VIN etchings on auto glass prevent theft, prompt insurance discounts

Published: Friday, Nov. 2 2012 3:10 p.m. MDT

Insurance companies and law enforcement agencies agree that etching your car’s VIN into the glass can protect your car from theft, but it could save you money on insurance, too.

Jacquelyn Martin, AP

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SALT LAKE CITY — Insurance companies and law enforcement agencies agree that etching your car’s VIN into the glass can protect your car from theft, and it could also save you money on insurance, according to FoxBusiness.

Many insurance companies offer discounts on coverage to customers who have their car's VIN etched into its windshield and other windows. Since VIN-etched cars are harder to for thieves to sell, the practice serves as a theft deterrent, which allows insurers to be able to afford giving discounts on that coverage.

VIN etching permanently stencils an automobile’s 17-digit vehicle identification number near the bottom of the glass in a manner that doesn’t block visibility. While the process only takes 10-15 minutes, it can cost about $200 when the service is bought from a car dealership.

Some ways car owners can save on VIN etchings is to buy a do-it-yourself kit for $20, pay the American Automobile Association to do it for $30-$40 or find out when a local crime prevention association plans to do them for free.

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