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How to Buy a Personalised Number Plate

Buying a personalised number plate is more popular than ever and, since the DVLA began auctioning private plates, more than 1.2 billion have been sold. The process of purchasing your personalised plate is simple but there are a number of factors that you may wish to take into account.

Is a personalised number plate a good way to spend money?

Most people who buy a personalised number plate see it as a fun way to add a unique and personal look to their car. Some also look neater than the conventional 7 character registrations issued as standard. However, others purchase a number in the hope that it will increase in value over time. If that’s you, check all the facts before you take the plunge.

You will need to 'do your homework' and look at a number plate and its potential future value. Like anything in life, the value can sometimes go down as well as up. Even if it does go up, you are not likely to see its value rise quickly, so you need to be prepared to wait a number of years or possibly even for decades.

The type of numbers that tend to rise in value are short numbers like 25 O, RR 1, and S 1; specific names such as B1 LLY, JAM 33S or DAN 13L. These are also the registrations that will cost a lot of money to purchase in the first instance which is why most people will buy for the love rather than to make money.

Personalised numbers are considered to be a luxury purchase and during an economic downturn (such as recession), their value could be affected. In addition, finding the right buyer who is prepared to pay the price you’re looking for can be a lengthy process.


Unlike other valuable items, you don’t have to lock your personalised number plate in a secure vault where it will never see the light of day. It doesn't need to be insured in case of loss or accidental damage and nor will a registration ever get old or look tired. Once you own the registration, it can be securely held on a DVLA Issued Document valid for 10 years and renewable if required when the validity of the document draws close to the expiry date or they can be registered easily to a vehicle and the owners can have the continuous use every day of their life. If you change your vehicle, you can easily transfer the number plate by paying £80 through DVLA (transfer it to a retention document) until you’re ready to sell it or use it again.

Tips for buying number plates as a long term purchase

Following these simple tips will help you decide on the right registration for you.

  • Know your budget and stick to it. Don’t be tempted to buy a plate you can’t really afford. (Although Finance is available to help spread the cost!)
  • Remember that the more rare a personalised number plate combination is, the more expensive it will be. Likewise very popular/common initials command higher values due to the higher demand.
  • Don’t confine your search to just one website. Check out where you can learn about the different types of personalised number plates they offer.
  • Only deal with companies that are fully accredited with all the relevant organisations. CarReg have over 30 years of experience.

With this information, you can buy your personalised number plates with confidence, and enjoy displaying them on vehicles throughout your life. Even if your registration doesn’t show a vast increase in value, you are very likely to get back at least what you paid for it if not more. If you make a little profit if you ever decide to sell, then surely that's a bonus!