Step 1: Inform authorities
When faced with a damaged or lost number plate, it is important to inform your local authorities for several reasons.
One should file a written First Information Report (FIR) at their local police station and get it stamped for acknowledgment. While we should refrain from using a vehicle when it bears a damaged number plate, the acknowledged FIR will protect you from being fined by traffic authorities in the interim period.
In cases of lost or stolen number plates, the FIR will protect you from being incriminated in a situation where your original plate might get misused in criminal activities or any other road violations. Once this step is done, you can proceed towards replacing your old number plate with a new one.
Remote FIR Center in Bengaluru
Step 2: Replacement
Cars and bikes that were purchased before April 1, 2019 will not necessarily bear an HSRP number plate as it was not made mandatory by the government. Moreover, vehicles belonging to states where HSRP is not mandatory yet could also have a set of normal plates.
In such a case the replacement is easy, as the owner can acquire new plates from any local workshop after registering an FIR. However, the ease of replacement also means that the non-HSRP vehicle is more susceptible to being stolen as it does not benefit from an HSRP’s security features.
The Ministry of Road Transport and Highways (MoRTH) introduced the HSRP number plates to curb vehicle theft and help track lost or stolen vehicles. To ensure HSRPs are not stolen, they are installed with non-reuasable snap locks. For additional security, the HSRP set comes with a third registration plate in the form of a sticker that bears the vehicle’s engine and chassis number among other details and is required to be affixed on the bottom-left side of a windshield. The HSRP itself is made of aluminium and features a hot-stamped hologram and a laser engraves ten-digit PIN number to avoid counterfeiting.
Things get a little tricky when an HSRP is damaged, lost or stolen. In such a scenario, the owner of the vehicle needs to list the official HSRP website and apply for a replacement. However, one cannot simply apply for the replacement, they first have to send an email to email@example.com stating the reason for the replacement with a copy of an FIR for the same.
HSRP with non-reusable snap locks
This is required because the order ID for your vehicle’s registration plate already exists and needs to be cancelled and re-opened for a new set of plates. Once your application has been verified, you will receive an email stating the cancellation of your original HSRP order ID and the go-ahead to apply for a replacement. Bear in mind that this is not an automated process and can take up to several days and even weeks to complete.
While the above mentioned process can sound overwhelming to some owners, there is a silver lining. Your original set of HSRP also had a warranty of 15 years against damage or getting lost. After an FIR is filed, an owner can approach the authorised dealer of their vehicle for the replacement and they can carry out the process on the customer’s behalf. This makes the replacement process easier for the customer, however, the dealership needs to be willing to help. Replacement of an HSRP can range anywhere between Rs 400 to Rs 1,100 depending on the category of the vehicle.
Number plates are exposed to the vehicle’s outside environment under a wide variety of conditions and can suffer damage over time. Driving through a waterlogged street or mud, or brushing against other vehicles in heavy traffic, a plate can meet its fate anywhere. What is important in such a scenario is protecting yourself and your vehicle’s registered identity from getting misused.
Have you experienced loss or damage to your number plates? Share your experience in the comments.