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If you don’t know your license plate number, there are a few different ways you can find it. 

One of the methods is through your vehicle’s VIN number. 

There are a number of reasons why you may need to know your license plate number, including:

If the plates or your car is not in your possession, you may be wondering how you’ll find your license plate number. 

Luckily, you’ve got some options. 

Before we get into using the VIN to find your tag number, some places to look first include:

  • Your registration paperwork.
  • Your car insurance policy. 
  • Your rental agreement for your house or apartment. 
  • Hotel or airport parking receipts. 
  • Parking garage tickets. 
  • Old traffic tickets. 

If you still can’t find your plate number, using your VIN is another option. 

How to Find a License Plate Number From the VIN

The vehicle identification number (VIN) is the unique identifier that is used by the state Department of Motor Vehicles to keep track of a vehicle’s ownership and registration. 

The VIN is directly tied to the ownership and registration data the DMV has on file. 

To use your VIN to find your license plate number:

  • Locate the VIN on your vehicle or on your vehicle paperwork (title, registration, insurance policy).
  • Write down the VIN for reference. 
  • Visit your local DMV or go to their official website. 

In most states, you can enter your VIN to either access your vehicle information or order a DMV vehicle history report for yourself. 

Availability of this service online and cost to access the information may vary from state to state. 

How Can I Find My License Plate Number Without a Car?

If your car has been stolen or destroyed, it may seem impossible to find your old license plate numbers. 

But, you’ll often need the license plate numbers when filing a police report, working with the DMV, or filing a car insurance claim. 

If you don’t have access to your car, your best bet for finding the license plate number is:

  • Your title (this should be stored in a safe place outside of the vehicle).
  • Old registration paperwork or registration renewal reminders. 
  • Your car insurance policy documents or online account portal. 

Can I Find Out Who Owns a Car by Its Number Plate?

Unless you are a member of law enforcement or a state DMV employee, you can generally not look up the owner of a vehicle yourself. 

Looking up the license plate number or running a VIN report will not provide you with any personal information about the owners of the car other than the state where the car is titled and registered. 

However, you can contact your state DMV or use one of their online services to find information about your own vehicle and driving record. 

You can also use our free VIN decoder to find specs and information about any vehicle.