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How can I find the trim designation and VIN number on a car?

I inherited my mother's car and I'm trying to get insurance for it. I thought I found the VIN number, but when I try to get quotes online the website tells me it isn't valid. The insurance companies also want to know the trim designation on the car and I don't see it anywhere! How I can understand where and how to find this information to insure the vehicle? Thank you!

Jan 30, 2023 St. Petersburg, FL

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Beth Swanson

SEO Content Strategist

  • Licensed Insurance Agent — Property and Casualty

Beth joined The Zebra in 2022 as an Associate Content Strategist. She is a licensed insurance agent whose goal is to make insurance content easy to r…

Great question!

Trim and VIN locations can be hard to find with the wide variety of cars and trucks we have today. Even when you find it, it's not always easy to interpret. Typically if you look at the back of the vehicle it should list the trim; usually on the trunk. For example, if you were to look at the back of a Honda Civic you may see something like, "Civic LX" on the back of the car.  The LX is the trim. Other common trim names will be S (Sport), SE (Sport Edition), LX (Luxury), and EX (Extra). There are many other trim names based on the style or make and model of the vehicle. If you cannot find it on the back of your car, you'll be able to find it on the vehicle registration.

The VIN number should definitely be on the vehicle in a couple of places. It can be tricky to find if you don't know where to look. It's usually on the driver's side dashboard or lower windshield area — stand outside the car facing into the car and look toward the bottom right corner. You should be able to find it on a sticker inside the front driver's side door, too. It might also be on the front of the engine block or underneath a spare tire.

Since you're having trouble getting quotes on the website with your VIN number, there could be a couple of things going on. If the vehicle is not yet in our system due to the year, make, or model then you might receive this error. Also, sometimes the VIN that was input is not correct, so try again to make sure it wasn't just a typo.

But there are certain letters and numbers that can be mistaken for one another (like O and 0).  In fact, the letters I, O, Q, U, and Z will never be in a VIN because they are often mistaken for numbers. If this still doesn't help, the best thing to do would be to call our agency to get a personalized quote at 888-444-8949. A licensed insurance advisor will assist you with finding a carrier that may accept that VIN, if it isn't an input error. If all goes well you can have ID cards by the end of your call!

Hopefully, this will make things easier on your next vehicle!

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