Registration plates and your car insurance
You’ve no doubt considered the affect your car, postcode or mileage have on the cost of your insurance, but did you know that your licence plate can impact your insurance too?
Unless you have a personalised registration plate you’ve probably not thought about it, but if you want a customised plate it’s something you should be aware of.
The good news is a personalised plate, despite being expensive, may not force your insurance premium up, in fact it’s more likely to go the other way and could help you save money.
We’ve taken a look at registration plates and how they impact your insurance, starting with a few things you’ll need to talk to your insurer about.
Do I need to inform my insurer if my registration plate changes?
You must always inform your insurer if your registration number changes as there could be issues proving that you’re properly insured otherwise.
By most insurers’ standards, a personalised registration plate doesn’t count as a modification to the car, as it’s simply a way of identifying the vehicle, but it’s always worth checking with your insurer.
When you inform your broker that your registration number has changed, it’s also a good idea to obtain a letter from them confirming that they have no interest in the licence plate.
Why do I need a letter confirming my insurer has no interest in my number plate?
If your car is stolen, and your registration plate with it, you’re probably going to make a claim on your insurance.
When the claim has gone through and you’ve received your pay-out, that lump sum basically means that your insurer has bought the car off you, and therefore owns it along with the licence plate.
This means that if the car is ever found, they will have the right to keep it and everything it comes with, including the plates.
In most circumstances, where the car has maintained the number plate it originally came with, this wouldn’t be a problem as you’re unlikely to have an attachment towards a random plate.
But if you have a personalised registration, it’s a different story all together.
For example, let’s say that your car (along with your personalised number plate) is stolen and after a couple of months you make a claim on your insurance.
You receive a pay-out from your broker but a few months later your car is recovered.
You may try and get your number plate back but your insurer will now technically own it.
There’s a possibility they’ll agree to sell it back to you but they have no obligation to, which is exactly why you need to make sure you already have that agreement in place beforehand.
Is my insurance cheaper if I have a personalised registration plate?
It seems logical that a personalised number plate would be more desirable to a thief because of how expensive private licence plates are but a plate that’s easily identifiable is easier to track.
So your car is probably less likely to be stolen but if it is, it’s also more likely to be recovered.
But that doesn’t mean it will escape the attention of thieves and vandals, with 20,000 plates stolen in 2016 alone, according to the RAC.
Are personalised licence plates more likely to get stolen?
There are no statistics to suggest that personalised licence plates are stolen more often than standard registrations however things get more complicated if your personalised plates are stolen and your car – and plate – is not recovered.
What happens to my private registration if my vehicle is stolen and never recovered?
It’s important to notify the police as soon as you realise your vehicle has been stolen, in order to give them the best shot at finding it.
If they unfortunately fail to do so, you can still get your personalised registration number back – just so long as you’ve followed the proper procedure.
As long as the stolen vehicle was up to date with its tax and MOT at the time of the theft -and the theft was reported to the police – you can apply to the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to have the registration transferred to another vehicle.
But you’ll have to wait until the theft has been on DVLA records for at least twelve months (and not more than three years) before you can do so.
And remember that if you don’t have that letter of no interest, your insurer can apply to transfer the plate to a new vehicle instead of yours.
What happens to my private registration plate if my stolen vehicle is recovered?
If you never made a claim on your insurance, the car and registration plate will still be yours to do with as you wish.
And if you did make a claim on your insurance, as long as you’ve obtained a letter of no interest from your insurer, you should be able to transfer your private reg to a new vehicle.
Either way, you’ll have to race against the clock because if the vehicle is sold on or scrapped, the number plate will be lost with it.
What to do if your standard licence plate is stolen
If your licence plate is stolen off your car, treat it the same way you would any other crime and report it to the police.
It’s not normally necessary to let your insurer know, unless you’re planning on making a claim for the replacement cost of the plates, but it’s best to check with your own broker just in case.
Once the crime has been reported, you’ll be able to get replacement plates made.
Does my registration plate affect my insurance?
Most of us don’t own a personalised number plate, so what impact does a standard licence plate have on our insurance?
Thieves can tell from the licence number how old a car is, so if your car is new and therefore more desirable then it could be more appealing to thieves.
In truth, your number plate has little impact on the cost of your insurance; there are much bigger factors at play including the value of your car and your address.
As is always the case with insuring your vehicle, if you’re unsure what’s included or covered by your policy, you should always check with your insurer directly.