What are Q-plates and can I insure a Q plate car?

What are Q-plates and can I insure a Q plate car?
Have you ever been out and about and been surprised to see a vehicle with Q-plates?

Q-plates are more common than you’d think, but come with their own specific set of rules and regulations to ensure they can be driven safely on our roads. 

To help you get to grips with everything you need to know about these unusual registrations, here’s our quick guide to everything you need to know about Q-plates. 

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What are Q-plates?

Unlike standard registration plates, which can identify a car’s entire history from date of manufacturer to where it was first registered, Q-plates identify that certain aspects of a car’s history are unknown.

Q-plates have been in use since the 1930s and while some think Q stands for ‘query’ or ‘questionable’ it’s likely they are used in this manner because the letter Q is not used in the standard vehicle registration. 

What type of cars need Q-plates?

There are certain types of cars which will be issued with Q-plates, including:

  1. Self-built kit cars
  2. Radically modified or altered cars
  3. Former Ministry of Defence military vehicles (whose history cannot be released as they are classified)
  4. Self-imported vehicles
  5. Cars without a Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). 

Q-plates are issued by the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) to cars whose age or identity is in doubt, with any previous vehicle registration that may have been associated with the car invalid once Q-plates are issued.

What’s a kit car?


Essentially, a kit car is a car you assemble by yourself at home. These kits of car pieces can be bought new from a single manufacturer or collated piece by piece from various sellers and sources. 

If the pieces are from the car’s manufacturer, you should be able to apply for a normal registration number, however if these pieces are from various sources it’s highly likely you’ll need Q-plates. 

In order to legally drive a kit car on the UK’s roads, you’ll need to supply the DVLA with inspection reports and build plans (amongst other documents) so they can ensure it meets the legal road vehicles regulations. 

How do I get Q-plates?

To be issued with Q-plates from the DVLA your vehicle will need to pass a type approval process. For more information on the process of applying for Q-plates, visit the DVLA’s website. 

Can I insure a Q-plate car?

Yes, although be aware it can be a lot more difficult to get insurance for vehicles with Q-plates than it is for normally registered vehicles so you may need to shop around for the best deal. 

Why is it difficult to insure a Q-plate car?

Essentially, it’s harder to insure a Q-plate car because insurance providers find it more difficult to assess the risk posed by a vehicle whose history may be unknown for various reasons.

To insure a Q-plate vehicle, you’ll need to provide the insurance company with a lot of information about every aspect of the car (as well as agreeing on a value for the car) so they can properly assess the associated risk. 

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Does the RAC offer Q-plate insurance?

Like many insurance providers, the RAC do not provide cover for vehicles with Q-plates due to these associated risks, so always check first with your provider before altering your car or buying a Q-plate car. 

However we do provide cover for other types of more unusual vehicles, ranging from classic cars and motorbikes, to classic military vehicles and even classic tractors, so check out our insurance pages for more information.

Does the RAC offer car insurance for modified cars?

Yes, but the type and number of modifications may affect your premium calculation or make your vehicle ineligible for cover.

If you have insurance with us and are planning on modifying your car please call 0330 159 1031 so we can check if we can still offer cover or if it will result in a premium change. 

If you don’t have insurance with us but your car is modified just complete a quote and there will be a section where you can fill out the details of the modification.

It is also worth mentioning that even something which is purely cosmetic such as stickers or a respray can result in a premium change. 

A mod which will never affect the premium is when your vehicle is “adapted for disability”. You won’t be asked what the specific modification is and it doesn’t affect the premium; you will only be asked so that we can provide the appropriate level of service and care in the event of a claim.

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