Car insurance is one of many modern necessities, as driving without insurance is illegal in all 50 states. Getting auto insurance can be a bit tricky, but knowing ahead of time what’s expected of you can help ensure a smooth process.
One of the first steps in planning to purchase auto insurance is reviewing the documentation you’ll need. This is something you can do before you even decide on an insurer and policy, as almost all of them will require these documents.
If you’re wondering “what documents do I need to get auto insurance?”, you’ve come to the right place. Generally, these documents will include, but are not limited to, driver’s license, social security number, banking information, and vehicle information.
For undocumented citizens looking for auto insurance, the process can be a bit more complicated, but this guide may help answer your questions.
your driver’s license
While some companies provide car insurance to someone without a driver’s license, these offers are rare and expensive. This should not be surprising, considering that driving without a license is a legal offense and implies to the insurer that you are a high-risk driver. Remember, auto insurers focus on the financial risk associated with insuring any particular driver and vehicle, above all else.
In fact, risk is one of the first things they’ll use to measure your driver’s license. By running your license number, insurance companies can look at your driving record and use that record to determine how risky it is to insure you. the cleaner your record, the lower your rates. a poor driving record, with accidents and citations, will generally result in the insurer quoting a higher price.
your social security number
Perhaps the most sensitive form of documentation you’ll need for auto insurance is your social security number. Social Security numbers are unique to each person and allow insurance companies to obtain more accurate records about potential clients. Providers use this information to help determine whether to accept a client request and determine rates for that client.
Your social security number allows insurers to see your credit history, any criminal charges you may have faced, and your insurance claim history. While it is risky to give your social security number to anyone, it is common for customers to provide this number to their provider. Each of these queries helps the insurer calculate her premium, using proprietary systems to weigh financial risk and base rate customization on that.
your bank information
Your auto insurer may also want to know your checking account number and associated bank routing number to set up automatic premium payments. The easiest way to do this may be to bring a voided check with you when you apply for auto insurance. Providing your bank information allows you to enroll in automatic payment plans, which may even qualify you for a discount on your premium.
Beyond the benefits of enabling automatic payments, certain insurers may also use this information to check other things, such as your credit history, payment history, and your credit utilization rate. Although your insurer may use your banking information to verify these records, sometimes your social security number is also used.
The insurer uses this information to help calculate clients’ risk levels, which in turn is used to calculate premium rates. the better your credit score and payment history, the lower your premiums.
your vehicle information
Copies of your vehicle registration are necessary to prove ownership of the vehicle and therefore the insurer will know the details of the car it is being asked to cover. Specifically, the insurance company will want to know the make, model, and year of the car, the vehicle identification number (VIN), what security and anti-theft features are installed, and an estimate of how many annual miles will be driven.
This information allows the insurance provider to calculate various levels of risk for the vehicle, including loss of the vehicle due to theft, the possibility of injury in a collision, and some factors that affect the probability of accidents. Providers may also investigate the car’s history to determine if there is any pre-existing damage. Knowing your car’s history helps insurers avoid paying for damage that occurred before coverage began.
Most of the necessary information can be found in your vehicle registration documents. You can also find your vin on the vehicle or on your registration documents. The location of the vin varies by car, but may be somewhat hidden for safety reasons. Determining how many annual miles you expect to drive can be a bit tricky. a helpful method is to write down the distances you run over the course of a typical week and then multiply by 52.
other information you need to provide
The documents mentioned above are going to be the main ones requested in the process of obtaining car insurance, but there are other pieces of information that your car insurer may request.
If you have dependents of driving age in your household, the insurer may need some details about them. Proof of residency and parking information are commonly required. The company will also need to know how many people will be driving any car to be insured.
Beyond these details, there are some decisions to make. You’ll need to determine how much coverage you want and whether you want more than the state-required liability coverage. You’ll also need to decide the size of your deductible. The lower the deductible, the more insurance it will provide on your behalf in the event of a claim, but the higher your premiums will be.
It may be helpful to write down any additional questions or concerns you may have ahead of time. When you go to your appointment, bring your appointment list with you. doing this will give you time to research and consider all of your options while making sure you don’t forget any pressing issues you have.
- Your driver’s license is needed to verify your status as a legal driver and to research your driving record
- Your social security number allows the insurer to run credit checks and verify criminal record
- your bank information is primarily needed if you want to sign up for an auto payment plan
- your vehicle information is how the company will know which car to insure and how expensive it will be to repair in the event of an incident
The paperwork required to purchase auto insurance can be extensive, but most of these documents are easy to obtain. Your personal documentation should be easy enough to retrieve and the vehicle information can be found on the vehicle registration form that came with the car. Once you have your paperwork in order, all that’s left is to shop around and apply for auto insurance. remember to compare premiums and coverage options between companies and be on the lookout for discounts. Check out our complete guide to car insurance questions for more information.