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What is VIN Etching?

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Maybe you’re shopping for a car at the dealership or maybe you’ve heard about a VIN etching insurance discount. 

Either way, you’ve probably got some questions. 

This page will provide you with everything you need to know about VIN etching and how to get it for your vehicle. 

What is VIN Etching?

Every vehicle has a unique vehicle identification number (What is a VIN?) that is used for a variety of purposes. 

One of those purposes is for tracking and recovering stolen vehicles by VIN

However, there is also a way that the VIN can help prevent and deter vehicle theft altogether – that’s through VIN etching. 

VIN etching is a process in which the car’s VIN is engraved onto each of the windshields of the vehicle. 

The engraving is permanent and impossible to remove from the glass.

There are a few different methods in which VIN etching can be completed, but the most common method involves a stencil and etching paste. 

The idea behind VIN etching is that it makes it much more difficult for a thief to dismantle and sell the vehicle for parts to turn a profit. 

Automotive glass used to be one of the parts of a stolen vehicle that was very lucrative for thieves. 

In order for a car thief to make a profit off a stolen vehicle that has VIN etching, they’ll first need to strip out the windows. It makes stealing a VIN-etched vehicle more hassle than it is worth. 

Additionally, a car with VIN etching can help law enforcement recover the vehicle faster. 

Many law enforcement agencies, insurance providers, and government agencies recommend VIN etching.

How much does VIN etching cost? 

Costs for VIN etching vary greatly. 

Depending on where and when you get it done, you’ll find that the price will range from free of charge to hundreds of dollars. 

If you’re interested in getting your vehicle’s VIN etched for free, look for information from your local law enforcement agencies. Sometimes, these departments will hold free VIN etching events to help curb theft and encourage vehicle safety. 

There are also DIY-VIN etching kits that you can find online or at your local auto parts store that typically range anywhere from $10 to $25. 

Finally, many car dealerships will either offer VIN etching or add it on as an additional fee to your purchase. VIN etching at a dealership will typically cost a few hundred dollars. 

If you’re purchasing a vehicle at a dealership with a high VIN etching fee baked into the purchase price, you can typically negotiate it with the salesperson. 

Does VIN etching lower your car insurance rates?

Another benefit for VIN etching is that it can help to lower your car insurance premiums. 

Many insurance providers will offer a discount on your comprehensive coverage if your car has VIN etching on its windows. 

Depending on the insurance company, this discount can range from 5% to 15% off. 

Where to get VIN etching on your vehicle?

There are a few different places you can go to get VIN etching on your car. Your options include:

  • The car dealership.
  • Your local police department. 
  • Auto glass companies. 
  • Doing it yourself. 

The process of VIN etching only takes a few minutes. 

It’s safe, simple, and fast, and will not damage your vehicle. 

Can I do my own VIN etching?

One of your options for VIN etching is to do it yourself with a VIN etching kit. 

You can find these kits online or at most auto parts stores. 

Most VIN etching kits work in the same way, and the entire process only takes a few minutes. 

To do VIN etching yourself:

  • Purchase a VIN etching kit and read the instructions. 
  • Create a stencil that matches your car’s VIN number.
  • Clean your windows. 
  • Apply the activator solution to the glass.
  • Lay the VIN stencil on the glass where you want the VIN etched. 
  • Apply the etching gel. 
  • Allow the solution to work based on the manufacturer instructions. 
  • Clean the window. 

Is VIN Etching Worth It?

Again, VIN etching is a simple, quick, and safe process that can play a big part in deterring vehicle theft and aiding in recovery. 

Considering you can get VIN etching done for cheap (or free) AND earn a discount on your car insurance, it makes it worth it. 

Contact your car insurance provider or shop around for quotes to see how much you can save with VIN etching.