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The truth is that VIN etching isn’t something that is commonly talked about. It is an anti-theft measure you can take for your car. While this isn’t an active anti-theft device it is a passive device that can lead to a reduction in your rates.
What is a VIN and what does it do?
Car insurance companies will reward you for having both active and passive anti-theft devices on your car. A passive anti-theft measure is doing something to your vehicle that makes it more difficult, if not impossible, for a thief to sell your car after they steal it.
In the case of VIN etching, the Vehicle Identification Number is etched into several windows of your car so that if the VIN plate is removed there is still an identifying VIN on the windows.
VIN etching doesn’t have to stop there, either. Some people go so far as to have VIN etchings done on their engine, gas tank and more so that a thief would literally have to replace all of the parts in order to sell the car somewhere else.
Because this isn’t cost effective, the thief either is unable to sell the vehicle or tries to sell it anyway and is caught!
In the case of VIN etching in the window, all or some of your windows are etched with the VIN of your vehicle below the seal line. In order for a thief to see it, he or she would have to remove each of your windows which most thieves aren’t willing to do.
Yet, your willingness to take this step can help keep your vehicle from being stolen because a car dealership has the equipment on hand to remove and replace a window to determine whether or not it has been stolen before they make a purchase.
This makes it difficult for the thief to do business.
There are several ways to get VIN etching done on your vehicle, including:
- Dealer – In many cases, when you purchase a new vehicle, the dealer will offer a certain number of VIN etchings for free as part of the purchase. Some dealers will charge you a small fee and some dealers will charge a huge fee. It just depends on where you buy the car.
- Factory – If you don’t buy a car off of the lot because you are having one made custom, you can request the etching be done at the factory and skip the middleman, so to speak.
- Independent – If you want to get VIN etching on a vehicle you already own, you can hire someone to do it.
You should talk to several insurance companies to ensure that you get the most savings from whatever anti-theft measures you take, both passive and active.
If an insurance company doesn’t offer a discount for passive measures, consider finding another company to work with.
Can I get VIN etchings done on my older vehicle?
You can get VIN etchings done at any time. However, you need to understand that if you do this on your own, you are going to have to pay to have this done and it probably won’t be cheap.
Removing the windows from your car to do a window VIN etching will be costly, as will finding a specialist to do VIN etchings on your car parts. In some cases, the person may need to remove some engine parts, which will mean that there will be steep labor costs involved.
If you already own your vehicle, consider a tracking device, which is getting more and more affordable as an anti-theft option. You should compare the cost of VIN etching on your older vehicle to other anti-theft measures to see what will fit best in your budget.
If you have an accident that requires you to get a new window, that is the best time to get an etching done. Some window companies will do it for only a couple of extra dollars, which your insurance company may pay for anyway.
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