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Old 17.08.2006, 10:00
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Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

This is the first in a series of Fact Sheet Posts I am starting. They are by no means complete, and all members are encouraged to add, correct or update the post.

Fact Sheet #1 CAR REGISTRATION AND NUMBER PLATES

*Vehicle Registration and Driver Licencing is the responsibility of the respective Cantonal Traffic Authority (Strassenverkehrsamt or STVA).

*Registered vehicles require 5 components to be driven on the street:
  • A valid Registration certificate issued by the STVA (Fahrzeugausweis)
  • A valid insurance policy obtained from an Insurance Company (Versicherungsnachwies)
  • A set of number plates issued by the STVA
  • Current roadworthiness (MFK - Renewable at invitation of the STVA)
  • Current emission control (Abgas Prüfung - renewable every 2 years)
*Registration is based on calendar year. New or cancelled registration and insurance is payable/refundable pro-rata. If you cancel the registration the number plates MUST be returned to the STVA or registered to your next car.

*When stopped by the police you will be required to produce your Registration certificate along with your drivers licence.

*Be careful when applying for insurance. Best is a 1-year policy, but many agents will try to get you to sign 3,5 even 10 year contracts. A contract can be terminated early if you dispose of the car or the premium goes up.

*The relationship between insurance and numberplates cannot be understated. Never even think of driving a vehicle WITHOUT the correct number plates, or dealer plates (see further down).

*As number plates are the critical feature, you can register two cars under same set of number plates (Wechselschild). However you cannot drive these two cars at the same time. This option is normally taken by people who lets say, drive a work van during the week, and then a normal car on weekends.

*Private and business car number plates (Kontrollschilder) are Canton specific. Each has the Swiss and cantonal shields, the two-letter canton prefix and the numeric registration number.

The front plate is smaller and comes in a single long-format. The rear plate can be ordered in long or squarish format.



*You will often see number plates ending in "-U". These plates are Dealer plates and are normally used for test drives, transporting unregistered cars, etc.

*Motor bikes with yellow number plates are under 50cc and are (supposedly) limited to 45km/h and not to be driven on motorways.

*Other plates of little relevance to most us:
  • Blue plates - Cranes, fire engines, etc - generally vehicles that make a nuisance of themselves
  • Brown plates - Vehicles with special construction or conditions
  • Green plate - Agricultural vehicles - no back plate so that they can drop cow manure everywhere and cause traffic delays without being identified.


*Depending on canton, the numeric value of your number plates can be valuable (ie the lower the number, or the more special the combination of numbers, the more valuable it is). For example, in ZH a numberplate in the 30000 range would be worth more than in Schaffhausen. Some STVAs have links to their own plate auctions.

STVA's can be found here: http://www.strassenverkehrsamt.ch/

Insurance is best compared here: http://www.comparis.ch
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Last edited by litespeed; 17.08.2006 at 15:05.
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Old 17.08.2006, 10:09
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

Thanks for the info. A very fine post. Could I suggest expanding a bit on those 'short term' plates (the one with the sticker in the middle)? I think they give them out to people with Loser-permits. They are very relevant to the folks who frequent EF. I'd be interested in CD plates too...but that is probably overkill.
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Old 17.08.2006, 10:11
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

Nice one litespeed. I just wanted to expand on a couple of points.

1. You *REALLY* need to check your insurance fine print carefully. When I first arrived I signed what I thought was a one year contract (figuring I'd check more carefully the next year, as I was in a hurry). Page one showed a one year term, which was actually what I was paying for. Later in the document I discovered that I'd signed a 5 year contract. It also said that if I sold the car and got another the contract would continue on the new car. I was unable to get out of it, and I was paying about 700 francs a year more than I needed to.

2. People should also be aware that anyone can easily look up your name and address just from your numberplate, often on the internet. This information, as well as the totals of your tax returns are public record and can be accessed by anyone at anytime. See thread called Ironies of Data Protection for more details.
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Old 17.08.2006, 10:30
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

Quote:
Thanks for the info. A very fine post. Could I suggest expanding a bit on those 'short term' plates (the one with the sticker in the middle)? I think they give them out to people with Loser-permits. They are very relevant to the folks who frequent EF. I'd be interested in CD plates too...but that is probably overkill.
if you import your car, you get plates with a number in the middle (when the plate expires, it's the month) and a Z at the end.

It's a personal import thing
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Old 17.08.2006, 10:31
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

don't forget (like I did once) that the ABGAS is your responsibility and you should not expect a letter telling you to get it done. Like I did once and let it run out by about 6 months!
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Old 17.08.2006, 10:32
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

Quote:
Thanks for the info. A very fine post. Could I suggest expanding a bit on those 'short term' plates (the one with the sticker in the middle)? I think they give them out to people with Loser-permits. They are very relevant to the folks who frequent EF. I'd be interested in CD plates too...but that is probably overkill.
I think you can still register a car with an L-permit - it should make no difference. But if you are here on holiday and want to buy a car to travel around forget it - no permit - no car.
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Old 17.08.2006, 10:42
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

I am not too sure about the short-term plates, I think they relate more to import/export vehicles. I also haven't seen many of the -Z suffix plates anymore, I think they have been phased out along with the P-prefix for postal and SBB vehicles.

And the winner for the worst STVA website izzzzz....GLARUS!!!!!

Although their number plates are cheap. A 3-number plate will cost you currently between 2500chf (GL 145) and 2000chf (GL 921).
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Old 17.08.2006, 10:44
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

When I bought a car, I tried to verify with the dealer what papers to carry:
1. He said that not everybody carries the Fahrzeugausweis
2. Abgas and Drivers license must be in car/on person and the originals
3. Not everyone carries insurance papers with them, but police can check back through the number plate.

