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How much could you pay for a private number plate?

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September 13, 2023
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No matter where you stand on private number plates, one thing’s for sure, a small minority of motorists are shelling out an absolute fortune to get their hands on them.

The DVLA has been selling cherished number plates since 1989  and in that time they have knocked out more than six million and raised in excess of £2 billion for the Treasury.

Here the team at Adrian Flux provide the answers to some of the questions you have been asking about private registration plates.

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How much will a private registration plate cost?

Every year the sale of DVLA registration plates brings in more than £100 million, most of which comes from the thousands of more affordable registrations which cost from as little as £250.

However, some people are prepared to spend much, much more. The 10 most expensive personalised registration plates sold on the DVLA site are:

  • 25 0 – £400,000 in November 2014
  • 1 D – £285,000 in March 2009
  • DEV 1L – £240,000 in December 2021
  • 1G1 – £222,000 in July 2019
  • 51 NGH – £201,000 in April 2006
  • 1 RH – £196,000 in November 2008
  • K1 NGS – £185,000 in December 1993
  • KR15 HNA – £180,000 in May 2015
  • 1 O – £170,000 in January 2009
  • 1 A – £160,000 in December 1989
  • LSK 1 – £160,000 in October 2021

Other number plates will have changed hands in private sales, possibly for more money, but these transactions are difficult to track. The ‘F1’ number plate was reportedly bought for £375,000 in 2008 by the owner of Kahn Designs car customisation firm. It was then, allegedly, put up for sale in 2018 for a staggering £14million but it is not known if there were any takers.

Where can I find personal number plates for sale?

Most private car registration plates for sale are advertised on DVLA auctions – the first was in 1989 and the very first plate to go under the hammer was 99 MG, selling for £8,000. The most paid that day was £160,000 for 1 A.

You can also find personalised car registration plates for sale at motor and memorabilia auctions. They are also sold by private dealers and by members of the public. 

Do personalised number plates affect insurance costs?

While your personalised registration can help your car stand out from the crowd, it will not suddenly morph into a greater insurance risk.

Insurance weighting is worked out using statistical analysis and there are no stats that suggest you will become a worse driver, or have more accidents, or that your car will be a target for vandalism, simply because you have fitted a personal number plate.

Brokers are emphatic, it won’t cost you more to insure a car fitted with a personal plate. 

How can I protect my new plate from theft?

Number plates can be fitted to your car, motorcycle, trailer or caravan using tamper proof screws which are readily available from most DIY stores and garage workshops. They are not guaranteed to prevent the theft of the plate but they will certainly complicate and delay their removal if someone is determined to steal it.

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How do I transfer a private plate to my car or from one car to another?

If you’ve already bought your cherished number plate and want to keep it when you sell your car, you can do this through the DVLA website for £80. 

If you have the plate but no car to put it on, don’t worry. The DVLA will let you keep the plate until you’re ready to register it. When you do so you will need the new car’s registration document (the logbook or V5C) and the transfer can be done online between 8am and 6pm, Monday to Saturday.

Transferring registration plates from car to car online is a very quick and simple process. 

What are the laws concerning private registration plates?

While it’s fairly simple to buy a personalised number plate if it is available for sale, there are a whole host of complicated guidelines and rules about how the plate can be displayed on your vehicle. And there are different rules for plates on motorbikes rather than cars.

The plate must be made of reflective material, front plates must have black text on white and rear plates must have black text on yellow. The font is standard as is the size and there can be no italics or strategically located fixing screws to disguise the registration number.

The police can issue a fixed penalty notice up to £1,000 for incorrectly displayed number plates and an incorrect plate could lead to an MOT fail. 

Exact dimensions of plates and lettering can be found on the Government website

Are Brits unique in our love for private number plates?

The love of exclusive private number plates seems to be a worldwide phenomenon. Back in 2016, a ‘7’ number plate sold for £2.96m in the United Arab Emirates having previously been sold for £3m in 2010. The top nine most expensive plates in the world were all sold in the UAE. 

Where can I get a plate that’s truly out of the ordinary?

Some people, such as motorcycle enthusiast Paul Stewart from Hemel Hempstead in Hertfordshire, are quite fanatical about their personalised number plates. 

To celebrate the making of the 25th James Bond film, No Time to Die, in 2021, he bought a very special 007-themed registration number. 

It is AO07 HMS, which as far as he is concerned, stands for Agent 007 Her Majesty’s Service. The small print beneath the registration reads Q Division (MI6) – 85 Albert Embankment, London, which is the postal address of MI6 (now we’ve told you that we’ll probably have to kill you).

He did a registration plate check with the DVLA which confirmed A007 HMS is completely street legal and could be registered for any car or motorcycle, though Paul reckons it would go a treat on a James Bond Aston Martin stuffed to the gunnels with gadgets. 

Personalised number plates

More bespoke motor insurance policies than James Bond has gadgets

While it won’t increase your premium, you will need to tell Adrian Flux if you do plan to change your number plate. They can amend your policy documents with one quick phone call. As an existing customer, the best number to dial is 0344 381 6502.

If you are looking for new motor insurance you will be pleased to know that Adrian Flux has almost as many bespoke insurance policies as Bond has gadgets. Call 0800 369 8590 for a quote or book a callback at a time that suits you. 

Do insurance companies regard private plates as a modification on a car?

Transferring a new private plate to your car is not regarded as a modification by insurance companies and your premium should not be affected. Your insurer may charge you an admin fee for reporting a change in registration on the vehicle because they have to update their records.

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