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Can you get auto insurance without a VIN?

While you can request car insurance quotes without a vehicle identification number (VIN), you cannot purchase a car insurance policy without providing a VIN. Each vehicle carries a unique VIN. This number outlines the car's driving history, including any collisions or incidents. Auto insurance companies use the data provided by VIN analysis to understand the risk associated with insuring a particular car, pricing policies accordingly. 


What is a VIN?

Your car's VIN– or vehicle identification number – is an alphanumeric string of 17 characters that combine in a unique way for each vehicle manufactured. VINs tell insurers and purchasers a host of information about the vehicle, including the manufacturing company, year, engine type, safety features, and collision history. The VIN is listed somewhere on the vehicle; often the driver's side windshield or on the driver's side door jamb on a sticker. You can also find your VIN on the vehicle's title, registration, and insurance cards. 


Auto insurance quotes: what do you need?

Because quotes are just estimates, you do not need as much information as a quote. Below is common information needed to get a quote.

Gathering quotes is a helpful first step toward deciding on a vehicle and an insurance provider. Every quote comes with a policy number — be sure to record this. Once you find a vehicle and an insurance company you like, use your policy number to fetch the quote before purchasing the policy.

The importance of VIN checks

Without a VIN check, you run the risk of buying a car with a substantial accident history or hidden damage from a natural disaster. Salvaged vehicles — those declared a total loss and subsequently repaired — are not as insurable as non-salvaged vehicles. Always run a VIN check and request an official inspection prior to buying a used vehicle.

Your insurance premium should not change significantly based on the VIN. If your premium does change after the VIN is entered, that could mean the vehicle was previously in a serious accident or has some pre-existing damage. Before you buy a used vehicle, always complete a VIN check for visibility into the history of your prospective car.


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What you need to insure and drive your vehicle

Every state (except New Hampshire) requires a minimum of liability coverage to legally drive and park on public roads. In order to get a car insurance policy, you will need the following information:

  • Driver’s license of any driver using the vehicle
  • Address
  • DOB of each driver
  • VIN
  • Gender
  • Marital status
  • *Credit score
  • *Driving history
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*Your driving record and credit score will be calculated after your policy is created and will be adjusted if the premium is greater than or less than your initial quote. However, it always helps to answer as accurately as possible.

You do not need a VIN to get a quote but you do need one to get a policy. If you want to see quotes from top insurance companies but don’t have a VIN, enter your ZIP code below!

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Ava Lynch photo
Ava LynchSenior Analyst

Ava joined The Zebra as a writer and licensed insurance agent in 2016. She now works as a senior analyst, providing insights and data analysis as one of The Zebra's property and casualty insurance experts.

Ava’s insurance career began as an agent with Farmers Insurance. Over the years, she has become an authority in all things property and casualty insurance, helping her to write informative guides for shoppers.

Ava’s work has been cited in publications such as InvestopediaThe BalanceMoney.comLiberty Mutual, U.S. News & World Report, GasBuddy, Car and Driver and Yahoo! Finance.

About The Zebra

The Zebra is not an insurance company. We publish data-backed, expert-reviewed resources to help consumers make more informed insurance decisions.

  • The Zebra’s insurance content is written and reviewed for accuracy by licensed insurance agents.
  • The Zebra’s insurance content is not subject to review or alteration by insurance companies or partners.
  • The Zebra’s editorial team operates independently of the company’s partnerships and commercialization interests, publishing unbiased information for consumer benefit.
  • The auto insurance rates published on The Zebra’s pages are based on a comprehensive analysis of car insurance pricing data, evaluating more than 83 million insurance rates from across the United States.