The Do’s and Don’ts of Purchasing Personalised Registration Plates

Car owners who want to make their cars stand out in the crowd usually opt for personalised registration plates. Creating something personalised involves time, thought and effort. You may think that finding custom registration plates would be an easy task, however it takes time, and dedication. Moreover, having some insights on the do’s and don’ts of purchasing personalised plates is important before committing to buying one. Having knowledge of personalised plate designs and their formats helps you to finalise a design and choose one that suits your car.

Here are some of the most important do’s and don’ts of number plate personalisation that you need to be aware of.

· Gain Knowledge of the Different Styles Available

Whilst many people have the perception that all custom registration plates have the same style, there is actually a wide range of number plate styles. In the UK, custom number plates have four different styles, namely; dateless, suffix, prefix, and current styles. The current style is the style currently issued to new cars at first registration. The format comprises seven characters, including two letters representing the region where the vehicle was first registered, two numbers indicating the age of the vehicle, and the last three letters which are chosen randomly. The dateless style was first used for cars that are now classified as classic or antique vehicles and was a format with a maximum of six characters. Suffix styles followed the dateless formats and they have a letter at the end of the combination of letters and numbers to indicate the year in which the vehicle was first registered. Suffix style registrations have a maximum of seven characters. Prefix style registration formats followed the Suffix style registration formats and the very first letter in the combination of letters and numbers identifies the year of first registration for the vehicle. The current style registrations were first issued to vehicles in September 2001 and these were the first formats to use numbers rather than letters as the means of identifying the year in which the vehicle was first registered.

Fix a Budget

When purchasing a personalised registration plate, staying within your budget and what you can afford is extremely important. Due to the vast range of number plates available there is a risk of spending more than your budget. You can be attracted to the more expensive plates quite easily. You need to think about every number plate as an investment so that you don’t regret spending your money at a later date. In order to avoid such a situation, it is important to fix a rigid budget and research the personalised registration plates that fit within that budget. This will ensure that you get what you want in terms of uniqueness and individuality at a price you can afford.

  • Maintain a Flexible Approach

When it comes to custom registration plates, people tend to have a specific design or format in mind. However, it may not always be possible to get your ideal combination and in which case you need to be flexible in your approach. Before trying to purchase a number plate, make sure to keep this approach in mind. It will help you to avoid disappointment when you don’t find the exact combination whilst it will enable you to explore all of the options available. Make sure to be flexible and look for options that are similar to those you have in mind.

  • Don’t Overlook Additional Fees.

When you are purchasing a new custom registration plate, make sure to remember that the price you see is not likely to always be the only cost you will bear. In addition to the base price of the number plate, you may have to pay VAT to the seller. Further to this, you may also have to pay fees to the DVLA in order to assign the number plate to your vehicle. You will have to pay the DVLA a fee for enabling the assignment of a new registration to your vehicle and this is termed the ‘assignment fee’. Reputable brokers, will provide you with information prior to purchase, about additional costs that you will have to bear. However, if not informed by the dealer, make sure you contact them to find out if additional costs are applicable in order to avoid last-minute surprises.

  • Only Display the Number Plates After it has been Assigned.

One of the most common mistakes that people make due to their excitement is to display the personalised registration plates on their vehicle before it has been assigned to the vehicle. This can have legal consequences and place you in a serious situation. Whilst it may be tempting to change your old number plates and put on the new plates, you need to make sure the registration has been fully assigned first. For this, you will have to follow a number of legal steps. It can be time consuming but it will ensure you keep away from trouble. Make sure that you pay the DVLA fee, complete the important paperwork correctly, and get the assignment confirmation from the respective officials. Once the procedure is done by the officials, you can use the number plate on your vehicle without any fear.


Now that you are armed with these essential dos and don’ts, finding an ideal custom registration plate will be easy. With this information, you can avoid potential problems and get the best number plate for your car and for the money you have available.