Topic:
AUTOMOBILE INSURANCE; MOTOR VEHICLES; THEFT;
Location:
INSURANCE - MOTOR VEHICLE;

OLR Research Report


May 21, 2008

 

2008-R-0323

AUTO INSURANCE DISCOUNT FOR ETCHING VEHICLE WINDOWS

 

By: Janet L. Kaminski Leduc, Associate Legislative Attorney

You asked (1) if Rhode Island law requires motor vehicle insurers to provide a premium discount to customers who have their vehicle's windows etched with the vehicle identification number (VIN) and (2) for a summary of Connecticut requirements relating to VIN etching.

SUMMARY

Rhode Island law requires auto insurers to provide a premium reduction to insureds whose vehicles are equipped with antitheft devices, as defined in regulations (R.I. Gen. Laws 27-9-7.2). The regulation specifies what constitutes an antitheft device and the minimum premium discounts required for each (R.I. Ins. Reg 84, enclosed). It does not include VIN etching as an antitheft device. Therefore, insurers operating in Rhode Island are not required to offer a premium discount for VIN etching, though some may voluntarily do so.

Connecticut law requires each new or used car dealer to offer, as an optional service, VIN etching. A dealer may charge reasonable rates for the service and must annually file its rates with the Department of Motor Vehicles (CGS 14-99h).

RHODE ISLAND'S ANTITHEFT DEVICE PREMIUM DISCOUNT

Under Rhode Island's regulation, auto insurers must offer a premium discount to insureds whose vehicles are equipped with an alarm-only, active disabling, or passive disabling device, a vehicle recovery system service, or a device and recovery service combination. Table 1 provides a description of each antitheft device and the corresponding minimum premium discount required.

Table 1: Rhode Island's Required Minimum Auto Insurance Premium Discount by Type of Antitheft Device

Category

Device Description

Minimum Discount

1

Alarm Only:

A device that sounds an audible alarm that can be heard at least 300 feet away and for at least three minutes.

5%

2

Active Disabling:

A device that disables the vehicle, by making the fuel, ignition, or starting system inoperative, and requires a manual step to engage it.

5%

3

Passive Disabling:

A device that disables the vehicle, by making the fuel, ignition, or starting system inoperative, but does not require a manual step to engage it.

15%

4

Vehicle Recovery System Service:

An electronic unit installed in a vehicle that is activated after the vehicle is stolen. When activated, the device provides information to law enforcement officials, or another public or private entity, regarding the vehicle's location to assist in the vehicle's recovery.

25%

Multiple

Categories 1 and 4

30%

Multiple

Categories 2 and 4

30%

Multiple

Categories 3 and 4

35%

JKL:ts