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CostHelper > Cars  > Vanity License Plate

Vanity License Plate Cost


How Much Does a Vanity License Plate Cost?

 
low costRenewal Costs: $0-$80average costTypical Initial Fees: $5-$100
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Every vehicle on public roads must be registered in its owner's state of residence and have a metal or plastic plate attached with an officially-issued identification code, typically a combination of six to eight letters and numbers. The state creates standardized license plates that are then randomly assigned to newly registered vehicles. However, states get additional revenue by charging fees to let vehicle owners choose their own phrase, word or combination of letters and numbers; these customized messages can be put on a specially designed plate that shows support for a particular college or university, military personnel, charitable group or other organization.

Typical costs:

  • Each state regulates the designs of its specialty plates and the customized messages allowed. Fees and requirements vary, but typically there is an initial fee of $5-$100 or more for a personalized or specialty plate, plus an annual renewal charge of $0-$80 or more.
  • For example, California has an initial fee of $20-$50 and a $15-$40 renewal fee for a specialty plate image with a standard plate number[1] or a $49-$98 initial cost and a $38-$78 renewal fee for a specialty plate image and customized license plate number[2] .
  • New Hampshire[3] charges $40 a year for a customized license plate number; $38 initially and $30 a year for a special image with a Moose logo; $85 initially and $30 a year for special plate image for park conservation with a maximum of four characters.
  • Some states charge more or auction off highly desirable personalized plates. Texas[4] estimates its specialty plates can cost $30-$795, depending on the plate design and how long it is valid (up to 10 years).
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What should be included:
  • Each state dictates the letters, numbers, spaces and special characters allowed for customized license plates, and prohibit potentially obscene or offensive messages. For example, Iowa[5] allows up to seven characters and numbers, with no punctuation marks, no combinations that indicate a government agency (such as DOT), and no characters that are sexual in connotation or suggest profane, obscene or inflammatory words or phrases, in any language. Ohio[6] requires no less than four and no more than seven letters or combination of four letters and numbers, with no spaces allowed on motorcycle plates.
  • Vanity plates are a special order, and delivery is typically eight to 12 weeks or more after they are ordered. For example, Alaska[7] delivers personalized license plates within 12 weeks.
Additional costs:
  • Vanity plate fees are typically charged in addition to normal state vehicle registration and license plate fees, which vary by state and by the year, make and model of vehicle.
Shopping for a vanity license plate:
  • DMV.org (a privately owned website not associated with any state government) provides license plate options by state[8] , including links to each state's department of motor vehicles.
  • A customized license plate number must be different from any others already issued. States typically have a free system to search online to check whether a desired combination of letters and numbers is still available.
  • Existing plates are a good source of ideas for potential vanity plate ideas, including what not to do. MentalFloss.com lists examples of controversial plates[9] , while coolpl8z[10] and r8pl8z.com[11] both provide photo galleries of personalized license plates.
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External Resources:
  1.  www.dmv.ca.gov/ipp2/initSeq.do
  2.  www.dmv.ca.gov/ipp2/initSeq.do
  3.  www.nh.gov/safety/divisions/dmv/registration/plate-types.htm
  4.  www.txdmv.gov/vehicles/license_plates/faq.htm
  5.  www.iowadot.gov/mvd/ovs/plates/personal.htm
  6.  bmv.ohio.gov/sp_personalized.stm
  7.  doa.alaska.gov/dmv/faq/vanity.htm
  8.  www.dmv.org/license-plates.php
  9.  mentalfloss.com/article/48863/11-controversial-vanity-license-plates
  10.  www.coolpl8z.com/vanity-plate-gallery.php
  11.  www.r8pl8z.com/page/1/?r_sortby=highest_rated&r_orderby=desc
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