difference to your car insurance premium. That’s where the vehicle identification number comes in.

Auto insurance companies use the VIN to instantly gather information such as:

  • Who made the car 
  • Car model and body style
  • Safety features
  • Engine type
  • Transmission type

All of this information helps the insurer provide a more accurate quote.

If you don’t have your car’s VIN handy, you can still get an initial quote if you input the data about the vehicle yourself. The insurer will double-check the information once the VIN is provided.

However, you must provide a VIN once you are ready to purchase a car insurance policy. Your car insurance company will also use the VIN to ensure the car isn’t listed as stolen and that it doesn’t have a branded — or salvage — title. 

Additionally, many states require insurers to provide VINs to the Department of Motor Vehicles — along with your insurance policy number — so the state can identify uninsured vehicles. This is why it’s important to ensure that the VIN listed on your policy matches that of your vehicle.

Insurance companies will also want to know your driver’s license number, personal information, address, and ZIP code when you get a quote. Having this information helps the insurer gauge your driving record and accident history so it can provide you with an accurate insurance quote. 

Getting the most accurate quotes helps you better compare auto insurance companies, policies, and coverage. So, having your VIN number and providing it to insurers can help you save money on your auto insurance.

Why do car insurance companies need your VIN number?

Providing a vehicle identification number to your insurer can help you get a more accurate quote. 

The insurer uses the VIN to make sure the car is not stolen. In some cases, providing the VIN can help you save money on your premiums. The insurer can also see if the model has safety features or anti-theft devices that will lower the cost of your coverage. 

In other situations, however, information gleaned from the VIN — such as if the vehicle has been involved in a serious accident — might result in higher premiums. 

How to check your car insurance by VIN number

You do not need a VIN number to look up your insurance details. Your insurer likely provided you with policy documents that detail the  coverage that applies to your policy. 

You can also find policy details in your account on the insurer’s website or smartphone app. Or you could make an old-fashioned phone call and ask a company representative to provide you with details. 

But if none of the above work, it is possible to obtain your car insurance information using a VIN number. You will find third-party services online that let you check your car insurance by VIN number, although there might be a fee for this service. 

You can also use a VIN number to look up the insurance record of another car, such as a used car you are considering buying. 

The National Insurance Crime Bureau offers a free tool at its website that can help you find out information such as whether the car has been stolen or if an insurance company has reported the car as a salvage vehicle. 

Can you get car insurance without a VIN number?

It is possible to get an insurance quote without a VIN. However, this quote may not be as accurate as what you would receive by providing the VIN. 

Although you can get a car insurance quote without a VIN number, you will need to provide the VIN to secure an actual policy. Insurers need the VIN to get a better sense of the risk they face in insuring your car.

Insurance companies will not sell you a policy without that information. 



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Can you insure a car with just the VIN?

Providing a VIN is essential to getting car insurance. But you will have to provide additional information if you want a policy. 

Other information that your insurer will require includes: 

  • Your age and gender
  • Where you live
  • Where you park the car
  • How many miles you drive the car annually
  • Information about your driving history
  • The total amount of liability coverage you want
  • Whether you want additional types of coverage, such as comprehensive and collision
  • The size of deductible you prefer

This list is not all-inclusive, and there may be other types of information that your insurer will require. 

What can car insurance companies see from a VIN?

Getting a VIN number can tell an insurer many things about your vehicle. They include: 

  • Vehicle manufacturer
  • Vehicle model
  • Body style
  • Safety features
  • Engine type
  • Transmission type
  • Whether the car is listed as stolen
  • Whether the car has a salvage title


The Hartford. “Vehicle Identification Number (VIN).” Accessed October 2023.

Progressive. “What is a VIN?” Accessed October 2023.

National Insurance Crime Bureau. “VINCheck® Lookup.” Accessed October 2023.

Insurance information Institute. “What information do I need to give to my agent or company?” Accessed October 2023.

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Chris Kissell
Contributing Researcher


Chris Kissell is a Denver-based writer and editor with work featured on U.S. News & World Report, MSN Money, Fox Business, Forbes, Yahoo Finance, Money Talks News and more.