What to Do When You Lose Your License Plate?


A license plate is difficult to lose, since it should be secured to the back of your vehicle with screws. However, in the event you do lose your license plate or it gets stolen, you need to replace or try to recover it as soon as possible, because your vehicle cannot be legally driven without a valid license plate.

Lost License Plate

  • If you lose your license plate the you will need to purchase a replacement plate. The fee for a replacement will vary depending on your state of residence. Therefore, you will need to contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles, which can provide you with the necessary information on the specific fees associated with a replacement plate, its hours of operation and location so you can make arrangements to purchase and pick up a new license plate.

    If you do not own a second vehicle, arrange for a family member or friend to take you to your local DMV, because you should not drive your vehicle without a license plate. It is illegal, and if you get stopped by a police officer, you will get a ticket that will cost you more than your replacement license plate. Make sure that your replacement plate is secured tightly with screws to the back of your vehicle to prevent it from coming off while you are driving.

Stolen License Plate

  • If your license plate is stolen, first contact the police and file a police report. If the police locate the stolen license plate it can be returned to you. There is a good chance that you will not get your license plate back, so you will still need to contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles to see about getting a replacement license plate. This should be done immediately if you do not have a second vehicle that you can use in the meantime. If you have had problems more than once with your license plate being stolen, you should consider purchasing an alarm for your vehicle. An alarm alerts you to someone touching your car and helps deter criminals.

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