When drivers are caught in a situation where their car registration plates are lost, stolen or destroyed, they are required to begin a plate replacement procedure if they want to continue operating their motor vehicles. DMV license plates must be replaced at the state department of motor vehicles if they are mutilated, lost or stolen.

In addition, prior to replacing license plates at a local DMV office, drivers are encouraged to file a report with their law enforcement agency. Filing a report about the loss or theft of DMV license plates will warn the police about the possible crime. Once you file a police report, you will have to satisfy certain license plate replacement requirements as part of the procedure. Visit the state-specific page below to learn more about license plates in your state:

Methods for Replacing License Plates

Each state department of motor vehicles determines its regulations and methods for the replacement procedure. Drivers may replace license plates in person or by mail in most of the states, while some of them require a mandatory personal appearance at a local DMV branch. For instance, the New York DMV requires drivers to replace license plates only in person at a DMV location. Therefore, make sure you contact your state DMV prior to replacing license plates which were lost, stolen or damaged.

File a Police Report

The DMV license plate replacement procedure consists of several steps which must be completed in order to get new tags. Prior to heading to the nearest state DMV office, drivers may be required to file a report at the law enforcement agency first, if their plates were lost or stolen. After that, drivers can replace license plates at a local DMV by providing the police report along with the required documentation. However, some states may not require filing a police report in situations when drivers have lost only one license plate. Such is the case in New York where drivers, who have lost only one DMV license plate, are not requested to submit a police report, as long as they submit the plate that is left in their possession.

License Plates Replacement Requirements

When wondering how to replace license plates in your state, you first need to find out the mandatory replacement requirements set by your state department of motor vehicles. Although each state DMV determines its own requirements, some are common on a national level. For instance, drivers who are replacing license plates are generally expected to do the following:

  • Complete a DMV license plate replacement application form.
  • Submit a copy of the police report, if required by the state DMV.
  • Surrender the mutilated or damaged DMV license plate.
  • Provide proof of identity, if necessary.
  • Provide proof of residential address, if different from the one on file with DMV.
  • Submit payment for the applicable fees.

Note that there requirements for replacing license plates may vary from one state to another and may depend on the replacement method you plan to use. Therefore make sure to find out how to replace license plates by contacting your local DMV branch.

Fees for Duplicate License Plates

The final step in the procedure for replacing license plates is to submit payment for the duplicate license plates. The cost of the duplicate car registration plates may be the same or even lower than the one you paid when you applied for tags the first time. Moreover, some states may offer you free duplicate plates or tags.

In addition, the DMV license plate fees may differ from one state to another, depending on the initial cost of car registration and plates. Therefore, prior to replacing license plates through your state department of motor vehicles, make sure to contact the DMV and learn all the necessary information about the replacement procedure.

Last updated on Tuesday, March 10 2020.