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What happens to my private number plate if my car is stolen?

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Car stolen? Act quickly to save your private number plate

Contrary to popular belief, you can get your private number plate back if your car has been stolen. But you need to act quickly, and make sure you do everything correctly. And straightaway.

You will need to notify the police, your insurance company, and the DVLA.


Here's our step-by-step guide to what to you need to do:

  1. Inform the police your car has been stolen.
    Get a crime reference number.
  2. Tell your insurance company about the theft.
    And tell them you have a private number plate on the car. It may not be obvious to them, or they may not notice.
  3. Tell the DVLA
    You should include the crime reference number and a letter from your insurance company when you write to the DVLA.


To qualify to keep your private number plate, the car should have a valid MoT and a current tax disc at the time of the theft.

The details of the stolen car and private number plate will be held on the DVLA's records. And only after 12 months will the registration number be restored back to you.

What if the car is found? Can I get my private number plate back?

If the vehicle is recovered in the meantime, you'll need to apply to transfer the private number plate or retain it straightaway.

You should contact your local DVLA office for more help, or the main head office at Swansea.