The benefits of VIN descriptions in the insurance world

To make it in the auto insurance realm today, you must offer immediate and accurate online quotes.

Autodata Solutions Insurance Shopping

On third party sites, shoppers can simply type in their information and receive quotes from multiple carriers in the matter of minutes.

Auto insurance carriers need every pricing advantage, not only to keep up, but to grow their portfolios. At the same time, it’s important not to take on too much risk in order to win a new customer. A precise risk assessment can mean the difference between expensive payout costs and a profitable return on investment.

That’s why starting with a comprehensive VIN description is critical. An accurate VIN description identifies vehicle features that impact the causality and severity of accidents. While the insurance industry is comfortable identifying risk factors associated with drivers, such as age, credit history and marital status, vehicle factors are often overlooked.


An accurate VIN description comes into play right from the start. The prevalence of online quoting means that consumers shop around frequently for new policies, often entering incorrect information regarding year, make, model, etc. A consumer may also be unaware of some of their car’s features — especially when it come to newer models and their safety features. Premium discounts for such features can be the difference between winning and losing a quote.

Safety features like lane change alerts, proximity alerts and backup cameras can reduce a drivers’ risk of an accident, making them a safer policyholder overall. An accurate VIN description can help make sense of the different names that safety features go by across OEMs. What is a “backup camera” in one vehicle might be called a “rear-view safety monitor” in another.

Other factors that can’t be determined from the vehicle alone, such as crash ratings, emissions outputs and vehicle recalls can affect the value. Then there’s the difference between installed and optional equipment. A standard VIN description that doesn’t include OEM build data can’t return that data.


If a policyholder is in an accident and a claim is filed, the basis of the claims process relies on the assessment of the initial vehicle and the damage that has resulted from the accident. An accurate assessment of the damaged vehicle tells you where to start, including the review process and repair quotes. Whether the policyholder uses an adjuster or a repair shop, the VIN-specific information required for a service repair, such as parts and vehicle-specific repairs, is dependent on an accurate VIN description.

Plus, you can avoid overly large payouts due to an inaccurate description of the value of the vehicle before the accident. A firm grasp of vehicle features offers a more accurate determination of loss and will also assist with total loss valuations.

From quoting to claims, VIN descriptions support the total insurance lifecycle and bring a value-add to insurance providers that can represent thousands of dollars in profit.


Robust VIN data allows carriers to perform studies on which features impact causality, frequency and severity of losses. Not only does this allow for more accurate quoting and underwriting on the front end, it also gives carriers a strong position to apply for DMVs on discounts for vehicles equipped with accident-reducing features.

ChromeData’s granular data, available in our StudyPRICE solution, allows for targeted studies that give incredibly specialized details. StudyPRICE allows carriers to study their historical auto claims in order to find the vehicle features that impact the frequency or severity of accidents so auto policies can be priced more competitively. For example, is a lane departure warning more effective when it appears with a sound or with a pop-up notification on the onboard computer? Once features that correlate with reducing the frequency or severity of accidents are identified, an insurance carrier can integrate StudyPRICE directly into all auto pricing and quoting algorithms.

In addition to robust vehicle descriptions, StudyPRICE discovers all active and passive safety features, all vehicle features deemed to be expensive to repair and all theft-preventative features.

Learn more about StudyPRICE or call 1-866-430-8524.