The Ins and Outs of Personalised Number Plates: A Guide


By law, every road-faring car in the UK is required to display a unique combination of numbers and letters on its front and rear. This registration code can be used to identify a car at a glance. They’re used for background checks, law enforcement, and car-parking charges.

As standard, your registration number will be derived from a few facts about the car. The numbers, for example, represent the period in which it was first sold. The first two letters, on the other hand, identify the place.

If you’d like to put your own individual stamp on your vehicle, however, then you might elect to invest in a personalised plate. You’ll need to pay for this privilege, and the price can vary tremendously. Let’s take a closer look at what to consider when shopping for personalised number plates.

Keep in mind the legal requirements

You’ll need to consider the law as it relates to number plates. You can’t have a plate that starts with ‘Q’ or ‘NIQ’, for example, since these numbers are reserved for special classes of vehicles, such as those which have been used by the secret service and have a classified history. 

What’s more, you can’t use private numbers to make a vehicle look newer than it is in reality. So, an otherwise ordinary-looking plate with the numbers changed is not allowed.

Assigning a new number to a private vehicle requires either a V750 certificate of entitlement (if you’ve bought the number) or a V778 (if you’re transferring the number from another vehicle you own).

The cost of a personalised number plate can be high

Prices for personalised numbers plates on the DVLA website start at £250. Beyond that, it’s an open market. You might expect to pay up to six figures for certain desirable plates. You’ll want to therefore budget accordingly. If you want to sell a number plate, then you need to remove it using an online form and assign it to the vehicle you’re transferring it to. You can also do this by post.

If you’re shopping for a used car, then you might wish to add a personalised number plate to put your own stamp on it. 

Have a think before committing

While you can sell your plate on after you’ve bought it, the process can be convoluted. Make sure therefore that you’ve picked a registration that you’re not going to regret. Choose a set of words or numbers that are significant to you. If you want to try and compromise and use an approximation of what you’d really like to say, then why not ask an impartial third party what they understand your new plate to say? If they find it incomprehensible, or they read a word that isn’t there, it might be time to reconsider your options.





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