How to Get a Replacement License Plate

Oops, your license plate is missing from your car, truck or motorcycle. Either it fell off or was stolen--you don't know which, you just know it is gone. Or maybe it got hammered so much it is illegible and you need to get a new one. Follow the steps below to report the situation and get a replacement license plate.

STEP 1 - Ensure you have the vehicle's registration you when you drive.

STEP 2 - Write down the identification number of your vehicle and the existing license plate number, if known.

STEP 3 - Contact the highway patrol or local law enforcement office if you suspect your license plate was stolen as soon as you notice it missing. They will ask for the information you wrote down in Step Two.

STEP 4 - Check to see if there is a downloadable replacement form on the Motor Vehicle Department or County Government website where the plate originated. Most websites have a form that you can print, sign and mail along with a small fee. The office will then mail your new license plate to you.

STEP 5 - Call, write or go to the agency that issued the plate if you are not able to find it online. Explain your situation. They will have you fill out an affidavit saying your plate is missing, pay a small fee and then issue you a new license plate.

TIPS: If you still have one license plate, it is best to display it on the rear of your vehicle while you are waiting for your new plates to arrive. Some states only require one plate; check your local laws. While waiting for your new license plates to arrive, cut a piece of cardboard the size of a license plate, write "lost" in large letters and the number from your old plate if you know it. Cover the cardboard with transparent plastic laminate and put it in your license plate holder. However, this is not necessary if you carry your registration with you at all times, as you should.

THINGS YOU'LL NEED: Small fee, normally between $5 and $15

WARNINGS: Some states require a notary signature on the affidavit you fill out to report your lost license plate.

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