Whether you're in the market for a new car insurance provider or want to negotiate lower rates with your current carrier, you're probably getting frustrated by the back-and-forth nature of the process. If you're looking for new insurance, you must submit the same pieces of information to multiple car insurance companies and wait for them to provide you with a rate quote. If you're in the process of negotiating new rates on your current policy, you've probably spent a significant amount of time on the phone with your provider's customer-care department. In either case, you're liable to be exhausted.
To make matters worse, you've probably revealed a great deal of personal information to the companies with which you've been dealing. In addition to your accident history and certain key pieces of demographic information, you've almost certainly provided each of these parties with your Social Security number. Unfortunately, this is a necessary part of the process of procuring car insurance.
You might be surprised to learn that there's no law against withholding your Social Security number from businesses that request it. In fact, Social Security numbers are used as de facto identification numbers simply because they have national significance. It's relatively difficult and time-consuming for your insurance company to scan 50 different state databases to find your driver's license number. By contrast, there's only one national database for Social Security numbers.
If you refuse to provide your auto insurance company with your Social Security number, you may be asked to give certain other forms of information in its stead. This is because your Social Security number is used to initiate a check of your credit history and criminal record. Although these reports can also be initiated using your address history and driver's license information, these less-reliable bits of data can promote processing delays and errors.
It's important to note that your refusal to provide your Social Security number could have unforeseen consequences. For starters, your insurance company may interpret your reticence as proof that you wish to hide an incriminating activity or event that took place in the past. It might also mean that you wish to hide a previous identity or alias. In either case, this might cause your rates to increase by a substantial margin. What's more, your insurance company might report your refusal to one of the national credit bureaus. In turn, this might have a direct impact on your credit score.