Best free license plate lookup services for 2023
A vehicle is one of the most expensive purchases you’ll make. If you’re fortunate enough to buy a new car, good on you. However, many car buyers purchase used cars because they are generally less expensive.
There’s one problem with buying a used car from a dealer: you don’t know the vehicle’s history. The dealership will only tell you so much. That’s when you should obtain a vehicle history report and search criminal driving records.
Sure, you could go to the DMV and have them look up a license plate number for you. That would require time, effort, and perhaps a fee. And even then, you might not get all the info you need. That’s when it’s a good idea to use a license plate lookup site for quick, trustworthy data.
Want to run a background check or look up a license plate? Below are the best resources for license plate lookup tools.
Bumper is an easy-to-access collection of vehicle records. These records are collected through official government records, insurance records, and industry sources such as manufacturers and service shops.
Bumper is on a mission to bring vehicle history reports and ownership up to speed with modern times. They believe that consumers deserve to have access to the same tools and information the pros use to make the right decisions. The company is also one of the first companies of its kind to be granted the NMVTIS certification for both commercial and public use.
What makes Bumper different?
For one, Bumper offers unlimited reports by VIN, license plate, or year/make/model for one low monthly price. This means that you don’t have to pay for individual reports. Bumper.com also provides a comprehensive history report that includes tons of information. You could learn everything from market value, specs, equipment, accidents, and safety ratings to available salvage records, theft and accident reports, and vehicle recalls — all in one report.
Another thing that makes Bumper different is the fact that users get plenty of offers from other companies. Their network of industry-leading partners ensures our users receive access to savings and competitive offers when it comes to auto insurance and car buying and selling.
Bumper also makes it easy for consumers to set up monitoring alerts on available vehicle searches. As new information becomes available, users receive an email notification about the monitored vehicle. This feature is unique to Bumper.
How much does Bumper.com cost?
A one-month membership costs $13.44 (it’s usually $19.99). With the one-month membership, you’ll get unlimited reports and more. The 3-month membership is a better deal: you’ll pay $8.74 per month for a total of $26.22 paid at once.
Membership benefits include unlimited reports on license plates, sales and background searches, market values, title checks, and more. You can search by VIN, license plate number, and model of vehicle.
Accurate Vehicle Data
Bumper.com’s vehicle records come from government agencies, insurance providers, car industry sources, and more. They do their absolute best to find reliable, up-to-date information, from accidents and market value to salvage records and vehicle specifications.
- Accurate data
- A game-changer for vehicle searches
- Information is easy to access
- Unlimited reports
- One low cost
- Sometimes information isn’t always 100% accurate
- There are some questionable reviews on a few sites
Founded in 2007, BeenVerified offers a variety of affordable ways to access public record information, particularly license plate searches. BeenVerified’s mission is to help people discover, understand, and use public data in their everyday lives.
BeenVerified offers a variety of affordable ways to access public record information. Based in New York, the site gets a whopping average of 16,000,000 visits every month.
BeenVerified’s monthly subscription cost is frequently lower than what many competitors charge for a single background report. You aren’t limited to a single search or required to pay per search.
A VIN (vehicle identification number) number lookup could provide important details you may otherwise not know about. State agencies and auto industry partners maintain extensive vehicle databases recording significant events in the vehicle’s lifespan that may impact its value and reliability.
How does BeenVerified work?
BeenVerified collects available data from public sources, government databases, and social media. All of the data is stored in one big database. When you search for a license plate number, BeenVerified uses the info you type in to scan its vast database. The resulting information is packaged neatly to view on any device of your choosing.
One thing to remember is that BeenVerified only collects public information. That being said, the site utilizes data from sources such as courthouses, the FBI, etc. The difference is that you don’t have to go into any of their offices to get the desired information since BeenVerified supplies it for you.
What can you do with a license plate number lookup?
