Why Do Auto Insurance Companies Ask for Social Security Numbers When Providing Quotes?

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff |  

In order to obtain an accurate auto insurance quote, you'll need to provide your prospective carrier with several important pieces of information. For starters, you'll need to offer your current address as well as your "garaging" ZIP Code. Although most people keep their cars parked close to their homes, some city-dwellers may park their vehicles at a remote facility. If you've lived in your current location for less than two years, you'll also need to provide your previous address. If you don't have a permanent address, you should provide the address of the location at which you stay most frequently.

You must also provide certain background information about yourself and your vehicle. This might include your full name, any aliases that you might have used in the past, your driver's license number, the make and model of your vehicle, and any pertinent information about past accidents or moving violations. In addition, you might also be asked to provide your Social Security number.

After offering a great deal of personal information, you might be curious as to why your insurance company demands your Social Security number. Unfortunately, this is a standard practice that enables information-hungry insurance providers to obtain detailed reports on your credit history and criminal background. While it's possible to conduct credit and background checks without the target's Social Security number, searches that use this additional piece of information are liable to be far more accurate and expedient.

It's important to note that your refusal to reveal your Social Security number might not be to your benefit. While you'll be standing firm on your commitment to uphold your personal privacy and depriving your insurance company of a powerful piece of leverage, you'll also be consigning yourself to higher auto insurance rates. The logic behind this unfortunate fact is simple: If you refuse to comply with a seemingly reasonable request for your Social Security number, you appear to be willing to go to great lengths to hide incriminating details about your past. Even if this isn't the case, your insurance company is certain to question your motives.

At the same time, it's also perfectly legal for you to refuse to provide this information. If you choose not to give your Social Security number to your insurance carrier, it will obtain the information that it requires through other means. In return, you should expect to pay a "non-disclosure" penalty of between 25 and 50 percent of your total annual premium.

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