Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health insuran...

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Chris Harrigan has an economic degree from Limestone College and an MBA from Clemson University. He previously managed auto insurance claims for Enterprise Rent-A-Car. Currently, he is using his business and insurance expertise to provide insurance data analysis and visualizations to enhance the user experience.

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Reviewed by Chris Harrigan
Former Auto Insurance Claims Manager

UPDATED: Dec 16, 2021

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Key Takeaways

  • Insurance professionals will regularly ask for your Social Security number in order to check your credit, review your driving history, or confirm your identity
  • Always make sure you’re speaking to a legitimate insurance professional from a trustworthy company before providing any sensitive information
  • While you don’t necessarily need to provide an SSN in order to purchase car insurance, you’ll have fewer options and higher rates without one

Is it a bad idea to give a Social Security number when shopping for auto insurance?

While shopping for car insurance online or over the phone can be a convenient alternative to meeting with agents in person, doing so also means you need to be extra cautious about what personal information you provide.

One piece of sensitive info you should always be extra protective of is your Social Security number (SSN). While it is true that many car insurance companies will ask for your SSN before giving you a quote, this does not mean that you need to provide this information to receive an estimate.

With this guide, we’ll help you understand when to provide your SSN when shopping for car insurance, how to do so safely, and why you may want to give your SSN to insurance professionals in the first place.

After reading through this guide, enter your ZIP code in our free online quote tool to compare rates and find the car insurance that’s right for you.

Should you ever give your Social Security number when shopping for car insurance?

Although you may rightfully be hesitant to share your SSN, insurance companies asking for your Social Security information before giving you a quote is actually a fairly common practice.

Insurance companies in many states can use your SSN to review your motor vehicle record and check your credit. Allowing them to do so can even end up lowering your rates.

According to the Insurance Information Institute, insurance companies check credit scores because actuarial studies have demonstrated that these scores can help predict how likely someone is to file a claim.

Here’s a quick checklist to go over to help you decide if it’s safe to provide your SSN:

  • Are you speaking with a representative of a major insurer like State Farm or Progressive? You should avoid giving important personal information to any person representing an unknown company.
  • Did you contact the individual asking for your SSN? If not, you should verify that they represent a legitimate insurance company before providing any sensitive info.
  • Are you sure that you contacted the insurance agent asking for your SSN through the company’s official website or phone number? Take a look at this article if you’d like to learn a few tricks for spotting scam websites.

Do you need a Social Security number to get car insurance?

Strictly speaking, no, not all car insurance companies require you to provide an SSN before allowing you to purchase a policy from them. However, if you’re unable to provide an SSN, you will have fewer options to choose from when it comes to buying car insurance.

You’ll also still need to provide a driver’s license to your insurance company, and this can be difficult to obtain without an SSN. To receive car insurance without an SSN, you’ll likely need a valid driver’s license from a country outside of the United States.

Additionally, not having an SSN could result in higher quotes in states where car insurance companies routinely check your credit history when calculating your rates.

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Why do car insurance companies ask for my Social Security number?

There are a few potential reasons why an insurance professional may be requesting your SSN:

  • To verify the information that you provide about your motor vehicle record
  • To check your credit history (this is prohibited in some states)
  • To make sure they’re speaking to the correct person (this usually happens if an insurance adjuster contacts you to follow up on a claim)

The U.S. Social Security Administration recommends that you never give out your personal information to an unsolicited or otherwise unknown caller. Unless you’re expecting an insurance adjuster to contact you (and are able to verify they are who they claim to be), don’t give your SSN to anyone who contacts you and says they represent your insurer.

Will my rates be affected if I don’t give car insurance companies my Social Security number?

Yes, car insurance companies use your Social Security number to determine your risk as a driver. If you refuse to provide this information to any insurer (which is your right), your options for insurance companies will be limited, and your rates will generally be higher since insurers will view you as a higher risk.

There are some states where it’s illegal to use credit to calculate car insurance rates.

That said, if you’re just looking for estimates when comparing car insurance companies, providing your name and address alongside your vehicle information may be enough for an insurance agent to give you a quote, although it may be less accurate than an estimate obtained using your SSN.

How to Keep Your Personal Information Safe When Shopping for Car Insurance

  • Never give out any important personal information to an unsolicited or unknown caller, regardless of who they claim to be.
  • Stick with major, recognizable companies or local options that you trust when shopping for car insurance.
  • When comparing insurance online, watch out for scam websites that are set up to look like the official websites of major car insurance companies.

Are you looking for the best car insurance companies? Try our free online quote tool to find affordable insurance that’s right for you.