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What documents do you need to get car insurance?

Things to remember...

  • When you’re getting quotes to compare auto insurance you can provide basic information so that the company can give you estimates
  • The more accurate the information that you provide, the more accurate your quote estimates will be
  • When you apply for insurance, having the documents that the insurer requests on standby is a must
  • You’ll need to provide a copy of your driver’s license, a driving abstract from states you were previously licensed in, and a copy of your foreign license if you’re currently licensed out of the county
  • If you’ve been licensed by another company before, you may need to provide your declarations page or a Letter of Experience to get credits and to show that you’re claim-free

Car insurance is one of those products you can only avoid purchasing if you choose to never own a car.

If you want to enjoy the freedom that owning a car offers you, you’re going to have to solicit auto insurance quotes and choose which quote is best for you and your budget.

After you compare pricing, you’ll have to apply for the policy and provide all of the detailed information that your agent asks for.

You don’t have to provide a stack full of documents to get an auto quote, but you do need to provide some information that can only be found in reports when you apply for coverage.

If you are trying to get prepared so you can buy insurance, here are some of the documents that you need in your file so that you can answer every question correctly.

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Table of Contents

Why do you need to get auto insurance quotes?

An auto insurance quote is an estimate that gives consumers the information that they need to decide on a carrier. Since insurance premiums are based on so many different rating factors, everyone’s rates are different.

The only way that you can really shop the market is to solicit quotes and compare them.

When you’re getting insurance quotes, you need to provide some of your personal information. The only way that you can go about getting an accurate quote is to provide information about you, your vehicle, and your driving habits.

You don’t need to show an agent any documents if you’re just getting a casual quote, but you do need to provide accurate answers to the best of your knowledge.

Virtually all personal auto insurance companies will ask for the same basic information to give you estimates.

This is the information that’s needed to put you in a rate class and to give you all of the discounts that you’re eligible for. If you’ve never gotten a quote by phone or online, here’s some of the information you’re going to have to provide:

  • Age, sex, years licensed, and type of license each driver in the household holds
  • The year, make, and model of cars in the home
  • The number of drivers and which vehicles they will be assigned to
  • The coverage options for each vehicle in the home
  • How many miles each car is driven and how the vehicle is used
  • ZIP code where the vehicle is parked
  • Whether or not your drivers under 25 are eligible for Good Student Discounts
  • Credit score

Why do you need more information to apply for insurance?

You can get quotes for free as long as you’re not doing business with a brokerage that charges a brokerage fee. After you get your free quotes, the next step is completing an application.

It’s much like getting a pre-approval for a loan and then having to provide detailed information when you’re ready to apply.

Agents don’t ask you everything when you’re getting quotes because it can extend how long it takes to give you the pricing information that you need.

Since a lot of the details you need to provide won’t change the insurance rate, you won’t be asked for all of the details right away.

Much of the information that you provide it so that the insurer can verify the picture that you’re painting. They need to look at your records and history to fact check. Some of the documents that you should have to complete the application include:

  • Driver’s licenses for all drivers
  • The title of each vehicle
  • The loss payee clause for financed cars
  • Claims Loss History letter
  • Your current declarations page
  • A canceled check EFT payments

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What details do I need for auto insurance?

To get an auto insurance quote, you must provide your date of birth, license number, accident details, and vehicle information.

  • 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 are 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 year, 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
  • Possibly 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 two 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

A 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!


  1. https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-an-insurance-quote-527552
  2. http://www.insureuonline.org/consumer_auto_faqs.htm
  3. https://www.thebalance.com/paperwork-needed-for-car-insurance-527454
  4. http://uphelp.org/pubs/sample-letter-requesting-claim-payment-history
  5. http://insurance.illinois.gov/autoinsurance/shopping_auto_ins.asp
  6. http://www.investopedia.com/articles/pf/06/carinsurance.asp
  7. http://www.dfr.vermont.gov/sites/default/files/Auto%20Handbook%202018.pdf
  8. https://enlightenme.com/auto-insurance-information/
  9. http://www.insurance.ca.gov/0250-insurers/0500-legal-info/0500-gen-legal-info/0100-brkr-fee-reg-summ/
  10. https://www.irmi.com/online/insurance-glossary/terms/l/loss-payable-clause.aspx
  11. https://www.thebalance.com/what-is-electronic-funds-transfer-527053

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