Your guide to personalised number plates

Article, Blog

If you’re looking to treat yourself to a plate change, maybe to a meaningful name or something fun and quirky, there are a few things you need to know first.


An introduction to licence plate styles

Since the early 1960s licence registration in the UK has come in three styles.

Firstly there was the Suffix (1963 – 1983), where the single letter at the end identified the age of the vehicle.

Then came the Prefix (1983 – 2001), where the age was identified by the single letter at the start of the plate.

Then, from September 2001, there’s the current style, where the two numbers in the middle identify the age.


Buying licence plates

If you’re thinking of buying a personalised licence registration, the first thing you need to know is that you can only put a number on a vehicle of equal age or newer to that of the age identifier.

So for all you classic owners, you cannot have a Prefix or current style licence on a car from the Suffix era. However, you can look at dateless number plates to see if there’s anything available that suits you (and if you can afford it).
If you have a more modern vehicle like a 4×4 and you’d like to personalise your plates, you just need to ensure that the date identifier doesn’t make the vehicle seem younger than it is.

For example, if you wanted to buy DE11 BOY, you can only put it on a car made in March 2011 or after.


Who sells licence plates?

The DVLA began holding back licence plate numbers that had individual appeal in 1983 and then began selling them in 1989.

The DVLA has over 45 million licence plates for sale and runs its own auctions for the more highly sought after: https://dvlaregistrations.direct.gov.uk/

There are lots of registration number auction websites out there too. Try www.platemaster.com where there are lots of helpful information about the legal side of replacing plates.

Here’s a good piece of advice from the site:

“The age of your vehicle is the ‘first registered’ date as stated on the vehicle’s V5 registration document and is not necessarily indicated by its number plate. Keep in mind that your vehicle may already be displaying a personalised number plate since the time it was purchased.”

Once you buy a registration number, you’ll get a Certificate of Entitlement (V750), which you fill in and return to the DVLA to assign the number to a vehicle.

You’ll then need to purchase the new plates from a registered number plate supplier (and only a registered number plate supplier), who will ensure that they are made to the correct legal standard, including colours, sizes and backgrounds.

It’s extremely important that you tell your insurance provider so that you’re covered on the new number should the police check or if ANPR is used anywhere. You’ll get points on your licence if you haven’t done this and it will affect your next policy quote.

By the way, the most expensive number plate in the world was purchased at a charity auction in Abu Dhabi for £14million by Saeed Khouri. It simply reads: 1.

To speak with us about your classic vehicle insurance, call us today on 0121 248 9229.

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