Quickly Save on Auto Insurance by Using a VIN

Getting auto insurance quotes using a VIN is ideal whenever possible, because this will make your quotes more accurate. Auto insurance companies take a variety of factors into account when setting rates, including the specific features of your vehicle.

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Sara Routhier, Managing Editor and Outreach Director, has professional experience as an educator, SEO specialist, and content marketer. She has over five years of experience in the insurance industry. As a researcher, data nerd, writer, and editor she strives to curate educational, enlightening articles that provide you with the must-know facts and best-kept secrets within the overwhelming world o...

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Written by Sara Routhier
Director of Outreach Sara Routhier

Cynthia Lanctot is an insurance professional with ten years of industry experience. Cynthia is licensed in several states, and holds an associate in claims law, as well as a bachelor’s degree in English. Cynthia’s experience includes the New England and Northeast states. She currently works as a liability claims professional and an occasional online contributor.

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Reviewed by Cynthia Lanctot
Licensed Agent Cynthia Lanctot

UPDATED: May 23, 2022

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Things to Know:

  • The Vehicle Identification Number or VIN is a vehicle’s unique identifying code which can be used to learn important information about the car’s characteristics and history
  • You can check quotes for car insurance by VIN, but checking insurance rates by using a VIN will give you a more accurate estimate
  • You will need a vehicle’s VIN to purchase an insurance policy

When requesting auto insurance quotes, you probably expect a reasonably accurate estimate that you can rely on. And if you’ve ever received a cheap car insurance quote only to be surprised by the final amount at a later point, you’ll surely appreciate the accuracy even more. This is where a car insurance quote by VIN comes into play.

Getting insurance quotes by using a VIN will ensure that you receive an estimate that is as accurate as possible. In this article we will explain what a VIN is, how it makes a difference when you check insurance rates by VIN, and what other information you should provide when requesting insurance rate estimates.

You don’t have to use your VIN to get auto insurance rates – we can help. Enter your ZIP code in our free comparison tool for quick auto insurance quotes, whether or not you know your VIN.

What is a VIN?

A VIN or a Vehicle Identification Number is a vehicle’s unique code, much like a human fingerprint. It consists of 17 characters (digits and capital letters) in a unique combination for each vehicle. The code is assigned to the vehicle at the time of manufacturing and it holds information about the vehicle such as its manufacturer, specifications, unique features, registrations, insurance coverage, accidents history, etc. 

The VIN is always listed somewhere on the vehicle, usually on the driver’s side of the windshield or on the side door jamb. It is also listed in the vehicle’s paperwork, such as the title, registration, and insurance card.

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Do I need to provide a VIN to get an auto insurance quote?

In short, you don’t need to get your auto insurance quote by VIN. But we would advise you to do so, since the estimate will be much more accurate. If you get an insurance quote with a VIN, it will be based on your specific situation.

Insurance rates vary based on many factors, such as the type of vehicle, its trim, size, and other features. Instead of providing all of these details, giving a VIN allows the insurance company to have a clear overview of the vehicle’s specifics. The company can then calculate the insurance estimate by VIN for your particular car, instead of providing you with a generalized estimate.

If you’re thinking of purchasing a car and want to know how much the insurance will cost before you obtain the vehicle, you can check insurance rates without a VIN. But do keep in mind that your actual insurance rate might differ from the estimates you receive.

Let’s look at Toyota Camry insurance rates and how different trims of the same vehicle have different auto insurance rates.

Average Toyota Camry Auto Insurance Rates by Model and Trim
Toyota Camry Model and TrimAnnual RatesMonthly Rates
Toyota Camry LE$1,342$112
Toyota Camry SE$1,386$116
Toyota Camry XLE$1,432$119
Toyota Camry Hybrid$1,548$129
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Of course, you can insert the model and trim into an online form or tell an auto insurance agent over the phone about your vehicle. However, the VIN goes into specifics about the vehicle.

Do I need a VIN to get a car insurance policy?

Whilst you’re not required to provide a VIN when requesting auto insurance quotes, you will need to have it to get car insurance. Insurance companies won’t sell you a policy without checking the vehicle’s VIN first, since they use VIN to look into the car’s driving history, past accidents, and cases of theft. This allows the insurance company to assess the risk of insuring your vehicle.

When running a VIN insurance check, many companies use a free service called VINCheck® recommended by the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB). You can use VINCheck® yourself to check available information on your vehicle or on a vehicle you’re considering to purchase. 

What information do I need to provide to get auto insurance quotes?

When looking for car insurance quotes, it helps to have all of the required information at hand. The information you’ll most likely need to provide to the insurance company is:

  • Personal information. This includes your name, date of birth, gender, marital status, driving history, and driver’s license number.
  • Vehicle information. As we explained, providing your vehicle’s VIN is the most accurate way of getting a quote. However, if you don’t have the car’s VIN for whatever reason, you’ll be asked to provide the car’s year of manufacturing, model, and current mileage.
  • Driving history. Don’t try to embellish the reality as the insurance company will sooner or later look into your driving records of past accidents or traffic violations. Be honest and volunteer any relevant information that might affect your premium.
  • The type of coverage you’re interested in. Before requesting insurance quotes, decide on the type of coverage that would suit you best.

Finally, don’t forget to shop around to find suitable coverage at the cheapest price. Once you receive the quote, be sure to record the policy number provided. If you later decide to use that particular company to get your vehicle insured, you can refer to the policy number to get the same quote rather than starting the process all over again.

Car Insurance by VIN: The Bottom Line

Even though it’s not strictly necessary, we would advise you to check insurance quotes by VIN whenever possible. Checking insurance rates with a VIN ensures that you receive an accurate estimate that shouldn’t change much when you’re ready to purchase the policy. However, if you don’t have the vehicle’s VIN, it’s still worth obtaining insurance quotes so that you’re aware of the premium you can expect for a certain type of car.

Different auto insurance companies in your local area may be cheaper than GEICO and USAA. The best place to get your answer is to use our free comparison tool. Enter your ZIP code to start comparing auto insurance using a VIN.

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