How Vehicle History Affects Car Insurance Rates

Did you know your vehicle history can affect your car insurance rates? Your vehicle information number reveals a lot more than you ever knew it did.
Written by Rochelle Miller-Hernandez
Reviewed by Carrie Adkins
Getting a
for a car insurance rate is not as simple as supplying the year, make and model of your car. An insurance company uses the history of your vehicle as a major factor when deciding how much your premium will be and if they will even provide your coverage. Your vehicle information number, otherwise known as the
VIN number
, allows them to obtain this data fairly easy as it is used to record its information universally by most insurance companies, mechanics, and law enforcement agencies and other automobile-related industries. Here are major ways vehicle history affects car insurance rates.

Statistics on insurance payouts

Your vehicle’s VIN confirms the year, make and model of the car. This means you cannot give false information, whether intentional or not, on what type of car you are trying to insure. The insurance company then takes this information and researches the statistics on the insurance payouts made to owners of this type of vehicle.
The fewer payouts, the better the car insurance rate. However, if the payouts are high, no matter the reason, your insurance rate will be higher. Maybe it is a popular vehicle that has a greater chance of being stolen. Or it could have a high risk of being in an accident because it is an older model with fewer safety features.

History of accidents

The VIN also reveals the vehicle’s history of accidents. The more accidents a car has been in, the frailer or possibly stronger its body may be, depending on repairs. For example, it can show if it still has original parts, if it has a new transmission (which can be a plus), if other new parts have been installed, or if its frame is bent and weak. An insurance company will factor these repairs into its calculations when determining your vehicle’s insurability and rates.


When a certain type of vehicle experiences a lot of recalls, it is not a good thing in terms of insurance. Recalls equate to a higher probability of insurance claims. Recalls mean there is something wrong with a part of a car that puts the vehicle or passengers at risk. Otherwise, the manufacturer would not spend the money or time to replace the part in thousands of vehicles.
Like insurance companies, vehicle manufacturers look at the probability of something negative happening before deciding to issue a recall. Lots of recalls means higher car insurance rates.

Salvage title

Your vehicle history will affect your insurance if it reveals you have a salvage title. This type of title means your car has been declared a total loss. In other words, it has been determined that the cost to repair the vehicle is more than it is worth.
In some states, it is illegal to sell a vehicle of this type without a salvage title so that the buyer is aware of what he or she is purchasing. Most insurance companies will not offer full coverage on a salvage title. Some will offer liability as the type of car you are driving does not increase your chances of hitting someone.
Most people don’t realize that the history of a vehicle affects car insurance rates. Most of the time, you only think your driving record and the type of car as being the major factors. Insurance companies look at other aspects like the statistics of insurance payouts on your type of vehicle, its history of accidents, the amount of recalls for that type of car, and if it carries a salvage title.
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