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What details do I need for car insurance?

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Here's what you need to know...

  • Auto insurance products are priced like standard consumer goods. Since the rates are based on risk, everyone’s premiums are personalized
  • To get an auto insurance quote, you must provide accurate information and honest answers
  • The most common information you must provide includes: date of birth, license number, conviction dates, accident dates, vehicle information, household members, vehicle usage, annual mileage, and other information
  • When you apply for coverage, the insurance carrier will ask you for more detailed answers
  • It’s possible for your auto insurance quote to change after underwriting if new information is discovered by the underwriter

Getting auto insurance quotes can be a time-consuming process when you’re not prepared. Since an auto insurance policy is a legally-binding contract, the insurer asks for a lot of information to ensure the company isn’t taking on the wrong risks.

If you’d like to shop around for auto insurance, preparation is the key. By gathering all of the documents and information that you need before you start the process, you can save both time and money.

You start getting quotes today by entering your zip code in our FREE comparison tool!

What is the difference between a quote and an application?


A car insurance quote is an estimate of what your auto insurance rate might be through a specific carrier. Since all carriers weigh factors differently, shopping around for several different quotes is necessary to find the best rates.

While comparison shopping is necessary, the estimates that you receive aren’t binding.

You must submit an application for coverage – once that application is fully underwritten, you’ll see your actual rate for the term. It’s possible to be quoted a rate and then to receive a bill with a higher rate after the 30- or 60-day underwriting period.

What information must I provide for my auto insurance quote?

When you’re soliciting auto insurance quotes, most companies will ask you for the same pieces of information. This information helps the agent place you in a rate class. If you aren’t dishonest about your habits or history, you can easily be misquoted.

You should be prepared to give the following information:

  • Your full name, date of birth, and marital status
  • How many years you’ve been licensed in the US or internationally
  • Your vehicle make, model, and safety features
  • The territory where your vehicle is garaged
  • Your driving record and accident history for the preceding 3 to 5 years
  • Vehicle uses and annual mileage estimates
  • Household members and licensing information for those who have access to your vehicle
  • Occupation and professional affiliations
  • Good student information and driver training for drivers under 25
  • Property ownership information
  • Credit rating
  • Whether or not you have prior insurance

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Additional Information for an Application

While the above list is a lot of information, most of it is information you’d know off the top of your head. However, once you submit an application a company will ask for more specific information.

Here are some specifics an underwriter may need:

  • The VIN of each vehicle that you’re covering
  • The odometer of each vehicle
  • Mailing address
  • Actual annual mileage estimates
  • The number of miles in your daily commute
  • The dates of past moving violations
  • The dates of major driving infractions like a DUI or reckless driving conviction in the last seven to ten years
  • The dates of at-fault accidents within the last three years
  • The name and address of loss payees or lessors
  • The name of your prior carrier with coverage dates
  • Mature driver training dates and certificates for senior drivers
  • Driver training certificates for younger operators

What documents can help you get the information that you need?


It’s going to be hard to remember the specifics of all this information. Luckily, there are documents you can request in advance to ensure the full accuracy of your history.

Here are some documents you may want to prepare before applying for auto insurance:

– A Letter of Experience

A letter of experience does to different things. First, it shows the insurer you’ve had prior insurance with a carrier. Second, it helps remove errors from your claims history. Ask your previous insurer to draft a letter of experience for you.

– Your Declarations Page

declarations page will show you how you’re being rated with your current insurer. If you don’t know what limits you’re carrying, or if you don’t know your loss payee clause, you can find all of this on your current declarations page. Don’t confuse the declarations page for your insurance ID card.

– Your Banking Information

Some insurance companies offer automatic withdrawals. To set this up, be sure to have a canceled check or your account number on hand when applying.

– Your Prior Driver License Number or Driving Abstract

For drivers who have been licensed in other states, it’s important to have prior licensing information. A driver abstract or your old licensing information will demonstrate your previous experience to your insurer.

The more information you have, the better. If you have everything that you need for quotes, start shopping around now. Size up the coverage that you have now and then modify it if necessary.

Enter your zip code in our FREE comparison tool to get started!

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