Nothing can be more frustrating than being stuck from getting auto insurance coverage because of a VIN number mismatch. While it doesn’t happen often, as an auto insurance agent, I’ve seen it happen enough. This article might be able to help you resolve those issues, depending on where the problem stems from. It only takes one digit being off to trigger a mismatch.
The good news is that going through the “5 Best things to do first suggestions” will solve most of the issues. Also, you’d be surprised to learn how much a Vin number can tell you about a certain vehicle. The bad news is that this won’t help everyone (this is especially true of vehicle models older than 1981, the year American Vin numbers were first standardized). But this will help the majority of you, and you’ll probably learn some interesting things along the way. You will learn the anatomy of a Vin number. But of course, we should begin with the list of “5 Best things to do first” suggestions, as they correct most of the problems.
5 Best things to do first suggestions:
1. Double check the Vin # on paper. The most accurate place to look is on the title itself. Or if your vehicle is financed, check the Vin number on your loan contract. If that isn’t handy, check your state vehicle registration papers.
2. Double check the Vin # on the vehicle itself. The two most common places to look on any vehicle are the corner of the driver’s side dash right under the windshield, and also a sticker placed inside the driver’s side door.
3.The letters “I”, “O” and “Q” are never on Vin numbers. This sounds simple enough, but the I,O and Q errors come up frequently. If you see the letter “I” as in Indiana, it’s probably the number “1”. The letter “O” is probably a zero.
*** Note: The only exception to this I-O-Q rule is with state assigned VIN#’s. For example, most state assigned VIN#’s in Michigan start with the letters “MI”. But this mostly applies to special types of vehicles (such as kit cars, assembled vehicles, and off-road vehicles). This won’t apply to 99.9% of you.
4. The 10th Digit is the most common error and very easy to double-check. The 10th digit corresponds to the year of the vehicle, which is very easy to look up. See table below… Does the letter or number match the correct year?
*** Note! Also make 100% sure that you have the vehicle’s year correct. I have seen several instances where the Vin # was in fact accurate, but the owner gave the incorrect year of the vehicle to their auto insurance agent. For example, an owner may think his/her vehicle is a 2015 model when in fact it’s a 2014 model. This will flag most VIN verification systems and come back as “10th digit mismatch”…… Check your title or loan contract and make sure that you have the model year correct.
5. Check for visual and verbal errors made when writing or speaking.
Just by checking closely on these 5 things above, the vast majority of errors will be figured out. If you still haven’t solved the problem, don’t give up. Your vehicle’s manufacturer can help you with other digits to help pinpoint the problem digit. It’s just takes a bit of research, most of which can be easily searched online…. Learning the anatomy of a Vin number might help you in that regard…..
Anatomy of a VIN number
There is no sure-fire way to solve all VIN# mismatch problems, because there’s no way of knowing where the error derives….. But this article will go a long way in helping you figure it out. I hope I have helped you… or at least, you learned something interesting.
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Dan Lyles is an Independent Insurance Agent serving Ohio, Indiana, Michigan, Pennsylvania, Virginia and West Virginia..