Search License Plate Records


Where Can I Search for Information About a License Plate Online?
All vehicle owners in the United States must have an up-to-date license plate or temporary license plate attached to their vehicles prior to driving on any road. License plates are issued by individual states, and each vehicle is given a unique license plate number. This license plate allows state governments to track vehicle ownership, which in turn means that you also have access to some of this information.

Why You Might Search for Information About a License Plate Number?
Below is a look at the most common reasons a person might search for information about a license plate number.

  • Purchasing a Used Vehicle – You can save a lot of money by purchasing a used vehicle from an individual seller rather than through a dealership. However, this type of purchase does not come without risks. Running a quick license plate search can ensure the seller has the legal right to sell you the car and the provided information is accurate.
  • Involved in an Accident – Auto accidents are never easy to deal with. However, when the other party provides you with misinformation or the accident is a hit-and-run, the situation can become downright stressful. If you were involved in an accident and were able to write down the license plate number, conducting a quick search can give you the real answers you need about the other vehicle and its driver.
  • Requesting a Specialty Plate – Most states allow residents to select personalized license plate numbers. The only requirement is that no other vehicle in the state can have the same number. Rather than going to the DMV (Department of Motor Vehicles) and completing all paperwork, only to find out later that the number you requested is taken, you can run a license plate number check online. Keep checking numbers until you find one you like that has not already been taken.
  • Your Own License Plate Number – Even though you drive your vehicle every day, chances are you do not have your license plate number memorized. If your car or your car's license plate has been stolen, conducting a quick search can help you find the information you need in a hurry. You also may need this information to renew your vehicle registration or request a parking permit.

What License Plate Information Can You Obtain Online?
The exact information you can obtain from an online license plate search depends on the specific state where the car is registered. Here's a look at the type of information available in most states.

  • Current registration status
  • Current owner's name
  • If the vehicle is listed as stolen
  • If there are any liens against the vehicle
  • Proof of odometer reading
  • If the vehicle has been marked as salvage
  • VIN number

Once you have the VIN number or verify that the VIN number matches the specific vehicle you are considering purchasing, you can obtain a wealth of information about the car itself, such as a complete vehicle history, accidents report, recall information and safety ratings.

How Can This Information Help You?
The last thing you want to do is to purchase a vehicle and find out later that the car was reported stolen, the title is fake, or there is a lien against the title. A license plate number search can prevent these types of issues by double-checking the seller's information. A license plate search also can help you get the justice you deserve if you have been involved in an accident, since it provides you with the name of the other party.

Where to Search Online
There are many online sites that offer free or affordable online license plate number searches. Some of these sites will provide the first search free of charge and make you pay for any additional searches. After the initial free search, most sites allow you to pay a minimal fee per search or a monthly fee for unlimited searches.
Read the fine print before ordering any license plate number searches online, to ensure it will provide the specific details you need. You also want to make sure you understand any associated fees and that you are not unwittingly entering into a monthly service plan with the provider.

If you want information about your own vehicle's license plate, you can typically find this information from your state's DMV online services. You will be prompted to enter personal information, such as your name, address, driver's license number, and make and model of vehicle to verify your identity. You should then have access to all the information you need.

Alternative License Plate Number Search Options
Due to privacy laws, you may be unable to find all information you need about a license plate number and its owner online. If this is the case, you can contact your local DMV office to see what other options are available in your specific state. If your vehicle has been involved in an accident or your vehicle or license plate has been stolen, you can also contact your local police department. They will have the resources to find the information you need. If more assistance is needed, you should seek out professional help from a license private investigator; this route will take longer than online searches, but most investigators will be able to obtain accurate information.