There are various places to buy personalised number plates. You can purchase them online from the DVLA or a dealer that specialises in car number plates. Personalised number plates are also sold at auctions. Some people sell number plates on eBay or other sites where they can place ads.
Remember, when you purchase a personalised number plate you are not just buying a physical number. Instead, you are buying the rights to assign that number plate to a car if you wish.
Personalised number plate dealers and the DVLA have an online search form where you enter a keyword and the system tries to match that keyword with available car registrations that contain the keyword. You will have more success in finding a suitable number if the keyword is short – ideally three or four letters long. You can search for letter and digit combinations such as MAG1C.
You may need to search on several dealers’ sites to find the number plate you want. New registration numbers are regularly added to dealers’ websites and the DVLA site, so if you can’t find the number now, don’t fret as it may be available in the future
How much do personalised number plates cost?
Personalised number plates cost from a few hundred to many thousands of pounds. Plates that contain first names like ‘SUE’ or ‘SAM’ are always likely to be in high demand and fetch higher prices, while short numbers like 5E can even run into six-figure sums.
The cost of personalised number plates is based on supply and demand. If there is a high demand from keywords, and few plates available, prices will be high. A number plate with your initials may not be in high demand though, so expect to pay lower prices.
On top of the cost of buying the personalised number plate, there is also a DVLA fee of £80, which transfers the plates into your name.
What happens when you buy a personalised number plate?
First of all, you need to ensure that the person or company you are buying the number plate from has the right to sell it to you.
You can assign it to your car via the DVLA, or you can retain ownership and assign it to a car at a later date. If you do not assign the number to a car, you retain ownership rights for up to 10 years, though you can renew ownership after this period.
It may take a few weeks for ownership of the number to be transferred to you. You can’t put a number plate on your car with the new number until you are the legal owner of it and have assigned it to the car. When you assign the number to your vehicle, you need to tell your insurance company about the change.
Giving a personalised number plate as a gift
Motoring enthusiasts often like to buy a personalised number as a gift. After you have paid for the registration and told the recipient about the present, they need to apply to the DVLA to transfer the plate so that they own it.