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

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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The lowdown...

  • If you’re shopping around for cars, you should get auto insurance quotes to see which cars cost more to insure
  • You don’t need an actual VIN number to get an accurate quote for specific cars that you’re interested in buying
  • If you know what models you’re focusing on, get quotes for each of those models to do an effective comparison
  • You can contact an agency, go through a brokerage, use a direct online tool, or use an online comparison tool
  • If you don’t plan on buying a car and you need insurance, you can still get quotes for nonowner’s coverage

If you’re going to hold a driver’s license, you’re going to need auto insurance at some point in time. The first time you’ll buy a policy is when you take the leap and buy your first car.

It doesn’t matter if you’re financing the vehicle, leasing it, or buying it from a private seller, as soon as you become the vehicle’s owner, you have to insure.

You should spend just as much time comparing auto insurance rates as you spend comparing loan interest rates. Aside from your car payment, the biggest recurring expense you have to cover when you’re the legal owner of a vehicle is auto insurance.

Instead of waiting until after you sign a sales agreement to find out how much insurance will cost, you should do the price shopping beforehand.

It’s fast and easy to get car insurance quotes right here by entering your zip code above.

Here’s a guide on how to get auto quotes without owning a car:

Do you have to own a car to get quotes?


When you buy auto insurance, one of the first things that the agent will ask you is if you own the car. You don’t have to own a car outright to buy insurance on it, but you do have to have an insurable interest in it before you’ll be eligible to apply.

An insurable interest means that you would suffer a financial loss if something were to happen to the property.

You can buy insurance in your name when you fit into one of these categories:

  • you’re leasing a car
  • you’re financing a car
  • you own the car outright

You may have to meet underwriting requirements to buy insurance, but you don’t have to own a vehicle just to get insurance quotes on it. If you’re curious how much it will cost to insure any type of car on the road, you have the ability to get quotes.

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Do you need a VIN number to get quotes?

It’s hard to give your agent a VIN number to a vehicle that you don’t own. Some private sellers will give you the VIN just so that your car run vehicle reports and check the status of the car’s registration.

If you aren’t able to get the VIN to a specific vehicle you’re interested in buying, you can still get fairly accurate auto insurance quotes.

Why is it good to have the VIN number?


If there’s any way that you can locate the VIN to a specific vehicle that you’re test driving, it’s in your best interest to provide the exact 17-digit number to your agent.

Every digit in the VIN represents something else and each detail could have an impact on the car’s final rate. You might not think that the digits are important but those numbers can tell the insurer the following information:

  • Manufacturer
  • Vehicle type
  • Model
  • Body type
  • Restraint system
  • Transmission type
  • Engine code
  • Model year

When you have every digit in the VIN, the rates for the vehicle can easily be established without any errors. The year, the make, the model, and even vehicle features can all affect a car’s ISO rating.

Since the ISO rating is what’s used to classify the vehicle and assign it rates, the only way to ensure the ISO rating is accurate is to have the VIN.

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What do you need to get a quote without a VIN number?

If you have all of the vehicle information, it’s possible to select a pre-programmed VIN from the system without the car’s sequence number.

Most insurance agents and quoting tools have all of the most common models programmed into the tool. You can select the vehicle information from a drop down box and then receive a quote without the VIN.

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Why do premiums vary so much by vehicle?


If you know you want a compact car, you can’t assume that similar vehicles made by different manufacturers will carry similar premiums.

That might seem like a reasonable assumption, but that’s not how auto insurance premiums work. Rates are based on more than just the body style.

An ISO rating takes several factors into account when setting a classification code:

  • the car’s size
  • parts
  • average repair costs
  • claims data

If the car tends to sustain a lot of damage in a minor loss, it will have a high physical damage rate. If the car causes a lot of damage to property, the liability rates will be high.

Why should you get multiple quotes from multiple carriers?

Every personal auto insurance carrier sets its own rates and devises its own marketing strategy. The rates must be deemed fair and justifiable through the state but there is still a lot of freedom.

If you don’t get at least three to four quotes from different companies, you won’t know which companies to focus on.

If a carrier has a strategy in place to target drivers with tickets, they will have better rates for people with chargeable tickets on their record.

Preferred providers tend to offer the best drivers a more competitive rate than any other insurer in the marketplace. Identify which class you fall into and then get multiple quotes.

Can you get quotes if you’re not buying a car?


If you’re but planning on buying a car but you need coverage for rentals, you can still buy a specialty plan. It’s best to purchase a nonowner’s policy when you’re frequently driving but you still don’t legally own the car that you’re operating.

You also need this policy if you have to prove financial responsibility to maintain your license.

If you need quotes for coverage, you can use our online tool and get several quotes all at once. Identify which carrier will offer you the best rate for traditional or specialty coverage, and then you can confidently start shopping for your first car.