Can I have a private plate on my lease car?

Whether you know it as a private, personalised, cherish or vanity number plate, it’s one that will have some meaning to you. It could be your initials and a special date, something related to a favourite tv programme, film or person, or a clever way to remember an important date.

There are several things that you will need to know if you’re planning on getting a personal/private number plate for your vehicle, and we’re here to help.

So, how do you go about getting one? What are the things you will need to remember when you’ve purchased one? How do you get it registered to your new vehicle, whether you’ve leased, purchased or hired it?

How do I purchase a personal number plate?

When it comes to purchasing a private number plate you have several options.

DVLA Personalised Registrations – This is a website set up by the DVLA where you can search for the registration you wish to purchase by letter or number combination. So, if you were searching for a number plate with your initials in it, then you can search for them and the site will bring up a list of number plates that contain that letter/number combination.

DVLA Auctions – As well as having a website where you can search for the more standard number plates, around five times a year, the DVLA hold auctions at various places across the country where you can purchase that special plate. You can either attend the auction in person, bid over the phone, bid in writing (as details of the number plates being put on the block are available on their website) or place a bid online. The auctions can last for several days, and often have over 1,000 number plates to choose from.

BMW with blank plate - private plates

Private Dealer/Individual – The DVLA promote several approved dealerships on their website, these are dealers who have agreed to abide by the terms and conditions set out by the DVLA with regards to ethical trading practices. However, there is nothing to stop you from purchasing through a private dealership or individual. You need to simply ensure that once you have purchased the plate, ownership is correctly transferred and you have the right paperwork.

Have a private numberplate and looking for a new car to put it on? Get in touch with our team of vehicle experts and they can help you. Call us now on 01903 538835, or request a callback.

What paperwork do I need to complete for a private number plate?

If the private number plate has never been on a vehicle before you will need the Certificate of Entitlement, also known as the V750. This certificate proves that you have the right to assign the number to a vehicle.

Whether you are completing the Certificate of Entitlement (V750), or the Retention Document (V778) you will need to complete the following sections:

  • Section 2 – here you will need to add the nominee’s details
  • Section 6 – this section will need to be signed by the owner of the number plate (the Grantee).

Once these sections are completed you (the Grantee) will need to send the document to the DVLA who will then send you back a finalised Retention Document.

When should I complete the documentation?

When it comes to both the Certificate of Entitlement and the Retention Document you have two options of as to when you should complete the documentation.

You can either:

Complete the process prior to delivery of your new lease vehicle. In this case, you will need to send the finalised Retention Document (that has been returned by the DVLA) to the supplying dealer so that they can assign the new private number plate to your vehicle.


Complete the process after you have received your vehicle. You will need to send the finalised Retention Document to the Finance/Lease company so that they can assign it to your vehicle. The Finance/Lease company may levy an administration charge in order to complete the process.

In both cases, you will need to send the original Retention Document, not a copy, to the relevant party for processing.

Can I use a private plate on my lease car?

The short answer is yes, you can.

When you purchase a personalised number plate you are buying the right to assign the number to a car.

The process for assigning your specially-purchased number plate is the same for a lease car as it is for a car you’ve purchased.

If you purchased the plate for a previous vehicle and are transferring it to your new vehicle you will need to complete the Retention Document (V778) and if you have just purchased the plate and this is the first car you are assigning it to you will need to complete the Certificate of Entitlement (V750):

  • Section 2 – here you will need to add the nominee’s details (these are the details of the Finance/Lease company)
  • Section 6 – this section will need to be signed by the owner of the number plate (the Grantee).

Once these sections are completed you (the Grantee) will need to send the document to the DVLA who will then send you back a finalised Retention Document.

Once you have received the finalised Retention Document from the DVLA you need to send this to the Finance/Lease Company so that they can update their records.

Want to lease a new vehicle but not sure what’s available right now or what the best offers are? Sign up for our weekly special offer newsletter and get the best deals right to your inbox.

Newsletter Signup

  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

What about insurance? Am I covered if my car is written off or stolen?

You’ve purchased your new plate, you’ve filled in all the paperwork, the plate has been assigned to your vehicle and it’s just been delivered with the personalised plates on display. So is there anything else you need to do?

  • Inform your insurance company of the new number plate
    • If you fail to do this then your vehicle will not be covered on your current policy
  • Check your insurance documentation*

*We recommend you check your car insurance documents carefully. Many car insurers won’t actually cover the replacement cost of a personal number plate.

Private plate - Car written off in accident - private plates

Of course, this isn’t an issue unless your car is written off in an accident, stolen (or lost).

It’s important to note that when you purchase your private plate you are purchasing the right to assign it to a vehicle. If your insurer gets rid of the car (in the case of a write-off) with the plates still assigned to it then all rights to the plate will actually go with the vehicle.

If you are unfortunate enough to have your car stolen, written off or lost, then you need to arrange for the plate number to be transferred to another vehicle OR retained on a certificate before the insurance company settle your claim.

If you have purchased a private plate, we would also recommend that you check the policy carefully before you take it out as some don’t cover the costs of the plate in an insurance payout.

According to recent research carried out by comparison service, GoCompare, only 19 insurance companies they surveyed will cover the cost of a personal plate if your vehicle is written off, lost or stolen. And, when you take into account that some plates can cost over £25,000 this is a considerable financial loss. So, it’s definitely worthwhile carefully reading over your policy.


Whether your car is written off, lost or stolen, find out how you can be assured your number plate is insured.

Fed up with looking for your next vehicle?

Need advice from an experienced Vehicle Specialist on what vehicle is right for you?

Book your FREE consultation now