As the offering of 2022 number plates become available including new options for personalised number plates, GoCompare car insurance is urging drivers to check their insurance before making a personalised plate purchase.
The cost of a personalised registration plate from the DVLA starts at £250, but this figure can significantly rise depending on the perceived value of the plate.
Currently, the highest price paid for a number plate sits at £518,480 (including auction fees and VAT), for the sought-after ‘25 0’ plate in February 2018.
However, GoCompare car insurance is warning drivers that their valuable personalised plates may be at risk if the proper insurance isn’t in place, or if they don’t act quickly enough in the event their car is written off and/or scrapped. The policy rarely covers the replacement cost of a registration mark.
GoCompare car insurance analysed 333 comprehensive car insurance policies which revealed only 19 specifically cover the loss of a personalised plate, in the event the car is written off. Of those providing cover, the sum insured varies, with one insurer providing cover for less than £1,500, and 17 insurers covering for £5,000 or more for the cost of the loss of the plate.
GoCompare car insurance expert, Ryan Fulthorpe, said, “Personalised number plates are popular for a number of reasons, but drivers need to consider how to protect them – particularly if they have paid a lot of money for the number plate in the first place.
“Registration numbers move with the vehicle they are assigned to, not the person who bought it. So, if your vehicle is written off and the car scrapped, the number plate can disappear with it. If your car is written off, you have to arrange for the number to be transferred to another vehicle or retained on a certificate in sufficient time before your claim is settled.
“In the event your car and personalised plate are stolen (and not recovered), you will have to wait six months to get the number plate back and you have to report it stolen to the DVLA. You then have two years and six months to claim it. To reclaim the personalised plate, you’ll also have to prove that the car had a valid MOT and tax at the time of the theft.”
Ryan explained, “When you make an insurance claim for the cost of your car following a total loss or write-off, the insurer owns both the vehicle and its registration number – and this also applies to personalised plates. As the claimant you can repurchase your registration number from the insurer, if they still own it, for no more than the settlement price. However, if your insurer has already disposed of your vehicle, then all rights to the registration plate go with the vehicle.
“In this case, you will need to contact the DVLA and your insurer to let them know you want to keep the plate. The insurer will then write a letter of non-interest and send it to the DVLA. As the registered keeper, you will have to pay a retention fee to keep the plate if you don’t have another vehicle to transfer it to.”
Ryan added, “When you register a personalised plate to a vehicle, remember to tell your insurer immediately, otherwise your policy could be invalidated. As so many insurance policies do not cover the loss of personalised number plates, it’s also extra important to check the fine print and make sure you have the cover you need before splashing out on a personalised plate.”