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Number plate theft: is your car protected?

By  AAMI

Your car’s identity is an extension of your own – so make sure you protect it!

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What is number plate theft?

Thieves often steal car rego plates to conceal their identities. They usually target cars of a similar make and model as their own, to really sell the disguise, then drive off and commit crimes like petrol theft. If this happens to your car, you may get a surprise speeding fine in the mail, or – in extreme cases – a cop rocking up at your door for a crime you didn’t commit.

How you can prevent it

Secure those plates

Anti-theft one-way screws are your best defence against sticky fingers. Those regular screws that come with your car? They can be removed in minutes. Anti-theft screws are tamper-proof: once they’re on, they’re not coming off (unless you get help from a friendly mechanic).

One-way screws can be found at your local hardware store. They only cost a few dollars, and a standard flat-bladed screwdriver will secure them to your car in a couple of minutes.

Obscure your number plates online

If you’re posting car pics online, blur out those plates! Number plate theft happens in cyberspace too. Criminals browse vehicle sales websites to find cars that match their own, then clone the number plates, sometimes on laminated paper.

A free online photo editor and a few seconds of your time can solve this. Just find one with an image blurring tool in its pool of effects.  

Start a neighbourhood watch (or join one)

Staying safe is a community effort, so start a campaign and recruit your neighbours! Having more than one pair of eyes goes a long way in protecting your local area. Remember, vigilance can prevent more than just stolen number plates.

Park in safe areas

When possible, park in a locked garage, or at least in your driveway rather than on the street. Thieves are opportunistic, so they’re less likely to walk onto your property. Also, avoid dark public parking spots. This isn’t foolproof, of course; sometimes you gotta park where you gotta park.

Once you’ve got number plate safety down, focus on the rest of your car. AAMI Comprehensive Car Insurance covers you in case of damage to your car, as well as damage you may accidentally cause to other people’s vehicles and property. For more info on what’s covered and what’s not, check out our Product Disclosure Statement! And remember, the road ahead is unpredictable, but we’ve got your back!

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If your number plate has been stolen

  • Make a police report.
  • Pay to get new plates. It’s illegal to drive without ‘em!
  • Dispute any fines you receive incorrectly.
  • Collect evidence of where your car was, such as CCTV footage, etc.

Read more:

Insurance is issued by AAI Limited ABN 48 005 297 807 AFSL 230859 (AAI) trading as AAMI. Read the relevant Product Disclosure Statement before buying this insurance.
This advice has been prepared without taking into account your particular objectives, financial situations or needs, so you should consider whether it is appropriate for you before acting on it.