What Is a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)?
Many people wonder, “What is a vehicle identification number?” A vehicle identification number (VIN) is a 17-character serial number used to uniquely identify a car. Think of it as a fingerprint, because no two VIN numbers are alike, even if the cars are the same make and model.
While manufacturers had been stamping identification numbers on cars since the 1950s, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration (NHTSA) standardized this process for motor vehicles in 1981. Now, the 17 characters of your car’s vehicle identification number all have a specific meaning.
In order to get a car insurance policy through the AARP® Auto Insurance
Program from The Hartford,1
you’ll need your car’s VIN number. Car insurance companies
use this to look up car records and help calculate car insurance rates.
How Do I Look Up a VIN number?
You can find your VIN number in one of four locations in your car:
- The interior dashboard on the driver’s side
- Under the hood
- The front-end of the frame
- Driver’s side door
You can also find the VIN number on your car’s:
- Vehicle title
- Auto insurance documents
Depending on when you bought your car, some dealerships also use VIN etching. This puts the number on each window and windshield to prevent theft.