For better or worse the 9 digits we call a Social Security Number is the best unique identifier available. With this number an insurance company can find the information stored on you by other companies and by governmental agencies that they need to make a full evaluation of what rate they will charge you.
When the Social Security Number was created it was to be used for the Administration of Social Security Benefits ONLY. I understand that this was and technically still is the law. Over time this rule has been challenged by even the government itself. We now have to provide our Social to go to the BMV or to receive other government benefits.
With this easing of the law restricting use of your social, many if not all business sectors have taken advantage of the unique individual nature of the Social Security Number to store and retrieve information about consumers. Think about financial institutions, health care and so on.
Do you need to provide your Social Security Number to the insurance company? No, it is not mandatory and no one can make you do so in order to get a quote or to provide coverage but when you don’t, you will likely not get the most accurate rate available from the company when requesting a quote.
What type of information does the insurance company get by having my Social? First of all they use your social to retrieve the information about you financially that will determine your “Insurance Score.” Then they will request your loss history and your motor vehicle report from their industry providers. This information will weigh highly in the determination of your rate. If you have not provided your social when getting a quote the information the insurance company can get may be limited and therefore assumed to be the best by some companies or the worst by others. Either way you won’t get a firm rate. Once an application for coverage is submitted and a clearer picture emerges about your financials and your claims history, you may be looking at a much different rate than what you were quoted.
The bottom line is this. Be careful with your information. Don’t give your social out to just anyone. It would be best that you know you can trust the agent you give your information to. It is very likely that your insurance agent will not abuse your informant but it is just as important that they keep this information secure.
Ask the questions when your social is requested for business purposes. Find out what your social will be used for and ask what measures the company will take to keep your information secure.
It goes without saying that in this information based world we live in, it will be near impossible to go through life without exposing your personal information. It is up to you to make sure you take every precaution.
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