Personalising Your Car: What You Should Know Before Changing a Number Plate

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changing a number plate

If you're one of the many drivers out there thinking of changing a number plate for something a little more personalised, then you're in the right place.

Customised registration numbers are more popular than ever- in fact, roughly £111 million was spent on these kinds of plates last year (in just the UK alone)!  

With these being such a hot product, we wanted to put together an article highlighting everything you need to know on the subject. So, let's dive in!


The Basics

It's a legal requirement for all drivers in the UK to have a fitted registration plate attached to your vehicle. However, can't stick any random plate on your car! 

If you risk fitting a faulty plate on your vehicle, you could end up paying a fine of up to £1,000


The Legal Requirements

The legal requirements for number plates were stipulated back in 2001. These regulations list the following format as 'standard':  

  • Two letters representing the country your vehicle was initially registered,
  • Two numbers highlighting the year the plate was issued,
  • Three random letters,

This then begs the question; how do customised number plates work?

If you fancy a personalised number plate for your vehicle, it must abide by the following regulations listed by the government:

  • Be made of reflective material,
  • The front plate must display black characters set on a plain white background.
  • The rear plate must display black characters set on a plain yellow background.

It almost goes without saying, you can't have a background pattern on either the front or rear plates. This would distort the appearance of the registration number and render the plates useless. 

Whereas, motorbikes only require a number plate on the back of the vehicle, displaying the characters across two lines.

When it comes to towing a trailer, you'll need to ensure that both your car and trailer exhibit the same registration numbers. This means you'll need to position these plates at the rear so everyone can clearly see the plates. 


How to Find Your Ideal Plate

Conducting a personalised number plate search is easy- just head over to a registered provider and plug in your desired plate. This should then populate both its availability and cost. 

Most people prefer plates showcasing their initials, nickname, or date of birth. 

However, you should note the DVLA banned applications for personalised number plates that were considered 'offensive.' So, if that was your plan, we hate to disappoint- but don't bother. 

Top Tip: If you want to buy a personalised number plate, then you should allow yourself more than one choice. Otherwise, you're likely to be disappointed. This is particularly true if your heart's set on a famous slogan or a popular phrase. 

Usually, someone else will have already nabbed your ideal registration number. Owner of personalised plates can keep them for as long as they want.

So, if you only have one combination in mind, you could be waiting for a long time! 


Where Can You Buy Personalised Number Plates?

Typically, the most renown supplier is the DVLA website. However, there are plenty of other reputable databases that do the job just as well. Once you've received your order, you must ensure a registered number plate supplier supplies the number plates. 

Top Tip: when you go to get your plate fitted, you'll need to take an official form of ID in addition to your vehicle registration documents. These are essential for proving you're authorised to drive the vehicle.


Do Customised Plates Impact Insurance Premiums?

Each insurance provider works slightly differently- some will charge you an admin fee to amend the existing policy.

If you're unsure where you stand, reach out to your current insurance supplier (or any you're considering) to see how your personalised plate impacts your policy. 


Can I Transfer a Personalised Plate?

Yes, you can transfer a personalised plate to another vehicle as long as you're the registered owner. However, if you rush to sell your car before transferring the registration, you run the risk of losing your customised registration number. 


Are Personalised Plates Expensive?

In short, they can be.

Customised number plates fluctuate in price depending on what you want. You should expect a starting price of £100 which can move upwards into the thousands!


How Do You Protect Personalised Plates from Thieves?

It's well known that number plates are one of the most commonly stolen items from vehicles. This is because these registration numbers can be utilised to disguise car theft and insurance dodging. 

To protect yourself, heed the below advice:

  • Always park and/or store your vehicle in a well-lit area (visibility is key to deterring criminals), 
  • You can purchase theft-resistant number plates (these are usually more expensive, but they're specially designed to resist renown methods of attack. If someone tries to remove the plate by force, they'll break, which renders them useless to the perpetrator),
  • You can also purchase insurance covering your personalized plate,
  • Consider engraving your registration number into the windows. This often puts thieves off. 

In the event you're a victim of a number plate theft, inform the police as soon as you can. 


Was This Info on Changing a Number Plate Useful?

If you enjoyed this piece on changing a number plate, you'll love our other published articles. Over there we discuss everything from whether the queen has a number plate to cheap dateless registration ideas. Enjoy!

Alternatively, if you have any questions about this post or this subject more generally, please reach out and contact us and we'll get back to you as soon as we possibly can. Speak soon!