Write-off a vehicle

Find out about the Written-Off Vehicle Register and how to re-license a repairable written-off vehicle.

  Notification of a written-off vehicle

An assessor 1 must notify the national Written-Off Vehicle Register (WOVR) of all written-off vehicles if:

  • It is a motor vehicle, motorcycle, trailer or semi trailer.
  • In the case of a motor vehicle, trailer or semi trailer, the vehicle's MRC 2 does not exceed 4,500 kg.
  • It was manufactured within the period of 15 years ending on the day on which the damage occurred (if known) or otherwise on the day on which the vehicle was written off.

1 An assessor may be an insurance company, insurance assessor or motor vehicle dealer (including wreckers, hire car companies and auction houses).

2 MRC means Mass Rating Charging and is the vehicles GVM, ATM or equivalent.

Information for assessors

The Written-Off Vehicle Notification Form (Form WOVR1) for assessors to notify DoT Vehicle services of written off vehicles is available below.

Written-off vehicle classification

Western Australia has adopted Australia's national framework for the management of Written-Off Vehicles (WOVs). That is any vehicle that has been determined to be a total loss by an assessor as a result of:

  • Damage induced by a collision, fire, water inundation, other weather event, malicious action, or
  • Dismantling or stripping.

These vehicles must be classified to be either a Statutory Write-Off (SWO) or Repairable Write-Off (RWO).

A SWO may only be sold subject to a statutory restriction that it may only be used for parts or scrap metal.

A RWO may be repaired and re-registered subject to the vehicle passing specific safety and vehicle identification inspections.

Labelling of statutory written-off vehicles

To assist in the identification of SWO vehicles, a written-off label (see sample below) will be attached securely to the vehicle in a conspicuous position, close to the vehicle identifier.

The ideal place for a notice on a motor vehicle, other than a motorcycle, will usually be the driver's front door or the windscreen. It is an offence to remove or deface (damage) a written-off vehicle label affixed to a SWO vehicle.

Warning label (sample)

Statutory written-off vehicle warning label (sample)

Defacing vehicle identifier

In addition to attaching a written-off label, a SWO vehicle must also have the vehicle's identifier defaced. This serves as an additional warning to consumers that the vehicle is a SWO and may not be re-licensed (re-registered).

  Repairable written-off vehicles

A vehicle is classed as a repairable write-off when:

  • A water damaged vehicle that is not a statutory write off.
  • The vehicle has been assessed as uneconomical to repair by the assessor.
  • The vehicle's VIN is recorded as a repairable write-off, or
  • The vehicle may be repaired but is subject to passing a vehicle safety and vehicle identity check before it can be licensed in Western Australia.

Find out how to get a repairable written-off vehicle re-licensed.

  Statutory written-off vehicles (never to be re-licensed)

Statutory written-off vehicles Image
Statutory written-off vehicles Image

Statutory write-offs (SWO) are damaged vehicles that are deemed unsuitable for repair, as the damage is too severe. These vehicles are known targets of car thieves because they can be purchased at low cost and used for re-birthing.

The Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) of these vehicles will be recorded as a SWO.

Some key aspects of these notifiable vehicles are:

  • A notifiable vehicle is a statutory write-off if.
    • It has been stripped of all or most of its interior and exterior body parts, panels and other components.
    • It is burnt to such an extent that it is fit only for wrecking or scrap.
    • The internal cabin of a vehicle is inundated with any water (fresh, brackish or salt) above the door sill level such that the internal cabin water level rises above the level of the inner door sill for any period.
  • A notifiable motorcycle, trailer or semi trailer is a statutory write-off if it has sustained.
    • Impact damage, (except scratching) to its suspension.
    • Structural damage to its frame in two (2) or more places.
  • A notifiable motorcycle is a statutory write-off if it has been fully immersed in salt water for any period, or fully immersed in fresh water for more than 48 hours.

Statutory written-off vehicles may never be licensed in Western Australia.

A vehicle determined to be a total loss must be assessed against the criteria set out in the Technical Guide developed by the National Motor Vehicle Theft Reduction Council (Car Safe) to determine its classification.

The Technical Guide and other information on the development of the criteria and related in-field testing can be found on the publications page of the Car Safe website below.

