Most people know that they can lower their auto insurance premiums by driving safely and avoiding accidents. However, they may not realize that there are numerous other ways to save money on auto insurance. By taking steps to make a vehicle safer or less likely to be stolen, an insured can reduce the cost of a policy and also reduce the vehicle’s chance of being involved in a claim. One easy and little-known way to reduce the likelihood of vehicle theft is VIN etching.

What is a VIN?

A VIN, or vehicle identification number, is a unique identifying number for your vehicle. A VIN is like the car’s social security number; it allowed it to be identified and tracked. Whenever a person buys a new car, he or she is able to look up the VIN and see if the vehicle has been involved in accidents or other situations; this is only possible because the VIN is unique to that particular car.

It’s easy to identify a stolen vehicle by VIN. Whenever an individual reports the vehicle as being stolen, the police will take note of the VIN. If a vehicle with that VIN appears for sale or elsewhere, the police can easily identify it as the stolen car.

For this reason, many thieves take measures to prevent the discovery of the VIN. In most cases, a car’s VIN is shown on a sticker on either the dashboard or the inside of the door panel; some cars have the sticker in both places. Removing a VIN sticker is easy, and while it is sometimes possible to obtain a new VIN for a car without identification, it’s not very common. More often, a car recovered without a VIN is considered to be a total loss, regardless of whether it has any damage.

What is VIN Etching?

VIN etching is a way to bypass the ease of removing a car’s VIN sticker. Instead of simply placing a sticker or decal on the vehicle, the VIN is etched into the glass of the window, the metal of the frame, the engine components or some other part of the vehicle. In fact, it’s possible to etch the VIN into numerous panels to maximize the effect.

Why VIN Etching Lowers Auto Insurance Rates

Thieves may be less likely to steal vehicles that have VINs prominently displayed in permanent areas. While it’s not impossible to remove etched glass or parts from the car, it is a lot more trouble than moving on to another vehicle that’s not as well-guarded.

Having the VIN etched into the vehicle also prevents VIN theft, which means your vehicle will never be a total loss due to loss of its VIN alone. Whenever a person buys a new car from a dealership, the option to add VIN etching is often included for free or a very low price. A person is also able to pay for VIN etching after purchasing a vehicle, although the price may be somewhat higher.

How much can I save on my auto insurance premiums?

As a passive defense against auto theft, VIN etching may not save a substantial percentage off the cost of your auto insurance. It will probably not lead to the same size of discount as installing a car alarm or other active anti-theft device, for example. Nevertheless, VIN etching is affordable and permanent, and the savings can add up throughout the life of the car.

The exact amount of the discount will depend on several factors. If you live in an area where vehicle theft is very common, anti-theft measures will have a higher effect on your rates than if you’re insured in an area where theft is not a major concern. Additionally, other anti-theft and safety measures will be taken into account. Ideally, an insured should apply multiple types of protection to a vehicle to safeguard it against theft and accidents. Doubling up on security will lead to the best insurance discounts.

If you’re looking for ways to save money on auto insurance, you can always contact the insurance company to see what discount programs are available to you. Be sure to ask for an estimate of how much you can save by getting a VIN etching, car alarm or other anti-theft devices. By protecting your car against theft, you not only save money on insurance, you also prevent the frustration of a stolen vehicle, and that’s well worth the price.