What are the requirements for getting a license plate?
Driving without a license plate is illegal, so you'll need to successfully register your vehicle in your state to obtain a valid license plate. To register your vehicle, you'll need to show proof of ownership via your vehicle's title and then have a number of documents that vary by state. States typically require you to show some combination of the vehicle's title in your name, your driver's license, proof of insurance, and information about your vehicle, such as the Vehicle Identification Number, car make and model, and odometer reading.
Can you get insurance without a license plate or tag?
While you can purchase an auto insurance policy even if you don't own a vehicle, you may not be able to be cover the actual vehicle on your policy without registering it. And without registration, you won't have license plates or the required tags that mark a valid registration.
Can I get insurance on a car with temporary plates?
The temporary license plate comes as part of the registration process, most commonly when a vehicle is purchased from a dealership. Since you need to show proof of insurance as part of the registration process before you drive your newly acquired vehicle off the dealer's lot, your auto policy applies to a vehicle with temporary plates.
What's the difference between a registration, license plate, and tag?
The vehicle registration is part and parcel with the license plate and tag. As part of the registration process, a vehicle's owner will receive either a registration card or certificate that remains with the vehicle. But for quick, external identification of the vehicle and which state it was registered in, license plates get issued by the state's motor vehicles department and the new registrations. The registration tag requirements differ state by state, but the tags also are part of the registration process. A tag signifies an up-to-date registration.
The tag – typically a sticker – is often placed on the license plate and comes as part of the registration renewal. This allows for easy confirmation of a valid registration without replacing the plates. Learn more about car insurance requirements by state.
What's a custom license plate?
States offer a variety of license plate options at the time of vehicle registration. Some states have a mix of plates featuring different backgrounds, whether highlighting state parks, local universities, or other special events. These often come with an additional fee.
Vehicle owners can also customize their license plate — this is often called a vanity plate — with their own unique combination of numbers and/or letters. Again, this comes with an additional fee.
Looking for more information about auto insurance? Our car insurance resource center has you covered.