There are eleven (11) categories of potential damage that each vehicle must be assessed against, comprising:

  • Three forms of specific Event Related Criteria (fire, water and vehicle stripping). If the vehicle meets any of these criteria, it must be classified as a SWO, and
  • Eight separate areas of potential structural damage to be reviewed. If the vehicle is assessed to have sustained damage to any three of the identified structural areas and/or supplementary restraints it must be deemed to be a SWO, e.g. two structural areas and supplementary restraints or three structural areas. Each different and separate area of damage to the pillars, floor pan, longitudinal rails or independent suspension mounts must all be counted separately towards meeting the Three count threshold for SWO status.

The criteria have been developed to err on the side of caution in terms of safety to ensure that vehicles that have sustained significant damage are consistently identified and appropriately classified as suitable only for dismantling or processing as scrap.

Opens in a new window Car Safe

  Written-Off Vehicle Register (WOVR)

The national Written-Off Vehicle Register (WOVR) has been developed to reduce the problem of re-birthing stolen vehicles.

The register records the written-off vehicle's identifiers and specific information about the damage to the vehicle. The WOVR records whether the vehicle is a:

  • Statutory write-off: These vehicles cannot be re-licensed.
  • Repairable write-off: These vehicles may be repaired, inspected and then re-licensed.

Once a vehicle has been notified as a write-off, the licence will be cancelled and the number plates must be returned within 28 days.

For all enquiries about written-off vehicles call the Department of Transport on 13 11 56.

Written-off heavy vehicles

New South Wales (NSW) is the only state to introduce a heavy vehicle Written-Off Vehicle Register (WOVR) which has been operational since December 2018.

On 26 February 2022 Western Australia (WA) amended WA road law to allow for the recognition of heavy vehicles that are recorded on the NSW heavy vehicle WOVR.

If a heavy vehicle is recorded on the NSW heavy vehicle WOVR and an owner needs to update information concerning the heavy vehicle they must contact Transport for NSW.

On 15 August 2022 NSW amended legislation in relation to written off vehicles to introduce a definition of a ‘light truck’ and other changes to NSW WOVR arrangements.

WA does not recognise NSW’s definition of a ‘light truck’ in WA road law, only a light or heavy vehicle.

Further information on NSW’s changes can be found on the Transport for NSW website.

Transport for NSW

  Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR)

Man driving a car
Man driving a car

To find out if your vehicle is listed on the Written-Off Vehicle Register or if the car you are buying has money owing on, or has been listed as stolen, check out PPSR online or call 1300 007 777.

To make a PPSR enquiry, you need to provide the chassis or Vehicle Identification Number (VIN). A search cannot be done by plate or engine number.

PPSR can tell you whether a vehicle, boat or farm machinery has money owing on it (encumbered) before making a purchase. This is important because a third party (e.g. a bank or finance company) may be able to repossess the vehicle you have purchased.

Personal Property Securities Register (PPSR)

  Reporting an incident

Timely reporting of incidents from the community may represent vital information to identify weaknesses in the bicycle network and enable future improvement.

The driver of a vehicle and/or rider of a bicycle must report a traffic crash to the Police when the incident has occurred on a road or any place commonly used by the public (e.g. car parks) and the:

  • Incident resulted in bodily harm to any person.
  • Total value of property damaged to all involved parties exceeds $3,000.
  • Owner or representative of any damaged property is not present.

Your Motor Injury Insurance Policy is printed on the back of your vehicle registration (“rego”) and is paid for when a vehicle is registered with the Department of Transport. Two insurance products make up the motor injury insurance policy: Compulsory Third Party (CTP) and Catastrophic Injuries Support (CIS).

The CTP policy covers the driver or owner of a vehicle for injuries they cause to others in a motor vehicle crash anywhere in Australia and the CIS policy covers a person for a catastrophic injury caused in a motor vehicle crash.

The Insurance Commission of Western Australia states that: “For cyclists, compensation is paid only if the driver of a Western Australian vehicle is fully or partly at fault in a motor vehicle accident with the cyclist.” (2014 Press Release Archive: ICWA).

The rider of a bicycle involved in a crash with a motor vehicle can report the incident through the Online Crash Reporting Facility (see link below).

Currently there is no online reporting facility available that enables incidents not involving a motor vehicle(s) to be reported. DoT is in the process of investigating the development of an Online Cycling Incident Reporting Facility that could capture these types of incidents. In the meantime, DoT encourages people to report such incidents directly to WA Police, especially if deemed mandatory due the nature of the incident.

Crash Report: online crash reporting facility
2014 Press Release Archive: ICWA

  Vehicle inspection related links

Page last updated: Fri Sep 23 2022 10:14:41 AM