I'm not keen on having to carry all my papers, don't want to make it too easy for thieves.

Does everyone here comply with these rules to the letter, or do some carry photocopies of Fahrzeugausweis and insurance docs?

Personally, I just have a copy of my Fahrzeugausweis in the car but the rest are originals.
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Old 17.08.2006, 10:47
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

Quote:
Although their number plates are cheap. A 3-number plate will cost you currently between 2500chf (GL 145) and 2000chf (GL 921).
In many countries you pay extra to have a word, different colour or some other fancy feature. But the Swiss will be willing to pay a fortune (or camp out all night outside the registry office) for a "low numbers"...
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Old 17.08.2006, 10:53
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

I've been stopped twice and asked for the registration papers. Don't know if copies suffice.
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Old 17.08.2006, 10:59
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

Quote:
In many countries you pay extra to have a word, different colour or some other fancy feature. But the Swiss will be willing to pay a fortune (or camp out all night outside the registry office) for a "low numbers"...
Yeah, but I still think the value of plates here are tame compared to New South Wales. The value of the single-digit plates there has reached over 100'000AUD.

I still have my NSW personalised plates in storage xx - 0000 for my car and xx-00 for my motorbike. I should try selling them.

I am wondering what ZH will be doing when they pass ZH 999 999.
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Old 17.08.2006, 11:03
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

Quote:
Yeah, but I still think the value of plates here are tame compared to New South Wales. The value of the single-digit plates there has reached over 100'000AUD.

I still have my NSW personalised plates in storage xx - 0000 for my car and xx-00 for my motorbike. I should try selling them.

I am wondering what ZH will be doing when they pass ZH 999 999.
You can't compare plate values in New South Wales to Switzerland - why not? Number plates like "Sexy" will always fetch high values, even when there are numbers involved you can still choose the letters, colours, plate style etc. I'm sure if the Swiss had a little bit more choice with respect to their plates they would pay higher prices.

What to do when they hit 999999? They'll probably ban further car registrations, or maybe split the canton in half
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Old 17.08.2006, 11:04
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

When I was recently stopped for speeding, I played innocent and said that I'd just had the bike serviced and had taken the ausweiss out. I now carry a copy; sod the original being in the car or on the bike

I carry driving licence all the time. Abgas on the car is the disc; who cares?

And if I don't have insurance, I don't have plates
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Old 17.08.2006, 11:13
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

That's my thinking as well.

I chatted with the guys around my desk at work, but we came to the conclusion that copies/originals depends on who stops you, your permit and your nationality...
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Old 17.08.2006, 11:13
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

Quote:
When I was recently stopped for speeding, I played innocent and said that I'd just had the bike serviced and had taken the ausweiss out. I now carry a copy; sod the original being in the car or on the bike

I carry driving licence all the time. Abgas on the car is the disc; who cares?

And if I don't have insurance, I don't have plates

You still need the Abgas papers - the disc is only there to make it easy for the cop to see if it's definitely out of date. Any time I've been stopped, I've had to produce the actual papers.

The brown registration document - not sure if it's essential. I got stopped once in Kanton Graubunden on my way to do some skiing and couldn't find it. The police were going to call back to base to check the details were valid but luckily it turned up, tucked inside some other papers in my glovebox.

Mind you, it's possible that I would have got a fine had I not have eventually found it. Actually - now I think of it, it's the sort of thing that's sure to attract a fine of some sort.

It's strange how after a period of time living here, you get a sort of sixth sense for petty things that are likely to get you fined....


Gav
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Old 17.08.2006, 11:15
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

I believe it's 20 francs for no Ausweiss - car or driving licence.
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Old 17.08.2006, 11:21
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

Yep - as Lob says 20 francs.

http://www.admin.ch/ch/d/sr/741_031/app1.html (German only)

Check the top section (100) pretty much everything we've talked about is illegal, though not expensive. I would guess that a copy would NOT be acceptable, but most cops would accept it, depending on whether they want to be nasty to you or not.
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Old 17.08.2006, 11:28
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

Quote:
You can't compare plate values in New South Wales to Switzerland - why not? Number plates like "Sexy" will always fetch high values, even when there are numbers involved you can still choose the letters, colours, plate style etc. I'm sure if the Swiss had a little bit more choice with respect to their plates they would pay higher prices.

I was comparing only the NSW numeric plates.
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Old 17.08.2006, 12:03
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

Quote:
*As number plates are the critical feature, you can register two cars under same set of number plates (Wechselschild). However you cannot drive these two cars at the same time. This option is normally taken by people who lets say, drive a work van during the week, and then a normal car on weekends.
Driving 2 cars on one set of plates also significantly reduces your insurance costs. When we did this we paid full insurance on the most expensive car; the second car cost CHF50 to insure for the year.

Great feature Litespeed, I look forward to the rest of the series.
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Old 17.08.2006, 12:18
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Re: Fact Sheet #1 - Car Registration and Number Plates

Quote:
Driving 2 cars on one set of plates also significantly reduces your insurance costs. When we did this we paid full insurance on the most expensive car; the second car cost CHF50 to insure for the year.

Great feature Litespeed, I look forward to the rest of the series.
Correction: With Wechselschildern, you pay the road tax for the more expensive car (larger motor) and 50 francs for the paperwork associated with the second car.

Insurance: you pay full insurance on vehicle 1 plus the 3rd party on the second one.
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