Trade plates are essential for motor traders or car dealers. These plates allow them to operate unregistered vehicles on the road (usually for trade, test drives or vehicle inspection). With trade plates, you also don’t need to pay taxes for every vehicle you have in your possession temporarily. However, keep in mind that you cannot use these vehicles without trade plate insurance.

In this blog post, you will learn everything you need to know about trade plates and trade plate insurance. Protect your motor trade business by investing in the right insurance policy!

What are Trade Plates?

What are Trade Plates

These plates are usually issued to motor traders, car dealers and agricultural machinery businesses to allow them to operate their unregistered vehicles on Australian roads. You can utilise these specialised plates when/for:

  • Driving the vehicle to an examination centre for system checkups or licensing
  • Delivering the vehicle to the new owner after a sale
  • Test drive for up to 24 hours
  • Delivering the vehicle from the motor trader’s premises to a potential buyer
  • Transporting a vehicle to an agricultural or motor show
  • Standard checkup after a repair
  • Transporting vehicles to or from a shop, repair or manufacturer
  • Vehicle demonstration
  • Transportation of vehicles for auction

Trade plates are made of aluminium. They are usually white numbered plates with black text or characters. The standard size for motor vehicle plates is 372 mm x 134 mm and 245 mm x 100 mm for motorcycle plates.

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Who Benefits from Motor Trade Plates?

Anyone in the motor trade industry can benefit from obtaining trade plates. You may be eligible for these plates if you are:

  • a vehicle dealer, repairer or manufacturer,
  • a trailer manufacturer,
  • a vehicle tester,
  • a fleet owner (must own at least 50 vehicles),
  • an agricultural machinery operator or
  • an accessory fitter

Trade plates may exempt you from tax fees. But all brand-new and second-hand vehicles registered under your name are still taxable. You also may not use trade plates on these vehicles.

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Trade Plates Rules & Regulations

  • You can only use trade plates on unregistered vehicles. This may include vehicles with suspended, cancelled or expired registration.
  • Only roadworthy vehicles can get trade plates.
  • All vehicles with trade plates must be fully insured.
  • Trade plates are nontransferable. They cannot be loaned to any other person or organisation as well.
  • Trade plates must be valid or up-to-date. You cannot use expired trade plates on any vehicle.
  • Trade plates must be visible or readable from 18 to 22 metres, and installed properly into the vehicle’s exterior (vertical position–NOT INSIDE THE VEHICLE OR BEHIND THE WINDSCREEN. It shouldn’t also cover the original registration plate of the vehicle.

Trade Plates Application Process

Here’s the step-by-step process when applying for trade plates:

Step 1: Complete the Form.

To apply for trade plates, you need to complete your Form E96. This form needs you to provide the following information:

  • Reasons or purpose of trade plates application
  • Nature of your business
  • How often do you need to use them?
  • Number of trade plates that have been issued to you or the organisation
  • Other relevant details

Note: The application form must be signed by the sole proprietor or a company director

Step 2: Provide Supporting Documents & Requirements

You will need to provide a copy of these supporting documents:

  • Updated repairers’ license
  • Updated dealers’ license
  • Business registration
  • Certificate of Registration of a Business Name
  • Certificate of Authorised Premises

Step 3: Submit Your Application.

After completing the application form and compiling all supporting documents, you may now submit them to their office. Here’s their postal address: Trade Plates, Department of Transport, GPO Box R1290, Perth WA 6844.

Step 4: Pay the Fees.

The Department of Transport will contact you about the fees you need to settle once your application has been approved. Wait for further instructions on how you can settle the payment.

Trade Plates Costs

The trade plate annual fee can cost around $44.80 and the trade plate deposit fees can cost you $500. On the other hand, the trade plate fee for dealers is around $27.30, and the remake fee can cost around $34.00.

Trade Plate Insurance in Australia

Trade Plate Insurance in Australia

Driving without insurance is illegal in all Australian states and territories. As mentioned earlier, even vehicles that are eligible for trade plates require an insurance policy. You can get penalised and charged a hefty fine in case you’re found operating vehicles without insurance. Additionally, trade plate insurance can also be a good investment. Like any other type of insurance, it also provides a safety net for you and your business operations.

How Does Trade Plate Insurance Work?

The coverage you get from your trade plate insurance varies depending on your selected policy and your insurance provider. Generally, the trade plate insurance policy should cover your operations from transporting non-registered and taxed vehicles. However, if have a broader business operation, it’s best to get more comprehensive insurance coverage.

A reputable trade plate insurance provider can customise a policy tailored to fit your specific needs. For instance, here are some options they can add to your policy:

  • Property
  • Business interruption
  • Theft and money
  • Liability
  • Employee dishonesty
  • Machinery breakdown

The Bottom Line:

Having trade plate insurance is necessary for all business owners in the motor trade industry. Yes, it’s required by law, but come to think of it, it’s also a practical option for business owners. This can protect you and or your organisation, including your business assets, employees and entire operations. Consult a licensed insurance broker to find out the best trade plate insurance policy for your specific needs.

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Note: The material offered here is for informational purposes only. It does not constitute legally binding advice and should not be a substitute for a consultation with an insurance expert