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Written-off vehicle register

What is the written-off vehicle register?

The written-off vehicle register records the details of vehicles that are not more than 16 years old that have been classified as written-off or 'wrecked' or are dismantled for parts or scrap metal.

Most vehicles stolen by professional thieves have a high value and are never recovered as they are either stripped for parts and the bodies dumped or they are 're-birthed' under new identities. The written-off vehicle register minimises the opportunities for illegal use of a vehicle's identifiers in the re-birthing of stolen vehicles.

What does the written-off vehicle register do?

The written-off vehicle register records information about written-off vehicles that are not more than 16 years old, including:

  • motor vehicles with a gross vehicle mass up to and including 4.5t
  • trailers with an aggregate trailer mass of 4.5t and over
  • motorcycles
  • caravans.

Written-off vehicle classifications

Written-off vehicles are classified either as a statutory or repairable write-off.

Statutory write-off

A statutory write-off is too badly damaged to be repaired to a standard that is safe for road use. The vehicle identification number (VIN) is recorded as a statutory write-off, and the vehicle is not allowed to be registered. These vehicles are only suitable for use as parts or scrap metal.

A repairable write-off

A repairable write-off has been assessed as uneconomical to repair. The VIN will be recorded as a repairable write-off and the vehicle will only be registered if it is repaired, passes a Queensland safety inspection and passes a written-off vehicle inspection.

Read detailed definitions of statutory and repairable written-off vehicles.

How do I know if the vehicle is currently written-off?

You can purchase a search certificate by doing a check on the Personal Property Securities (PPS) Register. This search certificate outlines if the vehicle is currently encumbered, written-off or stolen.

What are my obligations?

Businesses that assess, buy, sell or repair written-off vehicles are required by law to notify the department.

Auction houses and motor dealers selling second-hand vehicles with a written-off classification need to notify buyers of the status. The vehicle must have a label stuck to it, which states whether it is a statutory or repairable write-off.

Individuals are required by law to notify the department if their vehicle is written-off or is being dismantled and the department hasn't already been notified by an insurance company or another notifier.

Who makes entries to the written-off vehicle register?

Organisations that work with written-off vehicles are required to notify the department when a vehicle is written-off or dismantled for parts or scrap metal.

The majority of information supplied to the written-off vehicle register will come from insurance companies. If you fall in to 1 of the categories below you will need to become a written-off vehicle notifier:

  • insurance companies
  • auction houses that take possession of a written-off vehicle not currently recorded on the register
  • motor dealers that take possession of a written-off vehicle not currently recorded on the register
  • auto-part dismantlers taking possession of a written-off vehicle or dismantling a vehicle not currently recorded on the register
  • loss assessors, assessing a vehicle for someone other than an insurer.

Can an entry on the written-off vehicle register be changed?

Only the person or company who originally recorded the entry in the register can apply to change it and the types of changes allowed are very limited—for example updating typing errors.

How do I become a written-off vehicle notifier?

Businesses, like those mentioned above, that deal regularly with written-off vehicles will need to complete the written-off vehicle notifier registration/amendment application form (F4058) and submit the completed application by post to:

Vehicle Identification Unit
Floor 4, Terrica Place
GPO Box 1412
Brisbane Qld 4001

What to do if it's a one-off case

Individuals and businesses that don't normally handle written-off vehicles but take possession of a vehicle that isn't recorded on the register will need to inform the Department of Transport and Main Roads. To do this, you must complete and lodge a written-off vehicle notification (motor vehicle and motorcycle – individual) form (F4069) with the Department of Transport and Main Roads. This will cancel the vehicle's registration.

If the vehicle is a repairable write-off and the owner wants to have it registered, a written-off vehicle inspection must be undertaken.

Last updated
14 March 2014