The number plate business in this part of the world is big business, with many businesses, investors and agents just working in the trade of number plates. There is a unique sense of satisfaction in owning a fancy number plate and while some numbers may just mean something to the owner (eg. lucky number, birth date etc.) others are easily identifiable as being special (eg. 786 has a religious significance in Islam, 007 is all about having the license to kill and the number 13 is unlucky for some!).
Where should I look for one?
In Dubai, the process is simple. The best place to look around is probably Dubizzle.com under the auto accessories section – this is where all the traders and agents advertise the numbers that they have available. If you’re looking for something specific, you can also post an advert yourself with a mention which number you are looking for. Of course, even letters have their own significance, whether personally or to the public!
There are some websites that sell UAE number plates but admittedly though they seem a bit dodgy they can also be a place to learn about what’s available out there.
How to value a number plate?
In terms of the Emirate of registration, Dubai’s special number plates are worth the most!
The main thing is of course the number of digits. Five digit number plates are significantly cheaper than 4 digit number plates and 3 digits and lower are usually into the six figure AED amounts (in Dubai). Once you have decided on the number of digits, then you can consider the various options available – the market is very steep – for a small increase in fanciness you’ll find that the price goes up very significantly – it’s not easy to find the right balance if you’re not an expert or haven’t done enough research.
And of course, you should know that you can negotiate with the person you’re buying from! Also, you should agree on who will bear the cost of transfer – at the time of writing this article (29/7/13), the cost of transferring the number plate to your name is AED 110.
How likely is my number plate to increase in value over time? Is it a good investment?
Like most exotic things, sometimes you can get lucky and make big money on something you took a risk on. But, most of the time, you may find yourself not as lucky. If you really want to get into number plates, don’t do it for any kind of long term financial return (this may or may not be a byproduct) – do it for the love of number plates! At the end of the day, do bear in mind that the environment/market for the number plate can easily be entirely transformed simply by decision-making by the authorities. For example, some argue that recently the values of number plates fell drastically because new alphabets like ‘N’ and ‘L’ were released. Having said this, if you know what you’re doing, you can actually end up with a great deal at an auction and flog your plate off at several Dirhams higher soon afterwards.
The RTA Process
It’s really quite simple and you’re not even required for it. Usually, the person selling you the number plate will do everything for you. You’ll have to send them your Dubai drivers’ license and Emirates ID and they’ll go over to the RTA and transfer the plate number to your name. Usually, you’ll also receive a text message from the RTA that the plate has been transferred to your name.
The RTA Certificate
This is a surprisingly simple document, entirely in Arabic which mentions that the number plate is under its owner’s name. To ensure originality, make sure that it has the blue RTA rubber stamp applied to it. However, this certificate holds little value – if the number plate really has been transferred to your name it will be reflecting in the RTA systems – you can just give them a ring on 800 90 90 and ask them. It literally takes two minutes.
Some big and famous number plate deals
These happen every day, there is probably a big number plate in negotiation, transfer or issuance right at this moment! Here are some entertaining articles about the significant happenings in the UAE number plate world:
The best number plate in the UAE is owned by His Highness Sheikh Mohammed Bin Rashid Al Maktoum. It is currently on a white Mercedes G55. So, if you ever spot this car on the road make sure you quickly check for the number plate – and if you’re in luck you may actually have a chance to see the ruler of our Emirate!
Do you have a special number plate? Alfred and his personal shoppers would love to learn about it! Visit insurancemarket.ae and we’ll get you a special deal.