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How number could be up for your personalised plate

PUBLISHED: 07:43 19 February 2018 | UPDATED: 07:46 21 February 2018

The TAX 1 registration is being auctioned on Thursday � perhaps whoever bought CAB 131E will be interested. Picture: DVLA

The TAX 1 registration is being auctioned on Thursday � perhaps whoever bought CAB 131E will be interested. Picture: DVLA

DVLA

Think you will always ‘own’ your personalised registration plate? It may not be the case so be warned, says motoring editor Andy Russell.

A personalised registration plate is, by its very nature, very important to the owner and of special, sentimental value.

My wife and I bought one 10 years ago with a new car. When the dealer showed us the numbers it had available, we jokingly asked if we could get a plate that incorporated both our initials. A quick check with DVLA and, £399 later, we have that plate which is now on its third car.

My younger son has one too, bought for his 21st birthday by grandad as something he would keep the rest of his life.

You assume you will always have the plate, swapping it from vehicle to vehicle, but that may not be the case because it is assigned to a vehicle not the person who bought it.

Rare DVLA number plate TAX 1 – which may appeal to tax experts or taxi firms – is expected to fetch up to £100,000 at auction on Thursday which has prompted GoCompare to warn drivers with personalised plates about the insurance implications.

Personal registration numbers are increasingly popular, starting at £250 from the DVLA which sold 374,968 of them in 2016-17.

But GoCompare car insurance says drivers with a personalised plate risk losing it if the vehicle is stolen or written off.

It analysed 302 comprehensive car insurance policies which revealed only 19 specifically cover the loss of a personalised plate if the car was lost or stolen. The sum insured varied from £200 to unlimited.

When an insurance claim is made for the cost of a car, the insurer owns both the vehicle and the registration number assigned to it, even if it’s a personalised plate. The claimant can buy the registration number from the insurer, if it still owns it, for no more than the settlement price. But, if the vehicle has already been disposed of by the insurer, all rights to the registration plate go with the vehicle.

If a car with a personalised plate is stolen and not recovered, its owner will have to wait 12 months to get the plate back. To reclaim the plate, they will have to prove the car had a valid MOT and tax at the time of theft.

Similarly, motorists who have had a car with a personalised plate written off have to arrange for the number to be transferred to another vehicle or retained on a certificate in sufficient time before the claim is settled. Registration numbers move with the vehicle they are assigned to, not the person who bought it. So, if the vehicle is written off and the car scrapped, the number plate can disappear with it.

The policyholder will need to contact the DVLA and their insurer to let them know that they want to keep the plate. The insurer will then write a letter of non-interest and send it to the DVLA.

Matt Oliver, of GoCompare Car Insurance, said: “When you register a personalised plate to a vehicle you need to tell your insurer immediately, otherwise your policy could be invalidated and, particularly if you’ve paid a lot for a registration number, you should consider whether it’s properly insured.”

Have you had a problem keeping a personalised number plate after a vehicle was written off or stolen? Email motoring@archant.co.uk

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