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Steps for Finding Your VIN Number

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Steps for Finding Your VIN Number


Your vehicle insurance number (VIN) is a helpful identification tool every car owner should understand. The VIN is a string of 17 letters and numbers that are unique to your vehicle. Just as you use your social security number to identify yourself, you can use your car’s VIN number to fill out legal documents and finalize transactions. Following these tips will make it fast and easy to locate your car’s VIN.

Look Inside Your Car

Manufacturers include VIN numbers in many places inside cars. Usually, if you need your VIN, start by looking at the doorjamb inside the driver’s side door. There’s often a sticker or plate there that contains the VIN. This is the most removable form of VIN identification, though, so it could get accidentally or purposefully peeled off. If the door sticker is missing, you can also find the VIN on the dashboard. A dashboard VIN is typically a small plate attached directly to the dashboard right by the windshield on the driver’s side of the car.

Check the Engine

The interior of a car isn’t the only place that could contain the VIN. You can also open the hood of the car and check the engine. The VIN will be stamped directly on the front of the engine block. It will often look like a small plate with metal engraving or raised metal letters. Just keep in mind engines are replaceable. If your car is older and has had a different engine put in it, the VIN on the engine won’t be correct. Though rare, it’s possible for the VIN on the engine to not match the VIN inside the car. 

Read Your Insurance Policy

If you already have an auto insurance policy for your car, finding the VIN can be quite easy. Since the VIN is used for identification, automobile insurance companies require you to provide the VIN when you get insurance. Your VIN will usually be on both your insurance card itself and the full policy documents. This can be a convenient way to find your VIN if you aren’t near your car and cannot easily look inside the vehicle. 

Look at Your Vehicle Title & Registration

Your vehicle title and registration are two other useful documents that contain your VIN number. Depending on the type of registration you have, it might clearly say “VIN:” and then list your VIN. If your VIN isn’t labeled, look for the long string of numbers and letters on the registration. 

The final and most definitive location for your vehicle’s VIN is the car title. Even if the engine was replaced and has the wrong VIN, your title might give the car’s original VIN. If the VIN on the title doesn’t match the car, it could be a clerical error, but it may also be a sign the vehicle was stolen. 

For affordable car insurance, reach out to the experienced professionals at Altra Insurance Services. We offer a variety of insurance products, including motorcycle, renters, and homeowners insurance. San Diego residents should give us a call today at (800) 719-9972 for a free quote.

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