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TheStreet Open House

Do Auto Insurers Offer A VIN Etching Discount?





Question: Do auto insurance companies offer a discount if you have your VIN etched into your car's windshield and windows?  If so, how much is the discount?

Answer:  Yes, many auto insurers will give you a discount if your car's vehicle identification number (VIN) is permanently etched into your vehicle's glass.  The discount varies but typically it's anywhere from 5 percent to 15 percent off of your comprehensive coverage.   (See " Vehicle and safety-feature discounts")

Comprehensive insurance is what covers your vehicle if it's stolen, and for other certain situations.  (See “ What does comprehensive cover?”)  Having your VIN etched on your windows counts as a passive security system / anti-theft deterrent and is why a discount may be available on this portion of your policy. 

Some states, such as Louisiana (per Revised Statue 22:1457(c)) and New York (per Insurance Law 2336(f)) require an auto insurance company to offer a discount for VIN etchings, while other states leave it up to the car insurance companies to decide if a discount will be offered.

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 -- such as rear window, T-top, sunroof or moonroof and door glass -- of your automobile.

The engraving can be done by either laser, chemical or mechanical process and usually takes as little as 10 to 15 minutes.  Typically the etching is done at the bottom of the glass and doesn't obstruct your view or change the overall appearance of your car, but it can help protect it from thieves.

Why do it?

Police and insurance companies both recommend VIN etching to protect your vehicle against theft.  It's much harder for a thief to make a profit off of stealing your vehicle when your car's glass is etched with your VIN.

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