It’s important to understand that, when you buy a personalised number plate, you are actually buying the rights to display that registration number on a vehicle. Whether you choose to put the number on a vehicle or keep it on a retention certificate, you retain the right to the registration for as long as you want, until you decide to sell or transfer it to someone else.
However, if your car is stolen or deemed by your insurance company to be a write off after an accident, your personalised number plates could be sold with your vehicle. That’s because, when your insurer settles your insurance claim, ownership of the car and the registration number is effectively transferred to them. You MUST act quickly to stop that from happening.
If Your Car is Written Off
If your car is damaged in a collision and your insurance company tells you that the vehicle is beyond economical repair (a write off), you need to contact them immediately to tell them that you want to keep your personalised number plates. Make sure you get confirmation of your request in writing. You also need to inform the DVLA as soon as possible.
Once your insurer has received your request, they must send a letter of non-interest to the DVLA so that you can retain ownership of the private registration number. It’s then your responsibility to pay the fee to the DVLA to keep the plate on a retention certificate if you don’t have another vehicle to transfer it to.
If Your Car is Stolen
Similarly, if your car is stolen, you must inform your insurer and the DVLA that you want to retain ownership of your personalised registration number. You’ll need to prove to the DVLA that you notified the police about the theft and that the car had a valid MOT certificate and current road tax when it was stolen.
If your stolen car is recovered and you’ve applied to the DVLA to keep your personalised number, you can apply to transfer it to another vehicle straight away. You must do that before your original car is sold or scrapped. If you don’t get your stolen car back, you have to wait 6 months to transfer the private registration number to another vehicle.
In addition, and if possible, immediately apply to retain the registration. This is fast and easy.
You could even obtain a written declaration from the insurance company that the personalised number plate should be removed in the event of an accident and the vehicle and the registration are separate.
Are My Personalised Number Plates Insured Against Loss?
In a GoCompare survey of 330 comprehensive insurance policies, only 19 covered the loss of a personalised number plate if the vehicle is a written off. But even those may not cover the full value of your plates and, if they do, you will still have lost the registration number that you cherished.
At CarReg, we can advise you about all aspects of buying and retaining personalised number plates. Call us between 9am and 5pm Monday to Saturday, or use our online contact form.