What do I need to get car insurance?

To buy a car insurance policy, you’ll need your driver’s license number, Social Security Number, your car’s VIN, make, and model, your credit card number, and other information.

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Rachael Brennan

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

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The best way to find car insurance is to shop around and compare quotes from multiple top companies before you pick a policy. But, to get an accurate quote, you’ll need to have a significant amount of information on hand about yourself and your car. Here’s what information you need to get car insurance quotes and buy a policy.

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Key takeaways

  • Your insurance company may pull most or all of your information right from your driver’s license number , VIN, or other identifying information.

  • You’ll probably need to provide documentation for certain discounts, including copies of report cards, membership cards, and military ID cards.

  • A copy of your car’s title and any other documentation from when you bought your car will likely have a lot of the information you need to give your insurance company.

What documents do I need to get car insurance?

While you don’t need to provide any actual documentation to get a car insurance quote, you’ll need to share some info, and you will likely need to provide copies of some documents when you decide to actually buy a policy

However, because so much information is now available electronically, your insurance company may be able to access the necessary documentation without a physical copy.

Personal information

Because car insurance rates are based on your profile as a driver, you can’t get a quote without giving at least some personal information. Here’s the information you’ll need to have on hand to get car insurance:

You may be asked to provide a copy of your driver’s license, but most insurance companies will be able to get your information electronically.

There are other things your car insurance company may or may not need to know about you, including your credit score and marital status.

If you live in a state where insurance companies can use your credit score to set your rates, the insurance company will run your credit report (they’ll do what’s called a “soft pull,” meaning it won’t affect your score). You may even be asked to provide a copy of your marriage certificate to prove you’re married and qualify for slightly lower rates. 

Vehicle information

Your insurance company will need to know a significant amount of information about your car, including:

A copy of your car’s title and any other documentation from when you bought your car will likely have all the information you need to provide to your insurance company. Remember, you’ll need this info for all the vehicles you want to include on the policy. 

Financial information

When you buy a car insurance policy, you’ll need to make your first payment up front. This means you’ll need to provide a credit card number or your banking information when you buy car insurance.

In some cases, your insurance company may ask for a voided check if you plan to have payments taken out of your checking account every month.

➞ Learn more about how to pay your car insurance payments

Discount information

Most car insurance companies offer a wide variety of discounts. If you want to get a discount to help lower your rate, you may need to provide documentation for it.

  • Good student discount: Have a copy of your most recent report card available to take advantage of the good student discount.

  • Military discount: Have a copy of your military I.D. and your enrollment paperwork to use your insurance company’s military discount.

  • Safe driving discount: If your company requires it, submit a copy of your certificate of completion from a safe driving or defensive driving course to get a safe driving discount.

  • Membership discount: Many insurance companies offer discounts for people affiliated with certain employers, organizations, or other groups, so providing a copy of your pay stub, membership card, or enrollment paperwork might help you get a membership discount.

➞ Learn more about car insurance discounts

What else do I need to get car insurance?

In addition to specific documents and information, you’ll need to know what types of coverage you are required to have when you get car insurance. Each state is different, so you may or may not be required to have personal injury protection, uninsured motorist coverage, or MedPay, depending on where you live. 

And drivers who have a loan or lease may be required to purchase comprehensive and collision coverage in addition to the liability insurance required by law.

The chart below shows the required levels of coverage and the average cost for minimum car insurance requirements by state:

