Can You Get Car Insurance Without a VIN?

You can get car insurance quotes without a VIN, but most likely not a binding policy.

Theresa Stevens
Theresa Stevens
  • AFCPE Accredited Financial Counselor

  • 6 years experience in the personal financial industry

Theresa is a writer and former financial advisor with experience helping clients solve money challenges. She uses her expertise to clarify complex personal finance concepts.


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Sarah Archambault
Sarah Archambault
  • Experienced personal finance writer

  • Background working with banks and insurance companies

Sarah enjoys helping people find smarter ways to spend their money. She covers auto financing, banking, credit cards, credit health, insurance, and personal loans.

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Updated May 13, 2024

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Quick Facts
  • Some auto insurers allow you to get real-time quotes without a VIN.

  • Providing a VIN may result in more accurate quotes.

  • You can usually find the VIN on a vehicle’s windshield or title.

What is a VIN?

A VIN, or vehicle identification number, is a 17-character code that every vehicle gets when it’s manufactured. A VIN can tell you a lot about a vehicle, such as its country of origin, service history, and recalls.

You typically don’t need a VIN to request auto insurance quotes. But you’ll need one to finalize your insurance application.[1]

You don’t need a VIN for a real-time quote

The good news is you probably won’t need a VIN to get a car insurance quote. But when you’re ready to buy a binding policy, you’ll need to provide a VIN to complete the process.

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Information you need to get a car insurance quote

Most insurance-comparison tools or insurance professionals require you to provide some or all of the following information to get a car insurance quote:[2]

  • Name: Insurance-comparison websites ask for your name and the names of anyone else of driving age in your household, though the specific requirements vary by insurance company and state.

  • ZIP code: Your location affects your auto insurance rate significantly. Most platforms ask for your ZIP code so they can adjust your quote accordingly.

  • Driver’s license: An insurance-comparison website may ask you to provide your driver’s license details, such as your driver’s license number, issue date, and expiration date.

  • Age: Your age is one of the most important factors that affects car insurance rates. Drivers younger than 25 typically pay higher auto premiums than older, more experienced drivers.

  • Gender: Your gender can also affect your auto insurance premiums, which is why you may be asked to share this information when requesting quotes.

  • Ownership status: An insurance-comparison site may ask whether you own, lease, or finance your vehicle as part of the quote process.

  • Make, model, and year of your vehicle: Insurance rates are partly determined by the year, make, and model of your vehicle, so you’ll likely need to provide these details to get a quote.

Don’t buy a car without a VIN

In general, buying a car without a VIN isn’t a good idea.

For example, if a used car you want to buy doesn’t have a VIN or the VIN looks like it’s been altered in any way, it could mean it’s stolen.[3] Or if the seller is unwilling to provide the VIN, this is typically a big red flag, and you should consider walking away from the sale.

What you need to get a car insurance policy

Aside from the VIN, here’s some additional information you may need to provide to get a car insurance policy:[4]

  • Your name and address

  • Names of anyone else you want to be covered under the policy

  • Date of birth

  • Marital status

  • Social Security number

  • Driving history

  • Vehicle information (year, exact make, mileage, etc.)

Additionally, you’ll also want to determine which insurance coverage is best for you, such as liability-only or full coverage. Liability insurance is usually cheaper than full coverage, though coverage is more limited. If you lease or finance your car, the lender will probably require you to purchase a full-coverage auto policy.

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How to compare car insurance quotes

If you’re in the market for a new car insurance policy, it’s a good idea to compare multiple quotes to find the best coverage and price for your needs. You can compare quotes on an insurance-comparison website or with your insurance agent.

Here’s how to compare car insurance quotes to aid in your financial decision-making process.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/91ba6cf35a/insurify-icons-auto-orange-96x96_045-document.svg

    1. Enter your personal details

    You’ll first need to provide general information about yourself, such as your name and ZIP code, to receive personalized quotes.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/fa11c1fe75/comparison-website.svg

    2. Choose your coverage type and deductible

    Next, you’ll want to make sure you’re comparing apples to apples by choosing the same insurance policy terms for each quote. It’s a good idea to pick one coverage type, such as liability or full coverage, and one deductible amount, such as $500 or $1,000.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/100x100/24f1697280/car-key.svg

    3. Select optional coverages

    The next step is to add on any optional insurance products you want to compare, such as rental reimbursement, roadside assistance, and gap insurance.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/x/169fdfde11/liability-coverage.svg

    4. Compare liability coverage limits

    Liability coverage limits are the maximum amount of coverage for liability claims resulting from an accident. Think about the coverage limit you’re comfortable with before requesting quotes.

  • illustration card https://a.storyblok.com/f/162273/150x150/77597ef857/banking-96x96-blue_032-credit-card.svg

    5. Choose a policy and payment method

    Finally, it’s time to select a policy and pay your premium. Most insurers allow you to pay your premium up front or monthly. Some insurers may offer discounts or other financial offers to customers who pay for their policy in advance.

Insurance without VIN FAQs

Here’s some additional information about securing car insurance without a car’s vehicle identification number.

  • Why do VINs matter?

    VINs matter because they provide important information about a vehicle and its history. A VIN can tell you many things about a car, including where it was manufactured, its airbag type, its engine size, and its model year.

  • What happens if the VIN is missing?

    If the VIN is missing or has been altered in any way, it could mean the vehicle was stolen. If you simply can’t find your VIN anywhere on the vehicle or its paperwork, call the dealer or manufacturer for help.

  • Why is my VIN not found?

    A VIN may be not found due to an error during the VIN assignment process at the manufacturing plant. Less commonly, a VIN may not be found because it was altered to hide the fact that it’s a stolen or salvaged vehicle.[5]

  • What happens if a VIN doesn’t match the title?

    If the VIN doesn’t match up with the information on the car’s title, it can be cause for concern. A VIN mismatch can be due to something as innocent as a typo during the registration process. But it can also indicate something more serious, such as potential fraud or theft.

Sources

  1. United States Department of Transportation. "VIN Decoder."
  2. Insurance Information Institute. "What information do I need to give to my agent or company?."
  3. National Highway Traffic Safety Administration. "Vehicle Identification Numbers."
  4. National Association of Insurance Commissioners. "A Consumer's Guide to Auto Insurance."
  5. National Insurance Crime Bureau. "Vehicle Identification Inspection Guide."
Theresa Stevens
Theresa Stevens

Theresa Stevens is a personal finance writer based in Boston, Massachusetts. Her work has been featured in Forbes Advisor, Bankrate, and more. As a former financial advisor, she has first-hand experience helping people solve their money challenges. When she's not writing, you'll find her trying out new karaoke spots or planning her next trip abroad.

Sarah Archambault
Sarah Archambault
  • Experienced personal finance writer

  • Background working with banks and insurance companies

Sarah enjoys helping people find smarter ways to spend their money. She covers auto financing, banking, credit cards, credit health, insurance, and personal loans.

Featured in

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