UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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Some car owners permanently etch their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) onto their vehicles. But can VIN etching really give you a discount on car insurance? Keep reading to find out.
Yes, Some Insurers Offer Discounts for VIN Etching
It’s true: some insurance companies offer discounts for etching your VIN permanently onto your windshield and other glass components of your vehicle.
VIN etching deters thieves from stealing your vehicle. Thieves have trouble selling a vehicle with a permanently etched VIN. Instead of just swapping out the VIN plate, thieves will have to replace all of the glass in your vehicle. In many cases, thieves will move onto a different vehicle.
Comprehensive car insurance policies cover vehicle theft and vandalism. If you have a comprehensive car insurance policy and your car gets stolen, then you can make a claim to cover the full replacement cost of the vehicle (its actual cash value at the time of theft). Based on the terms of your comprehensive insurance policy, your insurer has to cover the actual cash value of the car out of pocket.
What is VIN Etching?
VIN etching is the permanent stenciling of your vehicle’s 17-digit identification number onto the windshield and all window glass, including your rear window, sunroof, door glass, and other surfaces.
The engraving can be done using lasers, chemicals, or mechanical techniques. It can take as little as 10 to 15 minutes.
The VIN is deliberately etched onto a discreet corner of your window so it does not impede your view in any way.
Where Can I Get a VIN Etching?
Some car dealerships offer VIN etching at the time of purchase. You can also order VIN etching from a local mechanic or body shop (often at a cheaper rate).
If you are ordering a car custom-made right from the factory, then you may be able to order VIN etching.
You can even buy DIY etching kits online or through brick-and-mortar retailers, allowing you to safely etch the 17 digit VIN at home.
AAA also offers vehicle etching at an affordable price, charging around $30 for members and $40 for non-members.
In certain cities – say, cities with high rates of vehicle theft – police organizations may organize free VIN etching events to make the community safer. Check with your city, state, or regional police force to see if there’s a VIN etching event near you.
What Types of Vehicles Are Eligible for VIN Etching?
Do you need to replace your windshield? Were you recently in an accident where all your glass needs to be replaced? You may want to order VIN etching. It’s ideal to get VIN etching when getting new windows and glass.
Why Do Insurers Offer Discounts for VIN Etching?
Insurance companies like to reward customers who take steps to protect a vehicle and its occupants. That’s why insurance companies charge lower rates to vehicles with higher safety ratings, for example.
VIN etching is an effective, passive anti-theft device. Car thieves would rather steal a car with a standard VIN than an etched VIN.
Even if your vehicle is stolen, it will be easier for police to identify. Police will see your VIN etched on multiple surfaces of the vehicle, for example. Instead of just swapping out a plate and having your vehicle disappear forever, thieves will have to work harder to sell your car to a buyer.
Once you have etched your VIN onto your vehicle, you should be able to submit proof to your insurance company to receive a discount. Some VIN etching services will provide you with an official document proving you have etched your VIN.
How Much Can You Save on Car Insurance with VIN Etching?
VIN etching significantly reduces the chances of theft, making it less likely for your insurance company to have to cover the total loss – or the cost of a break-in.
For this reason, many insurance companies offer a substantial discount on your comprehensive coverage.
You can expect to save anywhere from 5% to 15% with VIN etching. Discounts vary between insurance companies. Compare quotes online today to ensure you get the best deal on car insurance.
The value of a stolen car with VIN etching is significantly lower than a stolen car with a standard VIN plate. For that reason, VIN etching is an effective anti-theft system.
Consider ordering VIN etching from a dealership, mechanic, AAA, or other service to deter thieves from stealing your vehicle – and get a steep discount on car insurance.