Beware of buying Written-Off Vehicles

You need to exercise caution when dealing with written-off vehicles for 2 reasons.

  • You don't know the extent of the damage and you could be facing a significant repair bill down the line.
  • The write off record will continue to be on the vehicle for the rest of its life, so if you choose to sell the vehicle later you may have to sell for a lower price.

Important: New rule for Written-off vehicles in NSW

RTA states that "The new rule changes meant that all NSW light vehicles written-off after 31 January 2011 cannot be registered and can only be used for parts or scrap metal, except in limited circumstances."

What is a Write-off mean?

A vehicle is declared written-off by the insurer or auto-dismantler when the vehicle is deemed unsuitable for repair. Often these vehicles are advertised for a very attractive price and sold to unsuspecting buyers.
There are 2 types of write-offs.

  • Statutory Write Off
    • Extensive Damage
    • Can only be used for scrap or parts
    • Cannot be re-registered anywhere in Australia

  • Repairable write-off
    • Major Damage
    • Cannot be re-registered in NSW (from Jan 2011)
    • Can be registered after passing inspection in other states

How do I find out what was damaged?

Unfortunately the report does not specify the extent of the damage. Please bear in mind that a written-off occurs when there is a significant damage to the vehicle and NOT for minor things such as panel scratches, dents or carpet getting wet due to floods etc.

What is Collision mean?

This means the vehicle was involved in a major accident.

What is Storm, Flood Other Write-off means?

This means the vehicle suffered a Water or Hail damage. Other write-off means different things in different jurisdictions. Please contact RTA or relevant department in your jurisdiction.

What is Inspected mean?

Since the damage, the vehicle has been repaired and passed inspection for road-worthiness. These vehicles can be re-registered again.

How do I go about buying vehicle with Written-Off records?

Exercise caution. A competent mechanical inspection is essential to check the condition & safety of the vehicle.