stolen license plate

How to Replace a Damaged or Stolen License Plate

When our cars have been vandalized, the last thing that we want to do is go to the DMV and replace a license plate.


Expert Auto Repair Tip: Take it from someone who knows...Having the online repair manual is a life-saver when it comes to DIY auto repair and maintenance. Whether you are working on a Ford, BMW, Dodge, or something more exotic; we probably have the manual you need.

Find Your Online Car Repair Manual Today! ->>


Unfortunately, if our license plates have been stolen or damaged, we’re responsible to replace it as soon as we can. A stolen license plate equates to a lost hour at the DMV.

There are a couple of other things you need to do in addition to visiting the DMV, and we’ll cover those for you in this article.

What to Do About a Stolen License Plate

You’ll have to do some light research about the regulations of your state. Most states allow drivers to replace their license plates by mail. In any case, you’ll be able to go into the DMV and replace your plate.

Some states, like New York, require that drivers are physically present when they replace their stolen or damaged plates. The best and easiest course of action is to contact your local DMV and ask about your options.

Police Reports

In the case of a stolen plate, you’ll want to file a police report. In fact, this is often a requirement before you go to the DMV. You need to contact your local law enforcement agency as soon as you realize that one or both plates are missing.

Some states don’t require that you file a police report, however. This is usually the case if only one of your plates is lost or stolen. So long as you have at least one plate in your possession, the police don’t need to be alerted about the missing one.

What’s the Process?

Most states will follow the general procedure listed below. You will need to complete a form that serves as an application for a new license plate. If you’re required to file a police report, you will need to submit a copy of it to your DMV.

If there is any damages or evidence that could help a police investigation, you must surrender that information. Once all of that is settled, you’ll need to have a proof of identity present when you arrive at the DMV. You should also bring a proof of residence if you have moved since you registered your plates.

There may also be fees required to acquire your new plates. This is unfortunate, but it is often the case. The process listed above will vary, depending on your state and its regulations.

You should also make sure that you order the correct additional pieces. By this, we mean license plate casings and adornments. To learn how to gauge your sizings, read more here.

It’s recommended that you handle your lost or stolen plates as soon as you realize that a plate has been lost or stolen. While it may be an inconvenience, you’re still liable to getting fees and tickets for driving without a license plate.

Were There Damages to Your Vehicle?

If there was damage to your vehicle in addition to your stolen license plate, there may be a lot you can do to make repairs yourself. Costs can rise quickly when insurance fails you.

If you’re interested in learning ways to fix your vehicle on your own, click here to learn more.