Auto credit query shouldn't ding score

Dear Terry,
I wanted to check into the cost for auto insurance since I have not compared pricing in more than 15 years. However, when I called to make an inquiry, I was told they needed our driver's license numbers, Social Security numbers, etc.

I asked why they needed our Social Security numbers and was told they pull credit reports of prospective customers. Does this credit pull affect the credit score? If I check with eight different insurance companies, could that cause an adverse effect on the credit score?

Please advise me, because now I'm dragging my feet to do this comparison since I don't really want them pulling my credit score until I know if it affects the score.
-- Wilma

Dear Wilma,
Your credit situation -- along with your driving record -- can affect your auto insurance rates. The thinking is that someone with bad credit is less likely to take proper care while driving. So, most agencies will check your credit before giving you a quote.

Because it's not an application for credit, the inquiries shouldn't drive down your credit score. But I don't think you'll need to check with eight companies for the best rates. A check with about three should give you a good range of what's out there. And you can compare insurance rates on (a Bankrate company).

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Mitch Strohm

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