Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like Reviews.com.

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The process for finding auto insurance records for a previous owner can be a rather convoluted one. There is no one single process or agency in most states by which to collect this information.

The DMV is a good starting point by the very nature of what they do. However, not all DMV’s are alike, so any insurance information provided about them must be taken with a grain of salt.

Following our auto insurance record finding process outlined below will yield results, however, for those who are short on time there are companies out there that will do the legwork for you (we’ll discuss this later). In addition to saving time on finding auto insurance records why not save some time (and some money) by entering your zip above and comparing free auto insurance quotes?

Department of Motor Vehicles

If you are determined to track this information down yourself then the first step is to pay a visit to your local Department or Division of Motor Vehicles. The Division of Motor Vehicles (or Registry of Motor Vehicles) is a data clearing house. In some states they coordinate with insurance companies and you may be lucky enough for this to be a one stop process.

The process goes like this. Once you get your ticket, wait your turn, and are finally able to step up to the counter you will want to ask the clerk for a copy of the last title or title transfer of the vehicle you wish to purchase. This costs money, but it will be accurate and up to date information. Expect to pay anywhere from $15 to $20 depending on the state you live in.

The report will contain information on both the current vehicle owner and any previous vehicle owners, including their names and contact information. This is your point of departure for the rest of the process.

In the event that your local DMV has and collects insurance records you may be able to purchase them at an additional cost. Check with the information desk at your local DMV for all of the options available to you. You may be surprised to find that the buck stops at your local DMV.

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Department of Insurance

If your DMV does not provide insurance information, then take the information you’ve now acquired to your state’s Department of Insurance. Many times these agencies will be within walking distance. If not, you can also try using the IVR system at the Department of Insurance to get the same results as a walk in visit. Ask the clerks to provide you with any information they have on public record for the previous vehicle owners and the vehicle in question. They will support you with a list of insurance providers and or any public records that they have available.

Direct Contact

Another option, if you feel comfortable enough with it, is to just call the previous owner(s) and ask them for the insurance information. They may not have any issues with providing it, and if they do you might want to reconsider a purchase. Someone with a clean vehicle report should be happy to provide you with it.

Insurance Company

Call the insurance company or companies that were given by the Department of Insurance and explain that you are about to purchase a vehicle and want to understand if there were any associated claims on the vehicle that you should know about. Ask them to provide data associated with the vehicle you are attempting to purchase. The information they provide you with is both good to know when deliberating on a vehicle purchase, and to have handy in the future should you have a claim that needs attention.

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Pay a Research Company

Another route available to you is to pay a company to do all the legwork. Carfax provides vehicle history reports for approximately $35 to $45 (depending on the state). Doing it yourself saves you about $15 to $25, but can be quite the headache. If you are looking to purchase more than one vehicle than Carfax offers multiple vehicle discounts. All it requires to get going is the VIN number of the vehicle you are considering for purchase.

Carfax is by no means the only company out there providing this information. There’s Autocheck, Car Detective, Is It A Lemon….and still more out there for the discerning Internet shopper. Some of these companies will give you a full comprehensive report for your money, including past odometer readings for the vehicles, allowing you to check to see if they have been tampered with.

Caveat Emptor (Buyer Beware)

Knowing exactly what you’re purchasing can save you in the long run. No one wants to buy a vehicle and have it break down within the next couple of months. Do your homework to find the best vehicle and also do your homework to find the best car insurance. Enter your zip in now to see how much you might be able to save on your car insurance!