How to Get Historical Plates and Registration

how to get historical license plates

Living in the past isn’t healthy unless you’re obsessing over classic cars. Nostalgia plays a big role in why vintage vehicles are so popular. More often than not, these cars always have a good story behind them, and it’s so easy to get lost in them as you listen to owners talk about the memories they’ve shared with their classic cars. 

For some owners, their vintage vehicle is where they had their first kiss. For others, it’s where they had their first breakup. And for a select few, their vintage vehicle is what allowed them to win a big race or compete in an exhibition. 

Regardless of the story, it’s fun to listen to all of the memorable moments that owners share with their classic cars, so much so that it may be tempting to get an antique vehicle for yourself. And while it’s not terribly difficult to find someone who will sell their classic car to you, it is challenging to get historical license plates and vehicle registration if your car doesn’t meet all of the guidelines and follow specific criteria. 

What do states consider a classic car?

If you want to get historical license plates and vehicle registration for your classic car, the first thing you need to do is verify that your new car is actually historic. What’s considered “historic” will vary depending on the state you live in, but usually, when a car hits 25 years old, it qualifies as a historic vehicle.

However, again, that magic number can vary. For example, in New York and New Jersey, a car must be 25 years old to qualify as a historic vehicle. But in Connecticut, the car only has to be 20 years old. Slight differences like this make it extremely important to check your state’s guidelines.

But once you have what your state identifies as a classic car, you can move forward with getting historical license plates and vehicle registration. And both of these items will signal that you own a vintage vehicle. 

Where are you allowed to use a classic car?

Unlike modern vehicles, classic cars are not eligible for everyday use in some states. Depending on where you live, you cannot take your vintage vehicle out for a joy ride or use it to run errands. If you want to get historical license plates and vehicle registration, your classic car will typically need to be a collector’s item, not a means of everyday transportation.  

However, that doesn’t mean your classic car can’t ever leave the garage if you live in a stricter state. A collector’s item is great for parades, tours, club activities, educational purposes, exhibitions, or other showboating events. So you’ll have plenty of opportunities to present your classic car in all of its glory. But your state may limit where you can showcase your vehicle.

While this seems very restrictive, state officials create guidelines like these to protect classic cars. Most states agree that preserving these types of vehicles requires owners to limit their use of them. And while states may vary on what “limited” looks like, you’ll likely encounter some sort of regulation regarding when you can use your vehicle. 

How often can you use a classic car?

a classic car with historical license plates

Some states will regulate how often you can use your classic car, so if you want to get and keep your historical license plates and vehicle registration, you must consider this guideline. 

Depending on where you live, you might only have the capability to drive your vehicle so many miles per year. This rule means that you’ll have to keep track of every mile you drive, and once you hit a specific number, you’ll need to keep your car in the garage. 

Some states have slightly different rules. Instead of restricting your mileage each year, they restrict your distance. Specifically, you may have to limit how far your classic car is from your home address. For example, in Virginia, you can drive up to 250 miles away from your house. 

Can you re-design your classic car?

Sometimes, it’s tempting to get a car and make enhancements, especially if you’re all about adding a personal touch. But if you want to get historical license plates and vehicle registration, you need to know that in some states, altering your vintage car’s design is not an option. 

For example, in New Jersey, your classic car “cannot be altered from the manufacturer’s original design in any way.” This rule is another one of those regulations that are supposed to help protect and preserve historical cars, so while it may seem restricting, it’s inspired by good intentions. 

Follow your state’s guidelines 

It should go without saying that you can’t get historical license plates or vehicle registration for your classic car if you don’t follow your state’s guidelines. If you want to start on the right foot, do what your state requires. 

And once you get your historical license plates and vehicle registration, make sure you don’t slip in following the rules. If you do, you will face penalties and hefty fines. While having an antique car has its financial benefits—like discounted insurance rates and cheaper plates—you can still rack up a lot of expenses in fines if you don’t follow your state’s guidelines. 

How to get historical license plates and vehicle registration

If you’re going to adhere to your state’s rules for classic cars, you should have no problem getting historical license plates and vehicle registration. However, to make sure you experience the least resistance possible, go through a transportation agency like Barry Risk Management. 

Using the Department of Motor Vehicles (DMV), which is known for long wait times and continuous back-and-forth, will only lead to headaches. But credible and experienced transportation agencies can get you historical license plates and vehicle registration much quicker. 

Barry Risk Management, in particular, has over 30 years of industry experience and has many representatives who know how to get the license plates and vehicle registration you need, regardless of the state you live in. And Barry Risk Management does everything online, so you don’t have to leave your home to get what you want. 

Unlike the DMV, Barry Risk Management’s process is quick and painless, so skip the long lines at the DMV. Use Barry Risk Management to get your historical license plates and vehicle registration.

Call 1-888-995-TAGS(8247) to speak with a representative from Barry Risk Management who can help you get everything you need for your classic car. 

How to Get Historical Plates Without Going to a DMV

how to get historical license plates

Let’s face it — we all love personalization. 

We want personalized meals, workout regimens, Spotify playlists, marketing messages, Netflix and Hulu recommendations, ads, experiences, cars, and even license plates. That’s right… we love to personalize our license plates.

