Having a social security number (SSN) can make the car-purchasing and car-insuring processes more manageable, but it isn’t always required.

It depends on the state and car insurance company.

The nine-digit number helps auto insurance companies easily find personal information about you to set auto insurance rates.

Here’s what you need to know about social security numbers, why insurance companies often want SNNs and their importance when buying or insuring a car.

Can I get car insurance without a social security number?

Some car insurance companies let you buy coverage without a social security number. There is no federal law that says they must or must not demand a social security number. Instead, it depends on the company’s policies.

You may find companies through CarInsurance.com that make your SSN optional during the purchase process, while others require it. If you don't have a social security number and need to get car insurance, you can call our service center at 855-430-7753 and see about getting insurance auto insurance quotes without a SSN. They will assist you so you can purchase a policy.

CarInsurance.com uses auto insurance companies that check credit-based insurance scores as a factor in your insurance rate. We also have carriers that don't use credit in their calculations in some states. Even without an SSN, some car insurance companies will use your name, date of birth and address to obtain an insurance score (based partly on your credit score).

There are controversies over the use of credit scores for rating, but the bottom line is that car insurance companies have not been able to find a better indicator of risk other than using a simple credit-based insurance score. It’s not less controversial than the use of gender or marital status as a factor. Each of these items has come under public scrutiny as biased and a form of profiling.

Car insurance companies use this information to assign a rate to a risk pool. Auto insurance companies work hard to segment risks and help the pool by having those contributors pay their equal share.

If you need to get a car insurance quote now, you should be able to start your policy as long as you can obtain a U.S. driver's license within 30 days, if you don’t already have one. Compare insurance companies to make sure you are getting the best possible rate.

Why do insurance companies need your social security number? 

Car insurance companies usually require a social security number to find out more about you, such as:

  • Driving history
  • Claims history
  • Credit score
  • Age
  • Marital status
  • Address, including Zip code

All of those metrics may influence your car insurance rates. A handful of states don’t allow insurance companies to base car insurance rates on credit history. Having a poor credit history increases rates in most states. Auto insurance companies say that a person with poor credit are a higher risk, including the possibility of filing more claims.

Auto insurance companies can track down the information in other ways, such as through your name, address and Zip code, but it’s much easier to get the information from your social security number.

Find out more about car insurance and social security numbers.

How can I get car insurance without a social security number? 

Shop around for car insurance and ask insurance companies if they require a social security number.

Car insurance company policies differ. Some insurance companies only demand that you have a driver's license and don’t care about a social security number.

It’s often harder to get your license when you don’t have a social security number than getting car insurance. However, more than a dozen states don’t require a social security number for a driver's license.

If you don’t have a Social Security number, you can call our service center at 1-855-430-7753 and our agents can assist you in finding auto insurance coverage that doesn’t require a number.

Can I buy a car without a social security number? 

You generally don’t need a social security number to buy a car in the U.S. However, there’s an exception.

If you need to finance a car, you’ll likely need a social security number. A bank may allow you to loan money for a car without a social security number, but you’ll need one to take possession of the vehicle.

Getting a social security card often takes two to four weeks. So, if you’re looking to buy a car and don’t have a social security number, it’s a good idea to apply for a car before you’re ready to make a purchase.

Can I get a driver's license without a social security number? 

States have different driver’s license requirements.

In the past, the Social Security Administration gave an SSN to allow persons to get a driver's license. They can no longer assign an SSN to a non-citizen solely to obtain a driver's license. Non-citizens otherwise ineligible for an SSN can get one for purposes other than employment when:

  • A federal statute or regulation requires the non-citizen to provide an SSN to get a particular benefit or service, or
  • A state or local law requires the non-citizen to provide an SSN to get general assistance benefits.

In recent years, several states have passed laws allowing unauthorized immigrants to obtain a driver's license without social security numbers.

Thirteen states don’t require a social security number to get a drivers license:

  • California
  • Colorado
  • Connecticut 
  • Delaware
  • Hawaii
  • Illinois
  • Maryland
  • Nevada
  • New Mexico
  • New York
  • Utah
  • Vermont
  • Washington

However, those state laws may vary in other ways. For instance, one state may require a foreign driver’s license or tax return if the driver doesn’t have a SSN. Another state can require an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number, which you can get from the Internal Revenue Service.

Contact your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles to find out more about getting a driver's license without a social security number.