A new study has found that drivers who have a personalised number plate are much more likely to have their car broken in to or stolen.
The report by MoneySupermarket revealed the correlation between having a private number plate and your car being targeted is significant, with cars with personalised plates being 50% more likely to be targeted by thieves.
Almost a fifth of UK drivers either own a personalised plate or have done in the past, with motorists in London the most likely to own and drivers in Northern Ireland the least likely.
Depending on the format of the number plate, they can cost anywhere from around £200 and go into the tens of thousands. A recent study by car insurance company Admiral found that the total amount spent on personalised plates in the UK last year was a massive £111 million.
In terms of the cars most likely to have a ‘vanity’ plate, Mercedes drivers were found to be the most likely to have a personalised plate with 12% of all private plate owners driving a Merc.
Although there is a high number of motorists who own or have previously owned them, it seems that not all UK drivers are keen on personalised plates.
A third of people think that someone with a personalised plate is a ‘poser’, while 27% think they are an ‘attention seeker’ and 25% think private plate owners have ‘more money than sense’.
Things to consider when buying a personalised plate
If you do choose to have a personalised plate, there are a few things you need to consider.
First of all, you need to make sure that your car insurer is aware of your new plate details so these can be recorded and reflected in your current policy. Failure to inform your insurance company could lead to your cover be invalidated in the event of a claim.
You also need to register the new plate as a ‘cherished plate’ with your insurance company to prevent it from becoming the property of your insurer along with your car if it is written-off. In the event of a write-off or ‘total loss’, your insurance company effectively becomes the owner of the car after paying out and will deal with the process of scrapping it or selling it on.
If you haven’t told your insurance company and the DVLA about your personalised plate you will lose all rights to it in the future.
Tips to protect your car from thieves
Regardless of whether you own a personalised plate or not, it is always a good idea to do as much as you can to discourage thieves from targeting your vehicle.
- Don’t leave valuables on show in your car – even a bag or coat on the back seat could attract opportunistic thieves, so make sure you take things with you or at least put them in the boot so they are not visible.
- Where possible, try to park in well-lit streets or in protected places such as monitored car parks.
- Invest in anti-theft devices such as alarms, immobilisers, steering wheel locks and so to help deter thieves.
- Double-check that you have locked your car – statistics show that car thefts as a result of unlocked doors have increased by 30% in the past decade.