Why Do You Need the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) for a Binder?

18 Jan 2017

where to find the vehicle identification numberMy first job in the auto insurance industry was as a Rater for a North West insurance company. A Rater's job was to take the Vehicle Identification Number of the car and look up in big Insurance Services Office (ISO) catalogs and determine the symbol or value of the car. I learned that each letter and number stood for the country it was manufactured in, the name of the manufacturer, the model, and many other features of the car. It even tells you what day of the week the car was assembled. With each of those data items I could then look up what the price of the insurance was for that car. That was all done by hand back then, in the 1980s.

Now, rating a car is done by computer. Each letter and number still stands for a feature about the car as it did back then, but the details are rated instantly! My old job of Rater, of course, has been eliminated. In addition to determining the exact year, make and model of the car, the VIN also helps check the claim history of the vehicle. That's right, insurance companies now price the insurance based on the exact history of that vehicle. You could have two identical vehicles and one costs more to insure than another because it's been in more accidents or had more claims. This technology age is wonderful! But somethings, not so much. Auto insurance companies especially now want to weed out cars with reconstructed titles or been "branded". Some companies won't even insure them anymore, putting the car, not the driver, in a high-risk category.

Now you see why it is critical that we have the exact VIN to give you an accurate quote. And, of course, the dealer and finance company or bank will want to see the correct VIN on the binder paperwork before they lend you the money to buy the car. Where do you find the VIN? On the registration or title, on the dashboard or in the driver's door frame.