fbpx Are Personalised Number Plates Worth It? The Pros and Cons

Are Personalised Number Plates Worth the Spend?

Posted on 20th November 2023
Are Personalised Number Plates Worth the Spend?

It’s often been said that a personalised number plate is a waste of money and is the kind of car accessory that is purchased to try and make a statement about wealth, character, or success. For some, they are just seen as tacky, wasteful, and pointless. For others they might be relevant to a particular life moment, something they are proud of, and much like a tattoo, want to be shown off to celebrate something poignant.

In this blog, we look at the pros and cons of personalised number plates so you can decide for yourself if they really are worth it!

How much is a personalised number plate?

Personalised number plates can vary dramatically in cost. Much depends on what you want the plate to show. Something that resembles a more typical regular number plate will cost much less than something created to spell out a name or specific pattern of numbers.

It will also depend on whether you purchase the number plate from the DVLA or a private dealer. When purchasing from the DVLA you have two options. To either buy a new personalised number plate or bid for one at an auction. Prices can vary dramatically between the two, but you could go from paying a few hundred pounds to several thousand quite easily. The DVLA auctions run approximately five times a year and have been known to see huge sums paid for a number plate. Reserve prices at auction start from £130 and prices for plates purchased directly from the DVLA can be found for around £250 upwards.

You can also purchase from private dealers and the costs here can vary greatly as they can charge fees for transferring the number to your vehicle plus additional administrative fees. Plates purchased this way must already be in the DVLA database to ensure it is not owned elsewhere and present you with tricky legal issues later on!

Our blog that focuses on what happens after you’ve purchased a personalised number plate explains the next steps to ensure your vehicle is fully compliant with DVLA rules.

Investing in number plates

Some people buy number plates seeing them as an investment. In fact, private plate investing is more common than you may think.  Some plates become more sought after than others, and as a result, see their value increase. Others though, especially if they were purchased to try to fit in with a specific trend, are more likely to depreciate, especially when that trend is no longer relevant.

Number plates can change in value much like stocks and shares. One day it could be worth more than you paid for it, another day it could be worth significantly less. You can monitor the value on specific websites that show you what your plate could currently fetch and that could be an indicator of when to sell or when to buy.

The most expensive number plate in the world sold for £7.5million when billionaire businessman Saeed Abdul Ghafour Khouri purchased a unique number plate simply with “1” as its registration. Closer to home, the most invested in a number plate was the £518,480 spent on “25 O” by British millionaire John Collins, who opted for this private plate to adorn his Ferrari 250 GTO. The current asking price for this plate is £750,000, showing that this investment could bring a strong return. Other plates have seen a higher return on investment, with some that cost £500,000 now being valued at £1 million. That’s a 100% increase on number plate investment!


Advantages of having a personalised number plate

Of course, the personalised number plate does hold some advantages other than the financial ones that a number plate investment could bring.

A fresh look for your car

If you have spent time and money improving the look and performance of your car, a personalised number plate could be the finishing touch.

If you are a business owner, a little bit of brand promotion through a personalised number plate could be a handy way to advertise. If you are simply a car enthusiast who has a love for all things on four wheels, a personalised number plate could help enhance that passion, and give your car a distinctive look. Think about the plate for the Ferrari 250 we referenced earlier!

You could end up making your car look newer too! Just be aware that making a car look younger than it is, is actually illegal, but using dateless plates that hide the age of it is perfectly fine.

Your car becomes unique

Many number plates look the same. There are, after all, only so many combinations of the same numbers and letters possible. With a personalised number plate, you will be the only vehicle bearing that plate, or one similar to it. You’ll never lose your car in the car park and might even make other road users laugh with the clever number and letter combinations you have created!

Easy to remember and portable

Your personalised plate could be handy when it comes to paying your car park fees or filling out important documents. It’s always frustrating when the person in front of you forgets their reg plate, and it’s even more frustrating when you forget your own! With a personalised plate, that’s never going to be the case. You have chosen it so it’s already stored in your mind, and what’s more, you can transfer your number plate to the next car you own too. You’ll never need to remember a new plate number again!

Investment opportunity

We mentioned earlier how number plates can be a great investment. With the return on investment reaching astronomical levels on some plates, you could be sitting on a fantastic money maker. Pass it down generations and the value could continue to increase.

You can own multiple personalised number plates

There is no rule on how many you can own which could be great for vehicles you own or plan to purchase and great for investment opportunities. Buying one cheap now could see great returns in years to come. Just be aware that if any plates are not being used on a vehicle, they must be renewed every ten years. The V750 and V778 will confirm whether the timescale is any shorter than this. If you don’t renew them, they become worthless as you’ll no longer be registered to use them.

Disadvantages of personalised number plates

Of course, with anything there can be disadvantages and with personalised number plates, there are a few.

Opportunities for car theft

Your unique number plate may draw some unwanted attention. The cliché that private number plates are often only purchased by those with lots of spare cash may ring true in some cases and not others, but opportunistic thieves may see it as worth the gamble. Especially if the car is a particular model or edition.

Risky investment

If you planned to buy low to sell high, you could be waiting for some time. In fact, you could even see the value of your personalised number plate decrease, and you may never be able to recoup what you spent on it.

They can be expensive

Specific combinations of numbers and letters will cost more than others, and this can mean you end up settling on something that doesn’t quite match what you wanted.  The closer to a regular plate it resembles, the cheaper it may be, the more unique it is, the more you are likely to spend.

Offending other road users

Whilst the number plate is for you, there is every chance of some road users being offended by the choice of letters and numbers you have opted for. Especially if the plate draws some unwanted attention through a message it may relay.

Lots of rules to follow

There are specific rules regarding private plates. From the size and font used to the clarity of the numbers and letters. Ignoring these and opting for a bootleg plate or trying to get one that goes against the rules could prove costly and dangerous.

If a private plate is high on your agenda, you could find the perfect car for it by acquiring used car finance from Euphoria. As a direct lender, we make getting the car you want achievable, regardless of your status. Our approach to car finance for poor credit score means that no matter your credit history, you can feel safe in the knowledge your application will be carefully assessed.  Contact our team today and get your quick car finance quote.

Personalised number plate FAQs

How much is a personalised number plate?

Personalised plates can vary greatly in cost. You could pick one up for £250 but could easily spend thousands if you chose something very specific and unique.

How do I get a personalised number plate?

You can purchase a personalised number plate via the DVLA or a private seller. The DVLA runs frequent auctions where the more prestigious registrations go up for sale which can see prices rise quite fast. Private dealers are often a cheaper alternative, and some may even let you price match. Just be aware that plates purchased from a private seller must be already on the DVLA database.

How do you register a personalised number plate?

To register your personalised number plate to your vehicle, you must head to the DVLA website and assign the number to the vehicle. You will need the V750 for plates you have purchased or the V778 if you have taken the plate from another vehicle you own.

Do personalised plates expire?

If a personalised plate is not in use, it will expire after ten years unless you renew your right to own it. If the plate was purchased before 2015, you will be required to renew the plate more frequently.

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