A vanity plate or customized license plate is a special type of vehicle registration plate on an automobile. The owner of such a vehicle pays some extra money to enjoy the desired personalized privileges.
A customized license plate is perceived by many as a statement of individuality, status symbol, the mark of distinction, or simply personal branding. Sadly, however, not many can actually afford this prestigious affair as it mostly applies to luxury cars except perhaps for persons living with disabilities.
Many jurisdictions in the world have adopted the custom of vanity Plate Sales in auctions and you would be surprised at just how much some individuals and corporations are willing to part with to enjoy this rare privilege. This has seen these very jurisdictions reap big in terms of supplementary revenue.
The type of plate inscription may vary extensively based on the individual’s personal preferences or in the case of a corporate entity, the theme branding. While some folks may opt for the usual inscription of names or initials, others go to even greater lengths such as opting for picture inscriptions or even personalized messages.
Depending on the state, you may be allowed the use initials (name or number), nicknames, pictures, or personalized messages. All these come at extra cost, over and above the initial vehicle costs.
The type of vehicle to use such plates on also varies from jurisdiction to jurisdiction. While in some countries it is appropriate to fix vanity plates on commercial vehicles, other countries strictly prohibit it.
Must have Requirements to Apply for a Customized License Plate
First, let’s begin by mentioning the key documents you may need to put by your side before embarking on this crucial exercise. Before kick-starting the application process, you are advised to check availability online for the selected plate configuration you desire for your car. Once ascertained, proceed to download the application form or have it mailed directly to your address depending on your state.
Once you fill the application form, the Department of Motor Vehicles may require you to produce a few more documents of proof such as:
- Certificate of title proving vehicle ownership.
- Current license plate number.
- Valid vehicle registration record that matches applicant’s name/birth certificate.
- Proof of vehicle insurance or financial responsibility.
- Valid driver’s license.
- Vehicle identification number.
- Copy of identification document or any authorized proof of identity.
- Physician’s statement for disabled license plates or placards.
- Proof of current address.
- Vehicle inspection certificate.
- Confirmation of whether the plate text applied has been taken.
- 3-letter registration class code.
- Windshield registration sticker and receipt.
Again, the fees levied for this expensive exercise may vary greatly according to jurisdiction. In most states, a personalized license plate will cost you an initial fee of between $18.75 and $60 plus fixed annual fees depending on the class of automobile in question.
In order to be considered for a vanity plate issuance, the text or numerals submitted for the plate must have a strict minimum of three characters and a maximum of eight characters. However, this may also vary according to individual state regulations.
The letters must always be in capital and the use of the letters ‘I’ and ‘O’ is highly restricted. Should the plate information or inscription be deemed abusive or offensive by any standards, it shall be denied.
Disposal of old plates:
It is always wise to render your old plates unusable by either bending them or simply marking them with an indelible ink marker. You can also turn them over to your local motor vehicle agency. This will help greatly in dispelling any sinister motives one might have out there.
Advantages of vanity plates
- They offer lasting identity pride by reflecting your personality to the world.
- Custom plates add a person to your vehicle’s outlook.
- They serve as mobile advertisements for corporations.
Disadvantages of vanity plates
- They may cause unnecessary exposure and publicity sometimes, even attracting traffic police.
- Custom plates may pose certain security concerns to the owners.
- They are relatively expensive to acquire.
- Lengthy vehicle transfer or disposal process.