Private number plates, also known as cherished registrations or vanity plates, are a popular motoring gift. Many motorists choose a plate that reflects their name, occupation, favorite sports team, or home town, and it’s also a way of hiding the age of your car. The DVLA issues a new range of personal plates each year through their website, or there’s always the option of buying a second-hand plate from another motorist. If you’ve always wanted a private plate and have your eye on that perfect combination of letters and numbers, there are a few practical hurdles to jump through first.
Registering a Plate With the DVLA
Getting a new plate is just the start of the process. You can’t just buy the plate, put it onto your car and start driving around with it. The transfer of the plate must be done officially. The DVLA maintains a database of all registration numbers for the police, and also for websites where you can log in and check the MOT or tax status of a car. The terminology used by the DVLA is assigning a number plate to a vehicle. You should do this as soon as you buy the plates, and can’t start using your new number until you receive the paperwork back in the post.
If you’ve bought a second-hand plate from someone else, you must first take it from the vehicle it was previously on, and apply to re-register it on your car. You can do this online, or through the post if it’s easier. The fee for transferring a number for one vehicle to another is currently £80. Once you have applied to assign your new personal plate, the DVLA will send out a new V5 owner’s form showing the new registration number. All mention of your previous number will be erased; a buyer in the future won’t see the old registration plate when they check the MOT cover online, for example.
Tell Your Insurer and Breakdown Cover
As well as changing the plate officially with the DVLA, you’ll also have to tell your insurer and other organisations about the change of number. Simply changing the registration plate shouldn’t increase the costs of your insurance. It’s important though that the insurers hold the correct details to make things easier if you need to make a claim in the future. Similarly, if you have parking permits, breakdown cover or anything else linked to the car’s registration number, change those too. There’s usually not a cost for this either, but it might involve some calls or emails.
Relinquishing your Plate
If you decide you don’t want the personal plate any longer, then you are free to sell it at some point in the future. The DVLA will then assign you a different, standard registration plate from its pool of unused numbers. You won’t get the original car number back. Another option is to sell the vehicle complete with a personal plate, and let the new owner decide what they want to do with it.