AutoInsurance.com
Published: December 1, 2022Last updated: December 8, 2022

Why Your Tinted Windows May Be Illegal

Depending on what state you’re in, you may be breaking the law.

How Tinted Can Your Windows Be

People tint their windows for a variety of reasons, from privacy concerns to keeping sunlight out and vehicles cooler. But depending on what state you’re driving in, your tinted front, rear, and side windows may be illegal. If you get a ticket for your illegally tinted windows, that could cause your insurance rates to rise, which is why it’s important to make sure you’re following state laws.

How Tinted Can Your Windows Be?

Tint is measured in visible light transmission (VLT), the percentage of visible light that gets through the film. For example, a window with a VLT of 100 percent would not be tinted at all, while a vehicle with a VLT of 75 percent would let three-quarters of the light come through. The higher the VLT, the less tinted the window is. Each state has different VLT requirements.

State Front driver side passenger side windows (VLT minimum) Rear passenger windows (VLT minimum) Rear window (VLT minimum) Windshield length of sticker maximum and/or type of glass and/or VLT minimum
Alabama 32% 32% 32% 6″
Alaska 70% 40% 30% 5″
Arizona 33% Any Any AS1
Arkansas 25% 25% 10% 5″
California 70% Any Any 4″
Colorado 27% 27% 27% 4″
Connecticut 35% 35% Any AS1
Delaware 70% Any Any AS1
District of Columbia 70% 50% 50% 5″/AS1
Florida 28% 15% 15% AS1
Georgia 32% 32% 32% 6″
Hawaii 32% 35% 35% 4”/AS1
Idaho 35% 20% 35% AS1
Illinois 35% 35% 35% 6″
Indiana 30% 30% 30% AS1
Iowa 70% Any Any AS1
Kansas 35% 35% 35% AS1
Kentucky 35% 18% 18% AS1
Louisiana 40% 25% 12% AS1
Maine 35% Any Any 4″
Maryland 35% 35% 35% 5″
Massachusetts 35% 35% 35% 6″
Michigan 4″ Any Any 4″
Minnesota 50% 50% 50% None
Mississippi 28% 28% 28% AS1
Missouri 35% Any Any AS1
Montana 24% 14% 14% AS1
Nebraska 35% 20% 20% 5″/AS1
Nevada 35% Any Any AS1
New Hampshire None 35% 35% 6″
New Jersey None Any Any None
New Mexico 20% 20% 20% 5″/AS1
New York 70% 70% Any 6″
North Carolina 35% 35% 35% AS1
North Dakota 50% Any Any No more than 70%
Ohio 50% Any Any No more than 70%
Oklahoma 25% 25% 25% 5″/AS1
Oregon 35% 35% 35% 6″
Pennsylvania 70% 70% 70% None
Rhode Island 70% 70% 70% AS1
South Carolina 27% 27% 27% AS1
South Dakota 35% 20% 20% AS1
Tennessee 35% 35% 35% AS1
Texas 25% 25% Any 5″/AS1
Utah 43% Any Any AS1
Vermont None Any 32% 32%
Virginia 50% 35% 35% AS1
Washington 24% 24% 24% 6″
West Virginia 35% 35% 35% 5″
Wisconsin 50% 35% 35% AS1
Wyoming 28% 28% 28% 5″/AS1

Aside from the VLT, some states also legislate the tint’s color, reflectivity, and finish.1

Rather than having tinted windshields, some states allow drivers to add a sticker to the sun shield at the top of the windshield. But most states require AS1, the clearest form of glass available for use in cars.2

Law enforcement officers carry devices that measure VLT. If the device shows the windows are more tinted than the law allows, the officer might issue the driver a warning, ticket or, in the most extreme cases, an arrest that could result in jail time.3 Even if you’re from another state, you have to follow the laws of the state you’re driving in, so be careful when traveling between states.

Now, there are some exemptions to window tinting laws. If you have a medical or vision problem that requires you to limit your light exposure, you can apply for an exemption, waiver, or permit through your state’s Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV). You’ll have to have medical documentation to prove this need, which you’ll send along with your application to the DMV.

How Tinted Windows Can Affect Car Insurance

Let’s say you’re driving somewhere and a police officer stops you and issues you a ticket for having windows that are too dark. Unfortunately, getting that ticket could increase the cost of your auto insurance.

Another factor to consider is whether your car insurance covers damage to tinted windows. If you added the tint after you purchased the vehicle, you’ll have to buy aftermarket parts and equipment coverage, according to Progressive.4 It’s worth it to read your insurance policy and make sure your car insurance covers tinted windows if your vehicle has them or you want to get them.

Citations

  1. Window Tint Laws By State. Rvinyl. (2022).
    https://www.rvinyl.com/tint-laws-by-state

  2. What Does All That Stuff on My Windshield Mean? AAAA Storage. (2019, Jun 4).
    https://www.aaaastorage.com/blog/what-does-all-that-stuff-on-my-windshield-mean

  3. Car Window Tinting: 7 Things You Need to Know. Kelley Blue Book. (2022, May 24).
    https://www.kbb.com/car-advice/car-window-tinting/

  4. Can tinted windows affect your car insurance? Progressive. (2022).
    https://www.progressive.com/answers/car-insurance-tinted-windows/