The Anti-Vehicle Crime Association of Minnesota (AVCAM) is a non-profit organization formed to prevent vehicle crime through community awareness and education. Our members come from law enforcement, insurance companies and other organizations and businesses interested in preventing vehicle crime. AVCAM has no paid staff and operates solely with member volunteers. The AVCAM message is clear and succinct:  Lock Your Car.  Take Your Keys.  Prevent A Theft.
Items filtered by date: May 2013
VIN etching is the permanent stenciling of your vehicle’s 17-digit identification number onto the windshield and all window glass.

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.

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.  

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.

Why Do VIN Etching?

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.

If your auto has VIN etching, a thief would need to change out all the glass on the vehicle, which is expensive and thus a deterrent to stealing your car versus one without VIN etching.  Also, if your car is stolen, police will have an easier time identifying and recovering your vehicle -- even if the VIN plate is missing -- since the VIN is now available on multiple parts of your vehicle.

Where to get a VIN etching

Dealerships typically offer VIN etching on new cars, but this option tends to be pricey ($200 or more).  To save money, get the etching done on your new or used car by someone other than a dealer.

DIY etching kits are available for $20, and some American Automobile Association (AAA) offices offer the service for $30 for members and $40 for non-members.  Also, police, state and city crime prevention associations host free VIN etching events throughout the year. Look to see if a free VIN etching event is taking place soon in your area before paying to get it done.

When you have the VIN etching done to your vehicle, you should receive a completed form to submit to your car insurance provider and seek a discount.  It’s also a good time to ask your auto insurer about any other types of discounts you may be eligible for but aren’t currently receiving.
Published in AVCAM Blog