I’m thinking of buying a personalised number plate. How easy is swapping my cars’ plates?

personalised number plate

Buying a personalised or private number plate is an easy way to make your car appear a little more unique. And it’s very easy to do.

Where do you buy a personalised number plate?

Broadly speaking there are four ways of getting a private number plate. You either swap it from your existing car, perhaps if it has some significance or sentimental value. You might buy one being advertised privately, or from a number plate dealer. And the fourth and probably most popular way is to buy from a Driver Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) auction.

How much do private number plates cost?

Once upon a time, having a private number plate was a real sign of cachet. That’s because they were scarce and therefore quite expensive. But in 1989, the DVLA started auctioning number plates off, in the process raising billions of pounds for the UK government.

Depending on the plate, it will cost between hundreds and thousands of pounds. A current style reg plate (two letters, two digits, three letters) that perhaps spells out a three-letter name will cost between £150 and £350. The most expensive plate sold in the UK, 25 O, went for £518,000. But then it was for a hyper expensive Ferrari 250 GTO so the buyer probably wasn’t that worried by the price.

personalised number plate

What happens when you get a private plate?

As soon as you buy a plate from the DVLA or a number plate dealer, you’ll get a V750 certificate of entitlement. This means the plate is yours and you can put it on a car. Number plate dealers will often sort out the paperwork for you.

No matter where you buy it from, a private plate should come with a V750 certificate of entitlement.

What can’t you do with a private plate?

There are certain restrictions to do with private plates. You can’t use them on a vehicle to make it look newer than it actually is. And you can’t put a personalised plate on a Q-registered vehicle.

In addition, the car the private plate is going on must be registered in the UK, be able to move under its own steam, have been taxed or had a SORN in place continuously for the last five years and be taxed currently. The vehicle must also be available for the DVLA to inspect.

personalised number plate
Retired Ian Guest bought this number plate from the DVLA

How do you transfer a private plate?

Moving personalised plates from one vehicle to another (perhaps if you get a new car) requires a V317 form. You must send this to the DVLA accompanied by the car’s V5C and a completed V62 form from the vehicle the personalised plate is coming off as well as the one the plate is going onto.

This process costs £80 and if you need to have new number plates physically made, you’ll have to pay for this too. The DVLA will assign the car that the number plate comes off with its original reg number.

One more thing…

Remember to tell your insurer when you get a private plate put on your car. Different companies have different rules but if you make a claim and you haven’t told them, they might refuse to pay out.