If you’re an automobile owner in the U.S., you’re most certainly familiar with the ins and outs of car insurance. However, when sharing your personal information with your insurance company and DMV, it may not occur to you how important your vehicle identification number, or VIN, truly is when it comes to your insurance policy and driving history. Here, we will look at just three of how your car’s vehicle identification number is not only useful but important in maintaining your safety and personal information while out on the road.
According to the National Insurance Crime Bureau, no two VINs are alike and should be viewed like a new car’s Social Security number. The 17 numbers and letters in the VIN are used primarily to connect a car with its rightful owner and can cut how much time is needed to find the car if it’s ever stolen. The vehicle identification number is like a code that can reveal to law enforcement and your insurance company the make and model of the car, ensuring that your ownership is guaranteed in the event of theft or an accident.
If needed, an “insurance in check” will notify authenticate your ownership. No matter your financial situation, when you sign on to a new insurance policy, it’s a good idea to ask your new insurance company if you qualify for a free VIN check. In some instances, this can affect your car insurance quote and, for the long run, dictate how much money you can save.
In our era of frequent identity theft, remember a vehicle identification number is to your benefit in many ways. The VIN tells you, your insurance company, and law enforcement the car’s history as noted above. This is particularly important if you’re purchasing a used car or work in the salvage vehicle industry, selling older cars for scrap. With a VIN number, you’re legally assured that the car you’re purchasing from the dealership was never stolen or involved in an accident.
A VIN also puts you and your car in a specific time and place in the event of a crime or accident, which is its true purpose in the first place. Before you worry about keeping your shopping habits a secret, remember that your credit card is ever stolen and used. Yet, you were in another place at that time; your VIN can help you recoup your financial losses and press charges for identity theft.
Don’t worry about your shopping habits or spending habits during such an emergency, as your personal identity information and bank account security are of much greater importance. As a shopper, be aware that retailers keep records of both your credit card used and, in many instances, security videos of your parked automobile. If they don’t match up and you’ve been scammed, your car’s vehicle identification number can be used as a major clue in finding the culprit of any identity theft in which you were the victim. In this manner, your car’s whereabouts and road history, as dictated by its VIN, is a tremendous benefit.
A fundamental reason your automobile has its own unique identification number is to protect you and your own safety in the event of an automaker recall. The VIN can help you learn about any dangers reported with the make and model of your car and if the original manufacturer is seeking to fix glitches. If there have been reports of airbag safety issues or brake problems noted with your car’s year and design, for example, a simple search will notify you about it immediately.
By checking with the U.S. Department of Transportations’ National Highway Traffic Safety Administration Safety and Recall online database, you can review any of your car manufacturer’s official recalls over the last decade. Whether a new car or a used vehicle, your model would show up in the search. Also, you can always double-check with the National Motor Vehicle Title Information System for similar information or contact the original manufacturer itself. However, in every instance, your car’s vehicle identification number is crucial in obtaining the important updates you need.