How to check your VIN number

4 minute read Published on Jan 29, 2024 by BrokerLink Communications

Car Vin Closeup

Whether you’re buying a used vehicle, figuring out how to sell your car, or just curious in general, knowing what and how to check your VIN number is important. Join the team at BrokerLink as we give you all you need to know about these unique vehicle codes.

What is a VIN number?

A Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) is a unique code given to every car when it's manufactured. The vehicle identification number (VIN), which consists of 17 characters that are a combination of letters and numbers, which gives details about the make, model, year of production, manufacturing facility, and other aspects of the car. Here’s a breakdown of the unique code and what it represents:

World manufacturer identifier (WMI)

The first three characters are the manufacturer and the country where the car was made.

Vehicle descriptor section (VDS)

Characters 4 through 9 give details about the type of vehicle, like the engine, series, body, and more.

Vehicle identifier section (VIS)

Each vehicle's identity is represented by characters 10 through 17. Character combinations are unique to each car, and no two vehicles are the same.

Why is a VIN important?

A vehicle’s VIN is important for several reasons, including the following:

It’s distinctive

This unique code aids in preventing fraud, stolen cars, and identification swapping.

Vehicle history report

A car's whole history, including accident reports, title problems, odometer readings, and maintenance information, can be accessed using the VIN. This is especially important when buying a used car.

Safety and recall information

VINs are used by manufacturers to identify vehicles that are recalled. This guarantees that vehicle owners are informed of any safety problems or faults as soon as possible.

Registration and insurance

VINs are required for both registration and different types of auto insurance. They assist in confirming the accuracy of vehicle details, making sure that insurance plans get allocated correctly and that registration data corresponds with the car specs.

Law enforcement and recovery

VINs are used by law enforcement agencies to trace down and retrieve stolen vehicles in theft scenarios. Additionally, in the aftermath of common car accidents where damage is severe, the VIN can help police identify vehicle ownership if other information isn’t available.

Protection of the consumer

It gives consumers the ability to look up a car's background before buying it.

How can I check the VIN number for free?

For a free VIN check, you can use online websites that offer a VIN decoder tool. These tools are usually available on various websites, such as government resources, vehicle history report services, and some manufacturer's sites directly.

All you have to do to access information on your car's make, model, year, and other details on these platforms is input your VIN.

Can you get insurance without a VIN in Toronto?

No, you cannot get Toronto car insurance without your VIN. Typically, the vehicle identification number is located on your insurance documents. Once you find your VIN, you will be able to renew your car insurance and consider policies such as the following:

Gap insurance

If your car is completely lost or stolen, gap insurance will pay the disparity between the car's actual cash value and the sum of money you still owe on the loan.

Collision insurance

Regardless of who is responsible, collision car coverage covers damage to your car brought on by run-ins with other things, such as another vehicle or a stationary object.

Comprehensive insurance

Comprehensive car coverage provides protection against accidents involving wildlife, vandalism, theft, extreme weather, and other non-collision-related damage.

Liability insurance

In the event that you are at fault in an automobile accident, liability car insurance covers the property damage and any bodily harm you may cause to other people. Damage to your own car is not covered by third-party liability car insurance. Nonetheless, it is mandated by law.

Accident forgiveness

Accident forgiveness protects policyholders from rate increases after their first at-fault accident. It provides financial protection and helps maintain affordable premiums despite a single accident.

If you’re interested in learning more about car insurance, reach out to the team at BrokerLink to speak with one of our experienced brokers. They can walk you through the process of customizing an insurance plan that works for your needs and budget.

Alternatively, you can use our free online estimate tool to get insurance quotes from different providers across Canada!

Can I tell what my car is by the VIN number?

Yes, your car's VIN has information about the manufacturer, model, kind of engine, production location, and more.

Contact BrokerLink

Give us a call if you would like to talk with an expert broker or if you have any questions. If you would prefer to meet with us in person, you can visit one of our many sites across the country! Need answers right away? Get customized insurance quotes in the comfort of your own home via our free online quote tool!

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How to check your VIN number FAQs

Should I ask for the VIN if I’m buying a used vehicle?

There are many things to consider before buying a used vehicle, and the accident history of the car is one of them. You can assess the car's history with the vehicle identification number. So, make sure to ask the owner for this, as it gives you the opportunity to confirm whether the information they have provided about the car is correct.

How much is car insurance per month in Ontario?

This is a common question many motorists have. In reality, there are numerous variables that determine your insurance cost, including the make and model of your car, your driving experience, the policies you choose, your gender, age, and more. Therefore, if you're looking for customized insurance quotes, we suggest speaking with your provider directly.

What if a VIN is less than 17 characters?

If the VIN is less than 17 characters long, there is a chance the vehicle was manufactured before 1981, which can be an issue if you’re looking to purchase a vintage vehicle. However, if you are not buying an older car and the individual who is selling you the vehicle privately provides an incorrect VIN, proceed with caution, as they could be trying to deceive you into purchasing a car that has significant problems they don’t want you to know about.

If you have any questions, contact one of our local branches.