Does having tinted windows affect car insurance rates?

Tinting your car windows typically won’t raise your car insurance rates as long as you follow specific guidelines. Discover how to do so without affecting your car insurance today.

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UPDATED: Jun 10, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: Jun 10, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • Window tinting usually won’t increase your car insurance rate as long as you meet specific requirements
  • Hiring a bonded and insured company or having your tinting installed by a dealership can save money in the long run
  • To ensure coverage, report all customizations and modifications to your car insurance company

Tinting your car windows typically won’t raise your car insurance rates as long as you follow specific guidelines. Many vehicles produced today have some degree of tinting, and that won’t affect your insurance rate. However, additional tinting can, in some cases.

Any after-market tinting must meet manufacturer specifications and tinting laws in the state where the vehicle was built. If your tint satisfies those criteria, you shouldn’t see an automatic increase in your insurance rate. Tinting can affect your insurance coverage, however.

When can window tinting affect your insurance coverage?

Police officers can issue tickets if your windows are darker than legal limits or if the windshield tinting is too wide. Not only will you have to pay a fine, but you might also find yourself paying more for your car insurance. It’s a good idea to keep documentation of your VLT percentage in your car so you can prove that your car’s treatment is legal.

If you’re in an accident caused by illegally tinted windows, your insurance company may not pay for all damages, especially if you didn’t report the modification. You could also lose your coverage altogether.

If you’d like to see the difference window tinting might make to your car insurance rate, using an online insurance comparison tool to find the cheapest car insurance rates can save time and money. These tools can help you find the best place for the lowest car insurance quotes.

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Why could you lose car insurance coverage for illegally tinted windows?

States regulate the amount of tinting you can have because windows that are too dark and windshields with tinting that is too wide can be dangerous. You must be able to see clearly to drive safely.

Insurance companies consider windows that exceed state permissions as dangerous because they can limit your vision. You’re more at risk of having an accident or collision if you are unable to see. If your window tint is too dark to be legal, you’ll probably see a significant increase in your car insurance rate.

Failing to report an accurate VLT percentage puts you in danger of the insurance company refusing to pay damages if you’re in a wreck. The company can also cancel your policy if it chooses.

What should you research before tinting your windows?

People tint car windows for several reasons, and doing so has many benefits:

  • Cooler car interior
  • More privacy
  • Reduction of UV ray exposure
  • Theft deterrence
  • Less road and sun glare
  • Aesthetically pleasing appearance
  • Increased lifespan for your car’s interior

If you’re thinking about tinting your windows for one reason or another, do your homework first. It can save you money and keep you in compliance with your car insurance company and state or local laws. You might even decide not to add tint to your car’s windows. You’re also probably thinking, “where can I get my car windows tinted?” Be sure to find a reputable shop in your area.

State Laws

Every state in the U.S. has laws governing window tinting. These laws specify the darkest percentage of tint legally allowed and which windows you can treat. Local governments may have their own requirements, so check with your city or county as well.

The percentages you’ll see measure visible light transmission. The VLT number correlates to the amount of light that can travel through your treated window. Higher percentages mean lighter tints, while low percentages represent darker window treatments.

Allowed tint percentages vary greatly, ranging from none to 70%. If your travel takes you across state lines, look into the legal limits in these states. Going from a state that allows 35% tinting to one with a legal limit of 70% means that you might get a traffic ticket even though you’re legal in your state of residence.

Manufacturer Specifications

You might find your vehicle’s manufacturer recommendations for window tinting in your owner’s manual or website. Call a dealership or professional tinting installer if you have trouble locating or understanding that information. They should have access to the data.

Your car dealership might offer window tinting. If they don’t or if you want to compare prices, you can also ask the dealership where you can get your car windows tinted.

Your Insurance Company’s Tinted Window Policy

If you want to ensure that your insurance company will replace your tinted window, you may need to add additional coverage. Otherwise, your policy might only replace your window with original manufacturer tinting. Check with your company to see what coverages they offer.

To avoid potential car insurance issues, talk to your company before you tint your windows so you’ll know if you need to purchase additional coverage and what consequences you might face. If you do treat your windows, report it to your insurance company.

Tinting Installation Sources and Costs

As with any purchase, you can save money by getting quotes from multiple vendors. Look for licensed, insured, and bonded installers in your area, then ask for written quotations.

You can save money by applying window treatments yourself, but you might not get a professional-looking result. It’s easy to mess up and have to redo these applications, so consider that factor when comparing costs.

What is the most common tint level?

When car makers tint windows, the VLT is usually between 15% and 26%. “Factory tint” usually refers to 20% VLT.

The after-market legal tinting average is 50%, but the most popular tint levels are 20% and 35%. States generally restrict the amount of tint you can apply to the windshield and front windows but not the back side windows and rear windows.

Laws regarding windshield tint specify both the VLT percentage and the area where you can apply it. Vehicle windshields have an AS1 line that is typically 5 inches to 6 inches below the top of the glass. Tinting below your car’s AS1 line is illegal. Some states don’t allow any windshield tinting. Be sure that your tint won’t violate state laws.

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Have you decided to tint your windows?

Be sure not to exceed your state’s tinting standards. If you do, you can get a ticket and possibly lose your insurance coverage or pay much higher rates. Ask your car dealership for recommendations if you don’t know where you can get your car windows tinted.

It’s smart to research insurance rates from different companies to be sure you get the best rate. Using an online comparison site can save time and money.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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