What Do I Need to Get Car Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

Car and Driver, Hearst Autos Research
·5 min read
Photo credit: Future Publishing - Getty Images
Photo credit: Future Publishing - Getty Images

What Are the Requirements to Obtain Car Insurance?

To secure car insurance, you need to provide certain documents, some of which include the following:

  • Your driver's license. Some insurers will give insurance to people without a license, but those instances are rare and expensive. That shouldn't be a surprise, considering it's illegal to drive without a license and makes you a high-risk driver. When insurers run your license, they can examine your driving history and determine how risky you are to insure. The cleaner your driving record, the lower the rates you'll get.

  • Your Social Security number (SSN). These numbers are unique to each individual and let the insurer gain additional information about you. You might be concerned about sharing your SSN with insurance companies, but it's a common practice to give this to companies looking to provide you a service. Insurers use this data to determine whether or not to accept you as a customer and to calculate your rate. Your SSN lets the insurer examine your credit history, any criminal charges you might have, and your history of insurance claims.

  • Your bank information. The insurer might want your checking account number and bank routing number to set up automatic payments. The best way to do this is to bring a voided check with you when you apply for insurance. Giving this information might give you a discount on your premium if you agree to an automatic payment plan. Insurers can use this information to check credit history and payment history much like they would with your SSN. Your bank account information is also used to calculate risk levels to determine the premium rate.

  • Your vehicle information. Bring your vehicle registration to prove vehicle ownership so the insurer knows the details of the vehicle you want to cover. Specifically, the insurer will want to know the model, make, and year, the vehicle identification number (VIN), anti-theft features, and an estimate of annual miles. Insurers use this information to determine the risk level of the vehicle, including theft possibility and chance of injury during a collision. If you're unsure about annual miles, Coverage.com recommends you determine the weekly miles you drive and multiply it by 52.

  • A current declaration page. If you have current coverage on any vehicles that you're seeking a quote, bring the current insurance declaration page to show proof of coverage.

How Can You Make Changes to a Policy?

Most changes made to your insurance coverage are straightforward, but certain ones do require you to submit additional documentation. Some of these examples include the following:

  • Including a new person or vehicle. When adding another driver, you need to provide the same information you provided when you applied for insurance. This includes the driver's license, SSN, vehicle information, and bank information. To add a new vehicle, make sure you bring the vehicle registration and VIN. If you have existing coverage on the vehicle, bring the declaration to prove current coverage.

  • Removing a person. Although it's not required if you drop a person from a policy, you can bring proof of new insurance. Since car insurance is mandatory when driving, this proves that the person still has coverage.

  • Canceling a policy. You can bring proof of replacement coverage when you want to cancel a policy. Your old insurer might not cancel your old policy until you prove that new coverage exists.

What Paperwork Will Insurers Provide You?

You're not the only party that must provide documentation for car insurance. The insurer also sends vital pieces of information to you, and you must hang onto those documents. According to The Balance, the paperwork includes the following:

  • Car insurance policy. The policy gives you all the information you need for coverage. These policies can be lengthy, so make sure you take the time to go through everything fully.

  • Proof of insurance. Keep this information in a secure place within your vehicle. If you're pulled over by a law enforcement officer or involved in an accident, you will need to provide this document.

How Do You Get Auto Insurance?

When looking into car insurance, you should know the different types of coverage available as well as the coverage amount you must carry. Every state has its own mandated minimum coverage amounts when it comes to property damage liability and bodily injury liability. You might also want add-on coverage to protect you and your vehicle from other incidents. The types of coverage available include the following:

  • Collision and comprehensive coverage. This type of coverage protects you in accidents and gives additional coverage from inclement weather, vandalism, and theft.

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist coverage: If you are involved in an accident with a driver who lacks adequate insurance coverage, this type of coverage protects you.

  • Roadside assistance. If you experience a flat tire, need gas, or are stranded, this coverage can help pay for this.

  • Personal injury protection (PIP). This covers death benefits, lost income, and medical expenses regarding an accident.

Once you decide upon your coverage, make sure you gather a few quotes. Compare the costs from several companies to determine which ones offer the best price for what you need. Look into the insurer's customer satisfaction, location availability, coverage, and cost.

After you decide on a company, contact the insurance company directly. One of its agents will ask for all your documentation, information regarding your vehicle, and what type of coverage you desire.

When you're looking to purchase car insurance, you need to provide several pieces of documentation, including your driver's license, SSN, and bank information. You should also bring information about your vehicle, such as its registration and VIN. If you ever change aspects of your policy, including adding a person or vehicle, you must provide this information again.

Check this out if you need additional information, resources, or guidance on car insurance.







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