I love the challenge of trying to make sense of personalized plates. Since we have such a small space to get in letters and/or numbers, it sometimes takes a little ingenuity to fit on the plate what you want to be displayed.

I've had personalized plates a couple of times early in my years but decided not to pay the extra cost year after year.

Maybe it's just me, but whenever I've traveled through the State of Virginia, I've noticed a large number of vehicles with personalized plates. Is it because it's free, or maybe it's cheaper than New York's charge, or maybe it's just a one-time charge?

According to the Virginia Department of Motor Vehicles, the initial cost of a license plate varies between $30.75 and $35.75, and the cost of a personalized plate in Virginia is just 10 dollars per year. In New York State, the initial cost is at cost is $60 and the annual fee is $31.25 for passenger and commercial plates. For a motorcycle, the costs are $35 for the initial cost and an $18.75 annual fee.

So, if you decide to take the plunge and order a personalized plate in New York State, here are some things to know according to the New York State Department of Motor Vehicles.

For a vehicle standard plate, you can fit up to eight characters. For a motorcycle, the maximum number of characters is six. If you have a picture plate, you will lose two characters, so that bring the maximum to six, and the New York State DMV website notes that the state image is available on some personalized plates and counts as a character.

What are some restrictions? The New York State DMV notes that the following are not acceptable to have on a personalized license plate:

  • Combinations that are considered obscene, derogatory, or offensive.
  • Combinations that do not have one letter.
  • Combinations that consist of six numbers followed by one letter.
  • Use of the number zero (0) between two letters to form a word.

For further explanation on these and other restrictions click here. If you have a New York State picture plate, there are several that you can personalize including Professions, Organizations, Sports, Counties and Regions, Causes, I Love NY Adventure, Military and Veterans, Colleges, Fraternities and Sororities, and Motorcycle Plates.

For information on how to order a New York State personalized plate, click here, and make it good. I want to be challenged as to what it says the next time I am passing by your vehicle!

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