Rachael Brennan has been working in the insurance industry since 2006 when she began working as a licensed insurance representative for 21st Century Insurance, during which time she earned her Property and Casualty license in all 50 states. After several years she expanded her insurance expertise, earning her license in Health and AD&D insurance as well. She has worked for small health in...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 14, 2021

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In a nutshell...

  • An auto insurance company may ask for a social security number to conduct research
  • Applicants who refuse to give out a social security number may be charged higher rates
  • Insurance companies go to great lengths to keep sensitive information private and safe

When applying for car insurance, the representative from the company will ask for numerous bits of information.

Questions about previous claims, how often the car is driven, whether or not the vehicle is used for business purposes, are among the most commonly asked.

Of course, personal identifying information such as name, address, and phone number are a given. And then there is information that seems odd to be requested.

Some applicants may be taken a bit aback when asked for their social security number. Is it really even necessary for an auto insurance company to request a social security number?

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The Need for a Social Security Number

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People have identical names. Many even have the same name and birth date and other identifying information. No two social security numbers are the same, though.

Once the insurance company is provided with a social security number, a more thorough background check on the applicant can be performed.

Insurance providers do need a great deal of information in order to write a policy. Two items that need to be checked closely are:

A social security number would reveal such information in the same way a driver’s license number would reveal the following information:

  • Moving violations
  • Suspensions

A social security number would even reveal criminal background information.

Insurance companies positively would want to look into a criminal history to determine risk factors. Criminal convictions related to a DUI or driving-related incident would raise eyebrows to be sure.

When explained this way, people begin to see the reasons why asking for a social security number makes sense on the part of the insurance company. Still, the applicant may be a bit worried about giving out such information.

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Fears Over Revealing the Social Security Number

If there was one thing many people feared, it would be identity theft. Access to personal information opens the door to being a victim of this crime.

A social security number that falls in the hands of an identity theft could create major havoc. Hence, many would be unwilling to easily give out the number.

It is worth pointing out that insurance companies go to great lengths to protect the privacy of their customers. Information given to the insurance company is hardly easily accessible.

Additionally, those who are worried about identity theft should think about buying identity theft insurance. Various companies that sell auto insurance may also provide identity theft protection insurance as well.

Refusing to Give Out a Social Security Number

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An auto insurance company is not under any obligation to provide insurance coverage to someone who refuses to provide information. Not revealing a social security number could lead to the provider not selling a policy.

Another possibility does exist, though. The insurance company could raise the premium rates on someone who has not give the social security number.

The “non-disclosure penalty” could cost upwards of 50 percent more than a regular policy.

There are those who may be willing to pay such a penalty. These persons do need to realize their options for insurance providers could be limited since, once again, certain companies may opt to not insure a person who won’t provide a social security number.

Closing doors on insurance providers who otherwise may be able to provide exceptional coverage is in no one’s best interest.

A Serious Industry

The insurance industry is hardly one that is not regulated. Major auto insurance companies and their associated representatives are not in the habit of making foolish mistakes or being careless with customer information.

Giving a social security number to an insurance company is not very much different than giving the number to a bank.

The info is kept safe and secure. Insurance companies absolutely know the importance of keeping things private.

Comparison shopping for the best auto insurance company further enhances the ability to get the best services, rates, and care. Compare car insurance rates right here!