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Q-plate car insurance

Q-plate cars have a history or age that’s unknown which can make them more difficult to insure - but there are specialist providers who can help. Find out how.

Alice Morgan
Alice Morgan
Updated 14 February 2022  | 2 min read

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What’s a Q registration number plate?

The Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) issues Q registration plates to cars when their age, history or identity is unclear.

Q-plates tend to be used for certain types of cars. And just like regular registration plates, they’re used as a way of providing information about the vehicle in a quick glance.

Once a Q-plate has been issued it can’t be changed or swapped for a personalised plate and must be used the entire time the vehicle is on the road.

Key points

  • Q-plates are required when the car’s age, identity or history is unclear - this also makes them harder to insure
  • Typically these include kit cars, self-imported cars, and vehicles that have been radically altered
  • Your car will need to pass an Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) test to be registered with a Q-plate
  • You can get cover from specialist insurers, but you’ll usually need to contact them directly

Which vehicles tend to have Q-plates?

The types of vehicles that might need Q-plates include:

  • Self-build or kit cars (unless all parts are supplied new by the manufacturer)
  • Radically modified or altered vehicles
  • Restored or reconstructed old or classic cars
  • Self-imported vehicles
  • Previously written off vehicles
  • Former military vehicles
  • Cars without a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN)

There are specialist Q plate insurers - get a quote with us and we’ll give you details of a specialist insurer who can help

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How can I get car insurance for a Q-plate car?

If you already have car insurance you can check with your current provider, but as most won’t cover Q-plate cars it’s likely you’ll need to use a specialist insurer.

Because Q-plate cars are out of the ordinary, most specialist insurers will want to speak to you directly to find out about your car.

You’ll need to provide detailed information like:

  • The make and model of your car
  • Its full specification
  • Every modification that’s been made, including any made to the engine, bodywork, wheels, brakes and suspension
  • A breakdown of parts used
  • Photos of the car and any paperwork

Insuring a Q-plate car is likely to cost more than a normal car, so it’s a good idea to shop around and compare car insurance quotes to get the best deal.

How are Q-plates issued?

If your car’s age or identity is in doubt or can’t be confirmed, you’ll need to go through the DVLA to register it.

To get a Q registration number and be allowed on UK roads, your car will have to pass the Individual Vehicle Approval (IVA) process.

But before you can do this your car will need a VIN. This can usually be found stamped into the chassis of your vehicle. You can apply to the DVLA if it doesn’t have one.

Can you replace a Q-plate with a normal registration plate?

No, once your car’s been issued with a Q-plate you can’t transfer a normal registration plate onto it. Your car will need to keep the Q registration for as long as it’s on the road.

And be aware that Q registration plates can’t be sold or transferred between cars, nor can you change it for a personalised number plate.

Are Q-plate cars safe to buy?

A Q-plate car can mean it’s been radically altered from its original specification. This is often done to update, renovate or improve the car’s appearance and performance.

If the car’s had an IVA test, this means it’s passed all the safety tests that go with this process, so it should be safe to buy and drive.

And if you’ve got a kit car, you can buy specialist insurance to cover your car while you take it to one of the UK test centres to get its IVA and clearance to drive on the road.

You’ll just need to bear in mind that if you buy a Q-plate car, the insurance costs are likely to be higher than when you insure a normal car.