How to Replace a Lost License Plate

Written by louise balle
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How to Replace a Lost License Plate
Visit your department of motor vehicles to replace your number plate. (ky number plate image by timur1970 from

A number plate is an identifier for your vehicle that must be clearly displayed at all times. A lost number plate is rare since it's commonly secured tightly to the vehicle, but if this happens to you, you can get it replaced by contacting your state's department of motor vehicles. You must start the process immediately and avoid driving until you have your new plates in hand to avoid issues while on the road. Keep in mind that the exact process varies by state.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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  1. 1

    Contact your local police department to report the loss of your number plate if you suspect that someone may have stolen it. If the plate was taken, you need to ensure that the police are notified so that another person cannot use your vehicle's credentials when driving.

  2. 2

    Visit your local department of motor vehicles office in person with your registration card, driver's license or other government-issued identification in hand. If you lost only one of your plates, bring the other one into the office.

  3. 3

    Fill out the form to replace a lost or stolen plate. Include your name, address, registration number, insurance information and vehicle title number. Sign the DMV's required affidavit or statement regarding the whereabouts of your plate. Provide a copy of your police report, if applicable.

  4. 4

    Pay the required fees and receive temporary plates to put on your car. You must use these plates in place of your original number plate number as you wait (sometimes months) for a new copy of your permanent plates in the mail. If you reported the plates as stolen, you'll receive a new number plate number.

Tips and warnings

  • Use all four screws to secure your new or replacement plate in place tightly. You can find a number plate screw kit at your local auto parts store.

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