Free License Plate Owner Lookup

Karl Brauer

Written by

Karl BrauerAutomotive Journalist & Analyst
Miranda Yan

Reviewed by

Miranda YanEditorial Director & Co-Founder

Updated on: Mar 22, 2023

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When you perform a license plate lookup, you are running a search using the plate number to find information about the vehicle associated with the plate. But can you find out who owns the license plate with this method?

In this article, we will show you everything you need to know about license plate owner lookup: whether it is legal to do, and how you can possibly obtain the personal information of the owner.

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

While you can discover vehicle details with license plate lookup, it will not allow you to access personal information about the license plate owner. The Driver's Privacy Protection Act (DPPA) protects against the sharing of personal information through license plate numbers, except for specific individuals and organizations with authorized reasons. These include:

  • Law enforcement or other government agencies dealing with matters related to traffic violations, car accidents, or thefts
  • Insurance companies investigating an insurance claim
  • Scientific research requiring driver data (in this case, organizations must promise not to publish or disclose any of these personal details)
  • Businesses needing to verify someone's personal information to validate driver's license status

What Are The Ways to Find the Owner of a License Plate?

As stated above, this is not easy because of legal restrictions. But there are legitimate ways to get information on the vehicle’s owner:

Apply to the DMV

The department of motor vehicles in each state has all the registered license plates and knows who the legal owner is. To look up the license plate owner through the DMV, you need to have a justifiable reason (such as the ones mentioned above) and make a formal request by going to their office or website.

Even with those reasons, it remains difficult to get permission. And even if the DMV grants you access, you may still be unable to acquire personally identifiable information like names or addresses.

Talk to your insurance company

Your insurance company can help you find a vehicle owner when there's been an accident and the one who should be held responsible is missing. When you filed a claim, they will use the resources and proper methods to get in touch with the owner at fault.

Ask help from a private detective

Private detectives or investigators are experts at finding out information about someone’s life, and in many cases, they can also help you locate a vehicle owner. But their services can be costly, making this an unsuitable option if you have a limited budget.

Can I Find the Vehicle Owner With a VIN?

No, you can't. As the code uniquely identifies a vehicle, a VIN only contains information about the car itself, such as the make and model, place and year of manufacture, and specifications.

You may find extra details associated with the vehicle using tools like VinPit. But the DDPA also prohibits the use of VINs to identify vehicle owners, so these platforms can't offer you personal details about an owner.

What Is The Best Tool to Find Vehicle Information With License Plate Numbers and VINs?

There are many options for looking up information based on license plate numbers and VINs, but the one we recommend is VinPit. We provide an easy-to-use tool that can generate comprehensive reports containing verified, updated details about a vehicle. They will help you uncover the history of a vehicle or make an informed decision on whether or not to buy a used car.

To look up a VIN or license plate number of the target vehicle, simply enter it on our website and start the search. We will quickly scan through our database and provide you with the results in an instant.


What are the common reasons for license plate owner lookup?

People using license plate information to identify an owner may want to know more about the person in general or to catch the one who is responsible for a hit-and-run accident. They may also need this information to make an informed purchase of a used car – they want to know how it was used by its previous owner.

Is it legal to do a license plate owner lookup?

No, it is not. The DPPA restricts the sharing of personal information of vehicle owners. So the data holders, be it a DMV or a VIN check service, will not be allowed to tell you the name, address, and contact information of the owner.

What can I find with a license plate lookup?

A license plate lookup usually just helps you find information about a vehicle itself, which includes vehicle specifications, mileage, recalls, accident records, theft records, and so on.

Is it possible to find information about the owner with a license plate lookup?

In most cases, you'll only be able to know the number of owners of the vehicle, and whether they are an individual or a company. You may also be provided with the title of the vehicle, which may reveal some additional information about the vehicle's owner.

What can I do with a bad driver?

Whether you witness someone driving dangerously, or you're the victim of this behavior, the only thing you need to do is to report their license plate number to the police, instead of finding the driver by yourself. The police will have the legal authority required and better resources to resolve the situation.

Find Information About The License Plate With VinPit Now!

Try the VinPit license plate lookup service to know more about the vehicle you're interested in. It's fast, accurate, and free of charge.