Private Registration Plates: what do you need to know?

Private Plate

Personalised number plates can help you stand out from the crowd. Inject your own touch on your vehicle by purchasing a set of private reg plates, whether it’s something about you personally or something you like, like tying it back to your favourite football team. Their popularity has created an industry worth more than £100m a year.

If you’ve decided you want to elevate your car with private registration plates, we’ve pulled together a guide of the top things you should know and tips to help guide you through the process.

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What are personalised registration plates?

There are four types of personalised plates in the UK, but the kind you’re most likely dealing with are those issued post-2001. These plates have seven characters consisting of two letters and two numbers followed by another three letters. The two numbers in the reg plate indicate the car’s age, i.e. ‘18’ means the car was registered in 2018. Private reg plates are registered with the DVLA and are not the plates the vehicle was originally sold with.

Rules and regulations of private registration plates

Since 1st September 2001, all-new number plates must adhere to a set of rules that standardise them. So, what are the rules?

All new plates must use a specific font that is designed to make them easier to read and be remembered. This means that plates must be replaced if they include:

  • Stylised letters such as italics
  • Number plate fixing bolts that alter the appearance of the letters

Spacing is of great importance on the plates, with guidelines as follows:

  • Characters must be 79mm tall
  • Characters (except the number 1 or letter I) must be 50mm wide
  • The character stroke (the thickness of the black print) must be 14mm 
  • The space between characters must be 11mm
  • The space between the age identifier and the random letters must be 33mm
  • The margins at the top, bottom and side of the plate must be 11mm
  • Vertical space between the age identifier and the random letters must be 19mm

Registration of private reg plates

Once you buy a new registration plate, there are steps you need to follow before you can use it on your car. The key process is registering your new plates. After purchasing, you should receive an email confirming your purchase if you buy online along with a Certificate of Entitlement (V750) which usually arrives by post two weeks afterwards. You cannot register your private number plate until you have this certificate. 

Once your V750 has arrived you can apply to assign your new plates to your vehicles via the DVLA either online or by post. When your registration is confirmed, you will receive notification of this from the DVLA in the form of the V5C. After this has been received, you can apply your plates to your vehicle.

Informing your insurer

If you register private plates on your vehicles, it’s essential to inform your insurance provider. If you don’t, you’re a risk of invalidating your insurance policy. Assigning a private number plate to your vehicle shouldn’t incur additional costs on your policy.

Where to buy personalised number plates

You can buy private registration plates directly from the DVLA as well as a variety of other private sellers. 

How much do private reg plates cost?

The cost of private number plates varies greatly depending on how old they are, whether they feature resemblance to certain words or similar and their popularity. While something simpler that is very specific to you may not blow the budget, others can run into the tens of thousands. A rule of thumb is that the fewer characters the plate has, the higher the costs will run.

How to transfer your personalised registration plates

Whether you’ve had your current private registration plates for some time or are deciding whether the investment is worthwhile, it’s good to know that you can transfer your private reg plates to another vehicle. You can arrange a reg transfer with the DVLA even if you have sold your previous car and don’t yet have a new car to apply the plates to. Once you have the new vehicle details, you can simply update the DVLA.

What to consider when buying a vehicle with private plates

If you are purchasing a car that currently holds private plates, we recommend completing a car check with us to ensure you have a clear picture of the history of the vehicle. While most seller’s will be genuine and honest, there is a risk that they are trying to hide the history of the car if there’s something untoward. Most seller’s choose to keep their private plates to transfer to their new vehicle, so it’s worth looking into the history of the vehicle which will also show the previous number plates that were assigned to the vehicle.

Now that you’re up to speed with everything you need to know about private registration plates, why not complete a number plate check with us? It’s a great place to start with looking into a vehicle you are considering purchasing.

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