You’ve just woken up, ate your breakfast, got ready for work, and as you’re leaving the apartment you notice something suspicious about your car. You take a closer look and realize it’s missing one of the registration plates. It’s one of those moments you realize you have no idea what to do now.
There could be many reasons why this happened, but you would find it most useful if you could remember was it something that you’ve done. It could have been stolen by someone, though it could also fall off somewhere while you were driving last night. Maybe it was the bad frame that couldn’t keep it safe?
Sometimes it happens that during heavy rainfall, deep puddles form on the road, and drivers dive straight into them, not able to assess how deep they are. Such a fast dive literally breaks the frame and washes plates away, and results in plenty of paperwork and frequent visits to the authorized institutions.
Maybe you’re one of those lucky ones who never had to experience this, but if you’re a driver, then you also can end up in a situation like this. Then what? Keep reading to find out, because this article gives you useful tips for replacing or changing your car number plates in case of need or emergency.
1. Try to find the plates
Before you start panicking, make sure your plates haven’t simply fallen off somewhere in the neighborhood. Take a walk around and see if you can see them, if not ask around, maybe someone has found them for you. The best-case scenario is that someone has found and returned to you, or that they’ve fallen off near your usual parking and they’re still there. In that case, see if they have any damages or if there are damages on the plastic frame that usually holds them. If the plastic is damaged and can’t hold the plate, ask for professional help. If not, place them again.
2. Report what happened
If you haven’t managed to find the plates, it is possible that you have been the victim of number plates theft, therefore call the authorities in charge of this issue and report at once (these are usually the police and DVLA).
It is only logical to expect help from authorities once you’ve reported what happened. If there’s a possibility, they’ll do everything in their power to return the plates to you, because someone might have found them. If not, reporting was the smart thing to do to avoid police stopping you and punishing you for missing the plates.
3. Apply for keeping the plate number
A special procedure is required if your car has had personalized number plates. The procedure of applying to get a personal number is also different compared to the normal ones. What the government has left as an option for stolen personalized plates is that you can fill out a form to keep the stolen numbers. This way you can claim the number as yours, regardless of having the plates physically or not. If you have followed the last point, you did good, because for applying you will need to prove that they have been stolen or lost, also that the car was registered and legal.
It can also happen that you’re a victim of cloning plates. Most people have no idea they’ve been exposed to this until they start receiving fines for violations, they had nothing to do with. The only thing you can do in this case is not to open the fines but return them, along with the explanation that your plates have been cloned.
What is important to mention is that the plates don’t need to be stolen or cloned if you want to claim the right to the number they carry. In cases, you want to sell a car, and keep the numbers to transfer them to the new one. The procedure of applying to the same government office is still the way to do it.
4. Buy new ones from authorized suppliers
There are times when the police and other authorities in charge of the plates simply fail to help you. This doesn’t leave you options, no worries. Not all people have personalized plate numbers, the majority use the regular ones. When they are stolen, you have to buy new ones. The office in charge of selling and issuing replacement plates and new numbers is a typical department to turn to, however, there are other options that might offer you a cheaper solution.
These sellers should have a license for this job, therefore in order to avoid being a victim of another scam, before you buy, check if the seller is registered and licensed. They also offer a special kind of print of the plates. You can choose to have your plates printed in 4D. Visit this website to learn how. Many will have second thoughts about them because first of all, they’re not typical, second of all, many think they are illegal. It’s not true, they are completely legal, plus, they look very cool and stylish.
New plates are also required if the old ones have been damaged in an accident. According to the regulations, the plates should be readable at all times, and must not contain damages.
5. Make sure you have all the necessary documents
None of the above would be possible without proper documentation, of course. Replacing or changing car number plates is nothing like entering a printing shop and ordering what you need. We’ve mentioned only authorized sellers can create new plates and sell numbers, which is why they need proof of identity before they sell anything. So, you should prepare your ID or passport (to confirm personal data), a driving license, proof that you’ve been paying taxes, and a bank statement for the last six months.
Whatever was the cause for changing the number on the plates, unless it is a regularity, make sure you do all you can to prevent plates from being stolen or cloned.