How To Find and Decode a Tesla VIN Number

Before you can buy insurance for your new Tesla Model Y or Model X, you’ll need your Tesla VIN. Here’s how to find it.
Written by R.E. Fulton
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
Whether you own a Tesla
Model X
, a
Model Y
, or a super-slick
Model S
, you’ll need to buy car insurance before your new electric car can be delivered. To buy insurance for any Tesla vehicle, however, you’ll need your Tesla VIN. 
Your Tesla’s vehicle identification number, or VIN, is a 17-character string of numbers and letters that identifies the specific Tesla you drive. It’s typically assigned around the same time your car is built, giving you time to set up your
car insurance
before delivery.  
Here to help you learn how to find and interpret your Tesla’s VIN is the top-rated insurance app,
. We’ll show you how to track down your Tesla VIN, what each of its digits means, and how to use it to reduce your
Tesla insurance costs
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Getting a Tesla VIN number before delivery

If you’re still waiting for your Tesla VIN to be assigned, patience is part of the game. Wait times vary, but you’ll typically need to wait at least a few weeks before you get your VIN. 
A Tesla VIN is only assigned once the car is in production. Some Tesla cars can go into production faster than others, but you’ll be given an estimate when you order. If your Tesla includes a lot of optional upgrades, your delivery time might get pushed back—and you’ll receive your Tesla VIN later, too. 
Once the VIN shows up in your account, you typically have a shorter waiting period before delivery. If you’re getting impatient waiting for your VIN, you can examine the source code on your vehicle’s page and search for “5YJ” (more on that code later!) to check it. But because the VIN isn’t assigned until production starts, you may need to simply wait it out. 

How to find your Tesla’s VIN number

If you already have your Tesla, here’s where you can find the VIN:
  • On your insurance card
  • On your registration documents
  • On your console under controls > software
  • Printed on a metal sticker located on the driver’s side dashboard
If your Tesla was manufactured in the United States, you can find your VIN stamped into the right-side door pillar; it should be visible with the front door open. If your Tesla was manufactured in China, your VIN will be stamped onto the floor underneath the front passenger seat.

Your six-step Tesla VIN decoder

Your insurance company needs your VIN to set your premium—but what exactly are they looking at?
VINs have been in use since the 1950s, but they weren’t officially regulated until 1981. Modern VINs all use a standardized set of 17 characters with specific meanings that can be interpreted the same way across all makes and models.
VINs are composed of numerical digits (0-9) and letters of the alphabet—except for I, O, and Q, because those letters are easy to confuse with 1, 0, and 9.

Positions 1-3: world manufacturer identifier

Every Tesla VIN starts with 5YJ. Those first three digits are known as the world manufacturer identifier or WMI code, and they indicate the vehicle’s country and company of origin. The “5” means the manufacturer—Tesla, Inc.—is based in the United States

Positions 4-8: vehicle-specific information

The first three digits tell you that the car is a Tesla—but the next five digits convey specific information about your Tesla:
  • Position 4 indicates your car’s make, line, or series
  • Position 5 is the body type or gross vehicle weight rating of your vehicle
  • Position 6 shows restraint systems (i.e. airbags and seatbelts)
  • Position 7 stands for fuel type
  • Position 8 represents your car’s motor/drive unit (e.g. dual motor)

Position 9: VIN check digit

Since VINs are standardized, it should be easy to come up with a fake VIN—right? Well, thanks to the ninth digit, vehicle identification numbers are actually pretty difficult to counterfeit! 
The ninth digit is called the check digit and it’s used to verify the authenticity of the number

Position 10: model year

The system used to represent your car’s model year can seem a bit complicated since VINs re-use numbers and letters that already refer to earlier model years. Here are the model year codes for the last 20 years:
1981 or 2011
1982 OR 2012 
1983 OR  2013
1984 OR 2014
1985 OR 2015
1986 OR 2016
1987 OR 2017
1988 OR 2018
1989 OR 2019
1990 OR 2020
1991 OR 2021

Position 11: assembly plant

Each auto manufacturer uses a unique set of codes to indicate their assembly plants. Tesla’s factories are in
, Germany, and China. Here’s the code for each Tesla plant, found at the 11th position of the VIN:
Fremont, California
Austin, Texas
Berlin, Germany
Shanghai, China
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Positions 12-17: vehicle serial number

The last six digits of the VIN are a serial number that’s unique to your car. Although serial numbers typically have some indication of the production sequence, they’re usually assigned in batches—making it almost impossible to know your Tesla’s exact position on the assembly line.

How to find affordable Tesla insurance

We’ll keep it real: Tesla insurance costs more than most auto insurance. When a car insurance company sees a Tesla VIN, they’re not just looking at an individual vehicle history report: they’re also analyzing NHTSA safety ratings, crash statistics, and all the risks and thrills that go into Tesla ownership. 
The result: high premiums for even basic coverage. At least, that’s what you’re likely to find if you only look at one or two quotes.
As a
licensed broker
, Jerry can analyze quotes from over 55 insurance companies—including some you’ve probably never heard of—to find you the definitive lowest rates on the coverage you need, tailored to your specific Tesla VIN. On average, Jerry customers save over $800 a year on auto insurance! If you’re looking for cheap Tesla insurance, Jerry should be your first stop. 
saved me $80 a month! I have a Tesla Model Y and really wanted to lower my rates. And they did! I really recommend you give this a shot!” —Nick M.
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