Written-off heavy vehicles

The NSW Government has launched a Written-Off Heavy Vehicles Register to improve road safety and reduce the incidence of heavy vehicle theft, re-birthing and related crime.

What is a written-off heavy vehicle?

If your heavy vehicle is assessed as a ‘total loss’ it must be written-off. A vehicle is a ‘total loss’ when the cost of repairs plus its value as a damaged vehicle (its salvage value) is higher than its market value.

A written-off heavy vehicle must be classified and recorded on the register as either a ‘statutory’ or a 'repairable’ write-off.

What is a ‘statutory’ write off?

Heavy vehicles that are assessed as a total loss and have sustained non–repairable damage will be classified as statutory write-offs and will be unable to be repaired or re-registered in NSW.

The vehicle can still be bought and sold, but only used for spare parts and scrap metal. These vehicles also have their Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) or Chassis Number permanently cancelled.

What is a ‘repairable’ write off?

If your vehicle is categorised as a ‘repairable’ write-off, it is a total loss but is less damaged than a statutory write-off and can be repaired to manufacturer or industry standards, then certified and re-registered.

Why establish a Written-Off Heavy Vehicles Register?

The register aims to improve road safety and reduce the incidence of heavy vehicle theft, re-birthing and related crime.

What vehicles are included in the Register?

The Register will apply to heavy vehicles over 4.5 tonnes Gross Vehicle Mass including trucks, prime movers, trailers and buses. Roads and Maritime will maintain the Register.

Who is responsible for notifying the Register?

Vehicle insurers, self-insurers, recyclers and dealers each have a responsibility to update the Register.

How can I notify the Register?

There are two options for using the Register.

  1. You can submit a Written-Off Heavy Vehicles Register Notification form for a single heavy vehicle or;
  2. Apply for access to an online platform if you use the Register regularly.

Please note you can only use the Register to record heavy vehicles written-off from 3 December 2018.

What happens if my heavy vehicle is written-off?

The vehicles registration will be cancelled and it will be recorded on the Register. You’ll be notified of this in writing.

The Register and new laws require heavy vehicle damage assessors to have relevant qualifications, or be acting on the advice of a person with those qualifications.

A qualified assessor will use damage assessment criteria prescribed under NSW law to determine if your heavy vehicle should be classified as a ‘repairable’ or ‘statutory’ write-off. 

If your vehicle is assessed as a statutory write-off and notified to the register it cannot be re-registered and can only be used for scrap metal or dismantled for spare parts. 

If your written-off heavy vehicle can be safely repaired, it may be repaired and certified by a licensed repairer who will issue a Heavy Vehicle Certificate of Compliance.

How should the heavy vehicle be assessed?

Heavy vehicle damage must be assessed by a person who is qualified to do the job.

Assessors are usually contracted by an insurer. To be a qualified assessor you must have:

  • successfully completed an approved course
  • demonstrated ability to determine whether or not a vehicle has suffered non repairable damage
  • demonstrated ability to apply the relevant technical specifications and written-off heavy vehicles policies and procedures published on the Roads and Maritime website.

Assessors must:

  1. Notify the Written-off Heavy Vehicles Register within seven days of assessment as a write-off before it’s sold or disposed of.
  2. Issue a vehicle damage assessment on request by the vehicle operator or Roads and Maritime.
  3. If the heavy vehicle is assessed as a write-off, attach a written-off warning label in a visible place to show that the vehicle cannot be re-registered until it is repaired and certified (repairable write-off) or is suitable only for spare parts or scrap metal (statutory write-off). On a dismantled vehicle, attach the label to the part with the Vehicle Identification Number (VIN) on it.
Example – statutory write-off warning label, attached to written off  heavy vehicles
Example – statutory write-off warning label, attached to written off heavy vehicles
Example – repairable write-off warning label, attached to written off  heavy vehicles
Example – repairable write-off warning label, attached to written off heavy vehicles

Note: Keep documents from a damage assessment for seven years regardless of whether the heavy vehicle is actually written-off or not.

Re-registering a written-off heavy vehicle

Roads and Maritime can only re-register a written-off heavy vehicle when it has been assessed as ‘repairable’ and has been repaired by a suitably licensed repairer who will issue a Heavy Vehicle Certificate of Compliance.

The Heavy Vehicle Certificate of Compliance contains a declaration that repairs have been done according to the manufacturer’s repair guidelines or according to standards accepted by industry.

Once all your repairs are completed and certified, you’ll need to have the vehicle inspected at a Roads and Maritime Authorised Unregistered Vehicle Inspection Station.

Once your vehicle has met Roads and Maritime inspection requirements, you’ll need to bring all the documentation related to the vehicle repairs to the registry or service centre, including:

Roads and Maritime recommends that you keep all information to do with the repair process, including invoices and receipts for parts.

Written-off light vehicles

If your light vehicle (car, motorcycle, trailer or caravan) has been so badly damaged that it’s not safe or economical to repair, it will be written-off and the registration cancelled.

More about written-off light vehicles.


If you have a heavy vehicle registered for business use and do not have an insurance policy covering its loss or damage, you are known under the new system as a ‘self-insurer’. If you choose to have your damaged heavy vehicle assessed, you will be responsible for having it properly assessed and notifying the Register. If you choose to dispose of the vehicle to a motor vehicle recycler, you are also responsible for notifying the Register.

Insurers, dealers and auto dismantlers

Insurers, self-insurers, heavy vehicle recyclers, heavy vehicle dealers and damage assessors need to assess and classify written-off heavy vehicles using new damage criteria.

If you fail to meet your responsibilities under the legislation you will face penalties, including fines of up to $110,000.

Licensed repairers

Only suitably licensed repairers may repair and certify repairable written-off heavy vehicles.

A suitably licensed repairer is a person who holds a motor vehicle repairer’s licence issued by NSW Fair Trading (or corresponding interstate agency), and their repairer’s licence class authorises them to repair the vehicle and damage type.

Certificates of Compliance:

Interstate licenced repairers must also hold, or employ a person who holds, the relevant qualifications set out in clause 36 of the Motor Dealers and Repairers Regulation 2014 for the classes of repair work set out in clause 34 of that regulation. For more on information visit www.fairtrading.nsw.gov.au


Road Transport Act 2013 and the Road Transport (Vehicle Registration) Regulation 2017.

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