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Our guide to personalised number plates

Personalised registration plates were once the preserve of the rich and famous – they are still popular with celebrities such as Sir Alan Sugar’s AMS1 and Nicky Clarke’s H41RDO. However, they are now much more attainable, with everyone from boy racers to company executives sporting distinctive digits and letters on their car number plates.

So just how affordable are personalised number plates, how can you get one, what are the costs involved and do they affect your car insurance?

What do personalised number plates cost?

The cost of a personalised plate depends largely on how clearly it spells a desirable name. For example, 51NGH, spelling a very popular Asian surname, went for over a quarter of a million pounds at auction in 2006. Personal number plates that are less obvious, such as your initials, go for far less. The DVLA website lists personalised plates from as little as £250, including the transfer fee, with new 63 plate registrations starting at £399.

Are there any other costs?

If your purchase price does not include the transfer of the new registration onto your vehicle, then there will be an additional fee of £80 to pay. If you do not want to assign the number straight away, then you will need to hold the number on a V750 certificate. Similarly, if you keep the number but sell or scrap your car, then you will need a V778 retention certificate. Each of these costs £25 per year to renew.

Where can you buy a personalised number plate?

You can buy a personalised number plate on the DVLA website, or from a variety of independent dealers that can be found online. The DVLA also holds six auctions per year for the most desirable plates. The next auctions in 2013 will be held at Brooklands, Surrey from 26th to 28th September and Park Royal Hotel, Warrington from 27th to 29th November. The record for a number plate at auction currently stands at £352,000 for 1D, surprisingly beating the most original registration number of all, 1A, which fetched just £200,000.

Are there any restrictions?

There are a few restrictions on personalised number plates. These include:

  • You can’t make your vehicle look younger than it is.
  • You can’t put a personalised plate on a Q registered vehicle
  • You can’t alter the spacing or use fixing bolts to change the appearance of your plate.
  • Break the last rule and you could face a fine of £1,000 and lose your right to the number plate altogether, so don’t be tempted to buy a plate that needs to be altered to make it work.

    And although having a personalised number plate should not impact on your car insurance premiums, it is always advisable to contact your own car insurance company for advice first, and tell them that the car registration has changed as they will need to update this on the policy.

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