You walk out to your car in the morning to discover that your license plates have been stolen right off of your vehicle.
Or worse, you find out the hard way by being pulled over by the cops that your car is lacking one or both of its legal plates.
First step – don’t panic.
Unfortunately, license plate theft is on the uptick. So you’re not alone in this.
Keep reading to see the steps for changing a license plate.
Step 1: Alert the Proper Authorities
You need to find out what your state requires from you in order to keep driving your car. You also need to report your plates as stolen so that if they are used in connection with illegal activities, the authorities know it’s not related to you.
Contact the office in charge of vehicle licensing, usually part of the DMV, to see what your state’s specific steps are.
Step 2: Prove Ownership and Address
Some states will allow you to verify your address over the phone, but almost all states require you to prove ownership in person.
This means you get to take a trip to the DMV office!
Bring proof of identity (typically a driver’s license), a way to verify your address (a utility bill will work in most states), and proof of vehicle ownership (car registration, title, or bill of sale are good bets).
Step 3: Fill Out Forms and Pay Fees
The DMV will provide you with the right forms to order new plates. Fill them out and submit them before you leave the office.
There is a fee for processing your request and getting new plates.
When you fill out your forms, you have the option to order personalized or custom plates. You can do this through the state or by purchasing private plates. Find out the value of your personalized plates and choose the ones that work best for you.
Step 4: Get Your New Plates
If you have ordered standard plates, you can usually take them with you before you leave the DMV.
If you ordered custom plates or purchased private plates, you’ll have to wait for them to be shipped to you. If you can’t put plates on your car immediately and need to drive your car before the new plates will arrive in the mail, see if the DMV can issue you temporary tags to get you through.
4 Easy Steps for Changing a License Plate
With these 4 easy steps for changing a license plate in your back pocket, you can painlessly navigate the process to replace your stolen plates and get your life back on track.
Looking for more advice? Check out our blog for other car facts, articles and news.