How many times have we seen someone repping their alma mater on their license plate or showcasing their favorite sports team when it’s in season? We even see vehicle plates that suggest someone’s military status, favorite hobby, or support for an important cause. 

License plates are a part of our identity and personalizing them is relatively simple. However, there is one type of license plate that requires a bit more effort to get: historical plates.

Some of us might wonder how to get historical license plates if we have a classic car or a vehicle that we’ve held onto for a while. Unfortunately, though, the process typically starts at everyone’s least favorite place: the DMV.   

how to get historical plates without the DMV

How to get historical plates at the DMV

Depending on where we live, our state DMV will refer to historical plates as collector, vintage, antique, or classic plates. Regardless of the term, however, the process on how to get historical plates is similar across state lines. There are three steps that we all have to take. 

1. Determine if our car qualifies

Before we can get historical plates, we have to make sure we have a historic car. Typically, the DMV wants the vehicle to be 25 years old to qualify. But this isn’t a standard rule across the board. 

Some states only require the car to be 20 years old, while other states want the vehicle to be much older. For example, in Florida, a vehicle has to be at least 30 years old to qualify for historical plates. And while that might seem ancient, it’s really not. A car from the 1980s could be eligible for vintage plates in Florida.

It’s important to do research to figure out what the state DMV requires. But if our vehicle meets the age requirement, we can get historical plates. We don’t have to worry about whether the car has the original paint, parts, or body to qualify. The only thing that matters is its age.

2. Buy historical plates and register the car 

If our car qualifies as a historic motor vehicle, we have to take two steps: buy the vintage plates and register our vehicle. 

Luckily, buying the plates is simple once we know our car qualifies. And registering our vehicle is also simple since the process mimics the way we handle any vehicle registration. 

However, what makes things complicated is the DMV. It’s not fun searching for the necessary paperwork on the DMV’s website or waiting in long lines for someone to give it to us. 

What’s worse is that we also have to find and fill out a special registration form for historical plates. This particular form determines what type of historic license plates we can put on our vehicle. 

Some DMVs like to know the era of our classic car to figure out the best license plate to put on it. In Tennessee, for example, the DMV will provide 1977-styled plates if our car was made between 1977 and 1983. However, in New York, the DMV will provide license plates to match the exact year our car was made. 

How we fill out this special registration form will determine how our historical plates look, so it’s crucial that we fill it out correctly. Otherwise, we’ll have to go back-and-forth with the DMV to ensure everything is correct, elongating the process even further. 

3. Learn the state regulation and costs

It’s true that historical plates are less expensive than standard license plates. However, if some of us aren’t careful, we could spend more money than we want to. 

Each state has its own rules and regulations for owning vintage plates, and it’s easy to rack up costs from fines and tickets if we’re not following the rules. For example, if we move to a different state, the laws regarding antique plates might differ significantly. 

If that’s the case, we have to make a trip to the state DMV to align our historical plates with the new guidelines. And while it’s a necessary step, it’s not a fun one. Going to the DMV and walking through their process all over again is not how most of us would like to start our journey in a new city. 

The pros and cons of getting historical plates

Let’s start with the good news. There are many benefits of getting historical plates, and the biggest one is the one-time registration fee. 

While some states require re-registration every five years, most states don’t. Many states only ask for one lap around the registration process, which is a major incentive. What’s even better is that the registration fee is fairly inexpensive. The cost differs in each state, but typically, the price range is $50 – $100

Another great benefit of owning a classic car is that we don’t have to worry about emissions and inspections every year. If our car has outdated parts, the inspections would likely be another pain that we have to experience. But historical plates ensure we avoid that headache. 

However, having a historic car is not all smooth sailing. Unfortunately, there are some cons. Once we have historical plates, most states don’t want the classic car to become our daily vehicle. In fact, some states only allow the vehicle to accumulate 5,000 miles per year. 

And if we get in trouble for driving over the indicated mileage, we’ll find ourselves with an expensive ticket and the inability to apply for vintage plates for several years. This con might not seem bad if some of us don’t plan to drive our classic cars on a regular basis. But if any of us love the idea of driving our vintage cars every day, this is a huge disappointment. 

However, it might not be worse than the next con of getting historical plates: going to the DMV. Getting vintage plates at the DMV can be a headache. The lines are long. The paperwork is lengthy. And the DMV can delay the process if they find something wrong with the application. 

Having to go through all of this might sound like an absolute nightmare. And honestly, it’s okay if it does. Many of us are not alone in our dislike of the DMV. 

How to get historical plates without the DMV

While there’s no way to bypass the limited mileage that some states have for classic cars, there is a way to avoid the DMV so that we can enjoy the benefits of historical plates. 

All we need to do is handle everything online. Companies like Barry Risk Management, Inc. makes this possible by offering DMV services online and knowledgeable representatives who can help us every step of the way. 

Instead of waiting in long lines at the DMV or searching online for accurate information and necessary paperwork, Barry Risk Management, Inc. handles everything regardless of the state we live in. We could be in California, on the opposite coast in New York, or somewhere in between. 

But Barry Risk Management, Inc. will offer all the information and forms that we need for our particular location to ensure we get our historical plates quickly and easily.  

If you or someone you know wants to get historical plates, make sure to contact Barry Risk Management, Inc. for help! The service you get will have your historical plates on your classic car in no time.