UPDATED: Mar 13, 2020
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In some states, drivers are allowed to tint their windows. But can tinting your windows raise insurance premiums?
It’s certainly possible for tinted windows to raise insurance rates. Today, we’re explaining everything you need to know about how tinted windows affect auto insurance rates, including how much more you can expect to pay after tinting your windows.
Most Insurance Companies Will Not Raise Premiums for Tinted Windows (Assuming It’s Legal)
In most cases, insurance companies will not raise premiums just because you tinted your windows.
As long as window tinting is legal in your state, and the tinting was done according to the manufacturer’s recommendations, you should not face higher insurance premiums.
To ensure you meet the legal requirements for tinted windows, we recommend working with a bonded and insured installer. Otherwise, you risk facing trouble from your insurance company or law enforcement. Illegal window tinting could even cause your policy to be canceled.
You Should Still Report Tinted Windows (And All Other Modifications) to your Insurer
Car insurance covers the cost of repairing your vehicle to its pre-loss condition after an unexpected loss. If you tint your windows, and your insurance company doesn’t know about it, then your tinted windows will not be covered after a loss.
That’s why we recommend reporting tinted windows – and all other vehicle modifications – to your insurance company.
Obviously, you may be hesitant to report tinted windows to your insurance company if you want to avoid higher insurance premiums. However, as mentioned above, it’s unlikely for tinted windows to affect insurance premiums.
Does Window Tinting Increase the Chances of an Accident?
Studies have shown that window tinting increases the likelihood of an accident. Tinted windows let in less light than ordinary windows. They can obstruct your vision, making it difficult to see other vehicles and other road hazards.
Despite the increased risk of an accident, however, no major insurance company charges higher premiums specifically because of window tinting.
Benefits of Window Tinting
Window tinting has its own advantages. Some of the benefits of window tinting include:
- Making it more difficult for thieves to see inside your vehicle when it’s parked (reducing the chances of a break-in)
- Enhancing privacy
- Reducing the natural degradation of your car’s interior due to sunlight over time
- Aesthetic appeal
- Limiting exposure to sunlight for passengers or the driver
Some medical conditions, in fact, require drivers to have tinted windows. In this case, you may be able to get a special exemption from your state – particularly if window tinting is otherwise illegal in your state.
Your Premiums May Rise If You Want Your Tinted Windows Covered
If your tinted windows are damaged in an accident, then your car insurance company will not repair your tinted windows unless they’re explicitly covered by your car insurance policy.
Contact your insurance company to notify them that your windows are tinted.
In most cases, your insurance company will not raise premiums. However, if you want your tinted windows to be covered by your car insurance policy, then your insurer may raise premiums to cover the possibility of the expense.
Furthermore, tinting your windows beyond the legal limits could even cause your insurance policy to be declared void. In the eyes of your insurance company, you are driving an illegal vehicle, and your insurer could refuse to cover any medical expenses, losses, or damages that come after.
Window Tinting Legal Requirements
Different states have different rules regarding window tinting. Most states have set specific levels of opacity regarding window tinting – especially on the front windows.
Some states don’t allow window tinting at all.
California, for example, allows up to 70% window tinting on the front side windows and up to 100% window tinting on all other windows.
If the level of tint in the front window exceeds the maximum percentage allowed in your state, then your insurance company could raise premiums substantially.
You can view state-by-state window tinting requirements here.
At a certain point, too much window tinting makes it challenging to drive. It increases the likelihood of an accident. For that reason, your insurance company believes you are more likely to make a claim, which is why they’ll charge higher rates.
Most states have no restrictions on the degree of tinting for back windows. However, your rear windshield must still meet specific requirements.
What Happens If I Don’t Report Window Tinting to My Insurance Company?
Regardless of the modifications or customizations made to your car, you should always report it to your insurance company.
Even if you only paid $100 for window tinting, you want that amount to be covered in the event of an accident. Even if it causes premiums to rise slightly, it will still be cheaper than replacing tinted windows after a crash.
If you don’t tell your insurance company about window tinting, however, then it could make your insurance policy void. You modified your vehicle and refused to alert your insurance company. In this case, your insurer could refuse to cover medical expenses, damages, and other losses after an accident.
Tinting your window shouldn’t cause insurance rates to rise – assuming window tinting is legal in your state and you didn’t exceed any opacity limits set by your local government.
However, if you want your tinted windows to be covered by your car insurance policy, then your premiums could rise by a few dollars per year.
Regardless of whether you want your tinted windows covered, you must tell your car insurance company about your tinted windows as soon as possible. Failure to notify your car insurance company could cause your policy to be canceled, nullifying any future insurance claims.