With a VIN lookup report, you don’t have to rely solely on the seller’s word about a vehicle as your only source of information. A VIN search could alert you to any undisclosed issues. Having more insight into a car’s potential problems may put you in a better position to negotiate on price and the terms of sale.
If you own a vehicle, running a VIN lookup may provide important alerts to safety recalls and warranty coverage and help you stay on top of vital repairs and maintenance that could potentially put you and your family at risk. You’ll also be able to monitor your car’s value, so you know the right time to sell or trade it.
BeenVerified’s VIN lookup also gives you access to people search, reverse phone lookup, and other useful tools to possibly learn more about the seller. Having more information could help you make a better decision whether you’re buying or selling used cars.
BeenVerified Customer Service
BeenVerified is extremely focused on customer service. The company realizes that for many people, it may be the first time that they have ever conducted a public record search and that they may have questions about the process. Unlike many other websites, BeenVerified offers live customer support specialists available during much of the day and evening.
BeenVerified offers a monthly membership for $26.89 per month. They also offer a 3-month subscription for $17.48 a month.
- Detailed, comprehensive reports
- You don’t have to pay per search
- Excellent customer service
- A mobile app is convenient
- Straightforward pricing
- Excellent mobile app
- Easy to use
- They don’t offer a free trial
- Search results are not 100% accurate
- Search results can take quite long
What is a license plate number?
Every vehicle gets a license plate number that verifies that the vehicle is registered. This number connects vehicles and their owners. Each state has its plate design. Each state also has its own laws regarding whether or not a license plate transfers after the car is sold, as some issue a new plate number. License plates are also referred to as tags and vehicle registration plates.
What can a license plate number tell you?
A license plate number can tell you a lot of basic information such as:
- Lien and repossession records
- History of accidents
- Service and inspection history
- Flood, fire, and hail damage
- Registration history
- Current market value based on comparable vehicle sales.
- Sales listing history
What is a license plate lookup?
In a nutshell, a license plate lookup is a way to find out about a certain vehicle. All you need is the actual plate number, and nothing else.
Since the plate number is linked to an individual car, a license plate lookup may reveal a lot about the vehicle. And when you’re purchasing a used car (or at least thinking about it, anyway), you want to know everything you can before you seal the deal.
If you’re narrowing down a few car choices, then you need multiple history reports. The problem with this is that this can get pretty expensive when you pay per report. Many people spend a few months before they decide on a purchase. If one report costs an average of $30 to $40, the costs can add up quickly.
Why would you want to do a license plate search?
If you’re buying a brand-new car, you don’t need to learn about the vehicle’s history because there isn’t any! But with used cars, you want to know everything you can before you sign the papers to buy. In other words, a lookup can save you a lot of heartache and money later on down the road, literally.
A license plate lookup can put valuable information in your hands to help you decide between buying or selling a vehicle. Depending on what the search reveals, it could help ensure you receive maximum value as both a buyer and seller.
Here’s an example: Let’s say you see a car that you love and it’s for sale. If you search for the license plate, you might get a market value for the car. This way, you can make a reasonable offer to the owner because you know the actual value of the car. It also means it can save you from getting ripped off!
On the other hand, you may find info on the car that makes you not want it anymore. Let’s say you find out that the vehicle suffered from flood damage a few years ago. Without looking up the plate number, you might never know about things that may change your mind about pursuing the vehicle.
A Word of Caution
Sometimes the information they collect is not always 100% correct. Sometimes, records are incomplete as a result of being filtered through different systems or because of typographic errors when moving the records from paper to computerized format. While the company puts every effort into making data as accurate as possible, in actuality they are dependent upon the fact that the sources provide the correct information.
Wrapping It Up
Back in the day, you’d have to go to the DMV and ask for a license plate lookup. It’s a good thing that there are sites like BeenVerified and Bumper these days! It makes finding information about a vehicle easy and convenient.
The next time you need to know the history of a vehicle, rely on the above sites. They are handy, reliable, and easy to use.
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