Are you thinking of getting a personalised number plate? Our guide explains everything you need to know, including how much It might cost and what you need to do to get a personalised number plate on your car.
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What is a personalised number plate?
A personalised number plate is a number plate that will usually spell out a word or name that is meaningful to the owner. It can be a great way of putting your own stamp on your car and making it more distinctive.
Often, the word or name will use numbers as letters (for example, the number 4 is often used in place of an A) and/or be abbreviated. This is because all number plates need to be different, so it can be a useful way of getting the same word or name as another number plate, while still being unique.
What are the rules for number plates?
Typically, standard number plates will start with two letters and two numbers, and then have a space and three more letters. The first two letters related to where the car was registered, the two numbers relate to the age of the vehicle, and the last three letters will be random and used to make the number plate unique.
Personalised number plates obviously don’t follow these same rules. However, they still need to adhere to the DVLA’s rules for number plates. These include:
- be made from a reflective material
- display black characters on a white background (front plate)
- display black characters on a yellow background (rear plate)
- not have a background pattern
- be marked to show who supplied the number plate
- be marked with a British Standard number – this is ‘BS AU 145e’ for plates fitted after 1 September 2021
How to get a personalised number plate?
You can buy a personalised number plate from various places. The DVLA has a database you can search to find a personalised number plate. You just need to put in the word or name that you want the number plate to represent, and you can then see the number plates that are available that could match. You can buy a personalised number plate from the DVLA via auction.
There are also many dealers who will buy number plates from the DVLA with the intention of selling them on. Buying a number plate from a dealer is often more expensive than buying from the DVLA, as the dealer will want to make a profit. However, if you’re looking for a specific or rare number plate that isn’t on the DVLA database, a dealer might be the best place to find it.
You can also sometimes find personalised number plates from private sellers. This could be where someone had the number plate on their car and now no longer wants it. It can be trickier to find a specific number plate this way, but you can keep an eye on car forums and social media groups in case the right one comes up.
How much is a personalised number plate?
The cost of a personalised number plate will vary. If you’re looking for a personalised plate that has a common name or sought-after word, then it will likely be more expensive than something more obscure.
From DVLA, basic personalised number plates can start from around £150 and can cost up to around £350. More specific personalised plates that can cost between £400 and £1,000.
Dealers can sell number plates that cost a lot more and can range anywhere from £400 all the way to £95,000 and over.
The most expensive personalised number plate in the UK was ‘25 O’. It was sold in 2014 for £518.480 and is now on a Ferrari 250 GTO. The most expensive personalised number plate sold publicly in the world was simply the number ‘1’. It was sold in Abu Dhabi for £101million.
How to put a personalised number plate on a car
When you buy a personalised number plate, you’ll also receive a V750 certificate of entitlement. This will allow you to assign the plate to your vehicle. You can do this on the DVLA website or by post. You will need the V5C log book for the vehicle, showing you are the registered keeper, as well as your completed V750 certificate. There is an £80 fee to register the new plates that can be paid online or by cheque if you’re applying by post.
Once you receive your new V5C log book with the new licence plate, you can then remove the old plates and fix the new ones to your car.
If you plan on keeping the personalised number plate even if you get rid of the car, you can keep hold of the original plates and put them back on the car when you sell it. You can then assign your personalised plate to a new car by going through the registration process again.
You can retain your personalised plates without assigning them to a vehicle, however, you will need to register this with the DVLA. There will be an £80 fee. You’ll then have a V778 retention document that’s valid for 10 years. If you want to continue to keep hold of the plates, you’ll have to renew again every 10 years.