State

Required car insurance coverage

Average annual cost of minimum coverage

Alabama

25/50/25

$611

Alaska

50/100/25

$433

Arizona

25/50/15

$640

Arkansas

25/50/25

$524

California

15/30/5

$601

Colorado

25/50/15

$544

Connecticut

25/50/25, UM 25/50

$949

Delaware

25/50/10, PIP 15/30

$988

District of Columbia

2550/10, UM25/50/5

$678

Florida

PIP 10, PD 10

$1,253

Georgia

25/50/25

$817

Hawaii

20/40/10, PIP 10

$424

Idaho

25/50/15

$400

Illinois

25/50/20, UM 25/50

$558

Indiana

25/50/25, UM 25/50

$453

Iowa

20/40/15

$317

Kansas

25/50/25, PIP 4.5, UM 25/50

$493

Kentucky

25/50/10, PIP 10, UM 25/50

$931

Louisiana

15/30/25

$993

Maine

50/100/25, UM50/100, MedPay 2

$448

Maryland

30/60/15, UM 30/60/15

$898

Massachusetts

20/40/5, PIP 8, UM 20/40

$612

Michigan

*50/100/10, PIP

$888

Minnesota

30/60/10, PIP 20/20, UM 25/50

$547

Mississippi

25/50/25

$543

Missouri

25/50/10, UM 25/50

$564

Montana

25/50/10

$497

Nebraska

25/50/25, UM 25/50

$424

Nevada

25/50/20, UM 25/50

$958

New Hampshire

**25/50/25, PIP 1

$462

New Jersey

15/30/5, PIP 15/250

$1,154

New Mexico

25/50/10

$459

New York

25/50/10, PIP 50, UM 25/50

$974

North Carolina

30/60/25, UM 60

$423

North Dakota

25/50/25, PIP 30, UM 25/50

$406

Ohio

25/50/25

$386

Oklahoma

25/50/25

$496

Oregon

25/50/20, PIP 15, UM 25/50

$769

Pennsylvania

15/30/5, PIP 5

$501

Rhode Island

25/50/25, UM 25/50

$868

South Carolina

25/50/25, UM 25/50

$779

South Dakota

25/50/25, UM 25/50

$339

Tennessee

25/50/15

$460

Texas

30/60/25

$643

Utah

25/65/15, PIP 3

$672

Vermont

25/50/10, UM 50/100/10

$380

Virginia

*** 25/50/20, UM 25/50

$570

Washington

25/50/10

$619

West Virginia

25/50/25, UM 25/50

$626

Wisconsin

25/50/10, UM 25/50

$348

Wyoming

25/50/20

$321

*PIP levels are determined based on your health insurance

**Coverage in New Hampshire is legally optional

***Coverage in Virginia is legally optional for a fee of $500

But just getting the minimum amount of car insurance required in your state can leave you seriously unprotected in case of an accident.

→ Learn more about recommended amounts of car insurance

Frequently asked questions

Do you need a title to get car insurance?

You need to own your vehicle to be able to insure it, but most car insurance companies can get your title information electronically with nothing more than the VIN. You likely won't need to have your physical title in hand when buying an insurance policy.

What is recommended for car insurance coverage?

The best case scenario is drivers having a minimum of 100/300/100 in liability coverage in addition to comprehensive and collision coverage for their own vehicle. This is enough to cover all expenses in the vast majority of accidents. Realistically, drivers should buy as much car insurance as they can reasonably afford.

Do you have to have car insurance?

If you own a car, you are required by law to have car insurance in all but two states. Beyond the legal requirements, you are responsible for paying for any damage you cause in an at-fault accident in every single state, which means not having insurance (or not having enough of it) could leave you responsible for paying tens (or even hundreds) of dollars out-of-pocket after an accident.

How do I get car insurance for the first time?

First time drivers who are teenagers are best served by being added to their parent’s auto insurance policy. Adults and teens who need to purchase a policy on their own should determine exactly how much car insurance they need, gather their documents, and work with an insurance expert to compare quotes from multiple companies.

Methodology

Policygenius has analyzed car insurance rates provided by Quadrant Information Services for every ZIP code in all 50 states, plus Washington, D.C. 

For full coverage policies, the following coverage limits were used:

  • Bodily injury liability: 50/100

  • Property damage liability: $50,000

  • Uninsured/underinsured motorist: 50/100

  • Comprehensive: $500 deductible

  • Collision: $500 deductible

In some cases, additional coverages were added where required by the state or insurer.

Rates for overall average rate, rates by ZIP code, and cheapest companies determined using averages for single drivers age 30, 35, and 45. Our sample vehicle was a 2017 Toyota Camry LE driven 10,000 miles per year.

Rates for driving violations and “poor” credit were determined using average rates for a single male 30-year-old driver with a credit score under 578.

Some carriers may be represented by affiliates or subsidiaries. Rates provided are a sample of insurance costs. Your actual quotes may differ.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

Rachael Brennan

Senior Editor & Licensed Auto Insurance Expert

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Rachael Brennan is a senior editor and a licensed auto insurance expert at Policygenius. Her work has also been featured in MoneyGeek, Clearsurance, Adweek, Boston Globe, The Ladders, and AutoInsurance.com.

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