Can You Find Insurance Info From a License Plate Number?

Last Updated on May 13, 2021

Car accidents can be messy. In many cases, the only information you have from the other driver is a license plate number.

Fortunately, you can get a significant amount of information from a license plate number. You may be able to verify auto insurance coverage with a license plate number, for example. By contacting your local DMV or law enforcement organization, you could identify the name, address, and insurance status of the other driver.Can You Find Insurance Info From a License Plate Number?

Can you get insurance details from a license plate number? Can you look up someone’s car insurance? How can you find out someone’s insurance company? Below, we’re explaining everything you need to know about using a license plate number to find auto insurance info.

Table of Contents:

Report the License Plate Number to Police

If you have someone’s license plate number, then it’s possible you’re the victim of a hit-and-run. You might know nothing about the other driver except for the license plate number.

Fortunately, you can discover plenty of information about a driver from the license plate number after a hit and run.

To start, make a police report. Call the police and tell them about the incident. The more information you provide to the police, the better the chances of catching the other driver.

The police can easily check a driver’s record and other information from a license number. The police can easily connect a license plate number to a person and address.

Depending on the severity of the incident, police may visit the scene to collect witness statements. Even for minor accidents, the police could come to the scene to collect information and file a police report.

The police report is important. You can use the police report to inform your insurer of the incident. Even if it’s a hit-and-run where the other driver was unknown, your insurer will still cover the incident.

Report the Incident to Your Insurer

If you were involved in a hit-and-run and have made a police report, then you can report the incident to your insurance company to receive compensation.

Even if the other driver is unknown, your insurer must cover damage from the accident, assuming you have the right coverage.

For most hit-and-run claims, you need to pay your deductible, while your insurer covers all remaining costs. Some companies will waive your deductible after a hit-and-run.

Collision coverage covers hit-and-runs and similar incidents. If you have collision coverage, then your insurer will cover damage from the hit-and-run. If you don’t have collision coverage, then you need to pay for repairs out of pocket.

After covering your damage, your insurer may seek compensation from the other driver. Your insurer may use the license plate number to identify the other driver. However, if the other driver is uninsured or if the car was stolen, then the insurer cannot obtain compensation from the other driver. Regardless, your insurer is required to cover the costs of the hit-and-run under your collision coverage.

How to Find Someone’s Name and Address With a License Plate Number

Whether it’s a hit-and-run or any other incident, you can get certain information using a license plate number.

If you have the license plate number of another driver, then you should be able to get a name and address using that license plate number.

To get a name and address from a license plate number, contact the local DMV in your state.

In some states, the DMV will happily give this information to the public upon request, and the DMV will look up the license plate number, then inform you of the other driver’s name and address.

Some states even have online license plate lookup forms. Enter the driver’s name into the license plate lookup form, then get the information you need.

In other states, this information is private, and you cannot look up someone’s name and address using their license plate.

Other states require you to make a records request to receive information about a driver from their license plate. You should be able to file a records request over the phone or through the DMV website.

If you want to find out as much as possible about another driver using their license plate number, then you need to contact your local DMV.

What Else to Do With a License Plate Number

If you have a license plate number, then you can look up someone’s information at the DMV, create a police report, or notify your insurer.

Some states don’t allow you to look up a driver’s identity and address using a license plate number. In this case, you may need to let the police or your insurance company identify the other driver for you.

You may also need to inform your insurance company of the other driver’s license plate number. If you are making an insurance claim for a hit-and-run, then your insurance company may need all the information you have about the other vehicle, including the license plate number. Alternatively, most insurers simply require a police report, which includes all of this information.

Be Wary of License Plate Info From Stolen Cars

If you were involved in a hit-and-run, then the other person’s license plate number might not be useful. The other vehicle could be a stolen vehicle, which means you know the owner of the vehicle – but not the person driving the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Car insurance follows the vehicle. If a vehicle has car insurance, then anyone with permission to drive that vehicle also has insurance.

However, that insurance does not apply to stolen cars. If someone has stolen a vehicle, then car insurance does not extend to this person.

By making a police report, you can determine if a car was stolen or not. If the car was stolen, then it could be difficult to find the real driver of the vehicle at the time of the incident even if you know the license plate number.

How to Determine If a Car Has Insurance

Approximately 15% of Americans drive illegally without insurance. That means nearly 1 in 7 drivers has no insurance.

Some states have particularly high levels of uninsured drivers. In Florida and Mississippi, for example, approximately 1 in 4 drivers have no car insurance. Other states have relatively low rates of uninsured drivers, with around 1 in 20 drivers in Massachusetts and New York driving without insurance.

However, there’s no single motor insurance database for the United States. Instead, you need to contact each state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (or equivalent organization). Each state tracks insurance information for each driver.

To determine if a car has insurance, contact your local DMV. As mentioned above, some states allow drivers to make a public records request, which can reveal the name and address of a driver using their license plate number. The DMV may also inform you if the other driver had insurance or not.

Why Check Insurance With a License Plate?

There are many reasons to check insurance with a license plate, including hit-and-run incidents and other less nefarious situations.

Some of the reasons you may need to check insurance using a license plate include:

  • You’re borrowing a friend’s vehicle and want to check if he has valid insurance coverage
  • You’re in the middle of a divorce and want to make sure your spouse is maintaining valid coverage on a vehicle registered in both names
  • You’re verifying insurance coverage on an employee’s vehicle, assuming the employee drives the vehicle for work purposes
  • You were the victim of a hit-and-run accident and all you have is the other driver’s license plate number

In all of these situations, you may need to use someone’s license plate number to verify their insurance information.

Final Word on Finding Insurance Info from a License Plate

Someone’s license plate number can reveal a lot.

By contacting your local DMV, you can make a public records request to determine the other driver’s name and address. Some states allow public records requests with license plate numbers, while others do not.

If involved in a hit-and-run accident, contact the police and make a police report, then inform your insurer of the incident. The police can track the driver using the license plate number, and your insurer may seek compensation from the other driver after covering your damages.

James Shaffer
James Shaffer James Shaffer is a writer for InsurancePanda.com and a well-seasoned auto insurance industry veteran. He has a deep knowledge of insurance rules and regulations and is passionate about helping drivers save money on auto insurance. He is responsible for researching and writing about anything auto insurance-related. He holds a bachelor's degree from Bentley University and his work has been quoted by NBC News, CNN, and The Washington Post.
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