If you have a car, you need car insurance and when buying car insurance, there are lots of decisions to be made.
So, what do you need for you to get car insurance? We’re glad you asked.
In this post, we’ve compiled a guide of the important documentation and information you need to provide to get insurance on a car.
Why Do I Need Car Insurance?
You need car insurance for three reasons — depending on your state, type of car, and ownership. These are:
- State requirement: Getting car insurance is a law in most states in the U.S. These states require drivers to have minimum car insurance.
- Liability: Having car insurance is a good idea because it will protect you financially if you get involved in an accident. Car insurance protects you from being liable for an accident that results in property damage, injury, loss of income, or even death.
- Ownership: If your car is financed or using a leased car, your financer or leaser will want you to buy car insurance. They’re just protecting their investment from liability.
What Documents Do You Need To Get Car Insurance?
When you’re purchasing car insurance, your insurance will need the information to identify you, reach you, identify your car, learn about your insurance history and your driving record.
In general, the information and documents you need to get car insurance include:
- Personal information
- Social security number
- Driver’s License
- Banking information
- Vehicle information
- Supplemental information (to help you qualify for discounts)
The information you provide may also vary by state or insurance company. Your company will specify the information you should provide depending on whether you’re getting a new car insurance policy or continuing with the current policy.
Before anything else, you’ll need to provide the car insurance company with your personal information.
This can include your:
- Full name
- Date of birth
- Address, and
- Phone number
Make sure you provide these pieces of information as they appear on your identification documents.
Under personal information, you may also provide a driver’s license number and social security number, but we’ll discuss these as separate information.
Social Security Number
Your social security number helps insurers gather any other important information about you that may help them determine whether to accept or deny your insurance application. How?
With your social security number, insurers can see your credit history, insurance claims, criminal charges (if any), and driving history.
Insurers need your social security number to help them calculate your car insurance rates and weigh your financial risk.
Driver’s License Number
Driving without a driver’s license is a legal offense. Providing your driver’s license number and state helps ensure that you are legally allowed to drive. It also allows insurers to review information about your driving record and history.
The insurance provider will need to know about your recent tickets, citations, accidents, and any other information about your driving history or license suspension.
This way, insurers can assess your risk level and calculate your premiums based on that. The cleaner your insurance and driving record, the lower your rates will be. But a poor driving history that has accidents and citations will typically result in a higher price quote from your insurer.
Your car insurer will want to know your banking information for three reasons:
- To check your credit history and payment history
- To know your checking account number
- To know your Credit card number or associated bank routing number
This information will help the insurer set up your premium’s automatic payments.
Insurers also use the bank information to set your risk level. If you have a credit history of late payments, studies have shown that you are highly likely to make frequent claims. This may tip your insurer to set your premiums higher.
Finally, your insurer will need your vehicle information. This includes information regarding the particular car you’re insuring.
The vehicle information you may need to provide includes:
- The vehicle’s make, model, state, and year of manufacture
- Type of vehicle (saloon car, SUV, Truck, wagon, etc.)
- Vehicle identification number (VIN) — often printed on a sticker inside the driver’s side windshield or in the driver’s door. This is also called the chassis number.
- Vehicle registration plate
- Name and address of the registered owner
- Date of purchase and finance method
Vehicle information helps the insurer assess the vehicle’s condition and estimate its actual value against its associated risks. Your premiums and rates partially depend on the type and state of the car you are driving. Newer, safer car models often cost less to insure than older models, while luxury cars are expensive to insure.
Further information like safety and anti-theft additions on the vehicle can help lower the cost of your premiums.
The documents/information we’ve mentioned above are mandatory to provide to get insurance on a car. But your car insurer may request other information to back your application. Some of the additional information you may need to provide include:
- General information (name, date of birth, address, etc.) of the people who plan to drive the car you’re insuring
- Any proper moving violations or incidents
- What type of coverage you prefer to purchase. Knowing what kind of coverage you want before going in can help you bargain your premium rates.
- The deductible you can afford
- The types of discounts you may prefer (and whether you qualify)
What Documents Do You Need To Change Your Car Insurance?
If you’re purchasing a new insurance policy, we’ve said you’ll provide your driver’s license, social security number, bank information, and vehicle information. But, what if you’re adding a new vehicle or driver to your policy?
In this case, the documents and information you’ll need are similar to what you need to get insurance on a car but with some additions:
Adding A New Driver To Your Policy
What you may need for car insurance to add a new driver include:
- New driver’s information (name, date of birth, Social security number, address)
- Driver’s license number
- Driving history
- Gender, and
Adding A New Vehicle To Your Policy
If you’re adding a new vehicle to your policy, you will need:
- Vehicle VIN
- Vehicle Registration
- Significant vehicle information like age, model, condition, etc.
- Declaration page (for that car’s existing policy)
Do I Need Proof Of Insurance To Rent A Car?
Whether or not you need proof of insurance to rent a car depends entirely on the dealer or car rental company and your insurer.
Check if the rental company has already insured their cars or if you will need to buy insurance for the car you’re renting. If the dealer insures the cars, you’re good to go.
Also, check if your current policy includes coverage for rental cars. If so, then you’re good to go.
If your policy doesn’t cover rental cars, you’ll need to get short-term insurance on the car from the rental company. You can purchase the car insurance directly from the dealer.
However, you need to take caution to avoid purchasing insurance from a dealer who isn’t authorized to provide insurance.
Knowing what you need to get insurance on your car will reduce your insurance purchase time and go through the process quickly. You’ll also be prepared for any eventuality — whether the insurer accepts or disqualifies your application.