Re-registering a written-off light vehicle

You can only get approval to repair and re-register a written-off vehicle in very limited circumstances. Find out if you're eligible and what to do.

Which vehicles can be re-registered

Transport for NSW will only consider an application to repair and re-register a written-off light vehicle in limited circumstances. To be considered, the vehicle must:

Do not begin any repairs without authorisation from Transport for NSW.

Non-repairable damage

Non-repairable damage is damage that's so severe that it’s not safe to attempt repairs.

Insurers determine whether damage is non-repairable. They assess structural damage to 3 or more of the areas listed:

  • roof
  • a pillar
  • firewall
  • longitudinal structural rails
  • floorpan
  • suspension components
  • mechanical components (eg the engine block, transmission case, differential housing and/or the axle housing)
  • excessive fire, stripping, water or structural damage
  • any or all the activation or deployment of supplementary restraints (eg airbags and/or seatbelts).

Vehicles with non-repairable damage cannot be re-registered.

Write-off assessment criteria

For light vehicles other than motorcycles or light trailers, statutory write-off assessment criteria references the Damage Assessment Criteria for the Classification of Light Vehicle Statutory Write-Offs published by Austroads.

For motorcycles and light trailers, the statutory write-off assessment criteria are:

  • burnt to such an extent that it is fit only for wrecking or scrap
  • stripped of all, or a combination of most, interior and exterior body parts, panels and components (examples of which for motorcycles are the engine, wheel and guards)
  • impact damage (excluding scratching) to the suspension and one or more areas of structural frame damage
  • fully immersed in salt water for any period (other than skeleton-type trailer or box trailer)
  • fully immersed in fresh water for more than 48 hours (other than skeleton-type trailer or box trailer).

Exempt categories

Transport will only consider applications to repair and re-register written-off light vehicles if they fit one of the exempt vehicle categories:

  • hail damaged, where you were the registered operator immediately before the vehicle was hail damaged (contact your insurer)
  • inherited in a will or letters of administration
  • registered in your name for more than 28 days before the damage that caused it to be written-off.

Applying for authorisation to repair

As well as fitting one of the exempt categories, your vehicle must not have any non-reparable damage to be eligible to apply for authorisation to repair.

You need to provide:

You must mail your application to Transport. Address details are in the form.

If authorisation to repair is granted

If your application is approved:

  1. Transport will mail you an ‘Authorisation to Repair’.
  2. Contact a NSW Fair Trading licensed repairer for advice and guidance before starting repairs.
  3. Your vehicle must be repaired to the manufacturer’s guidelines or recognised industry standards.

Certification for repairs

Once repairs are complete, you need a Certificate of Compliance declaring the vehicle has been repaired to the required standards. If the work was done by a repairer, they will give you a certificate.

If you do the repairs yourself, a licensed repairer must certify your repairs. You may need to:

  • present the vehicle for inspections during the repair process
  • keep a repair diary of the repair process, photograph the damaged areas before and after repair
  • keep copies of the relevant standards used for the repairs.

Keep all information to do with the repair process, including invoices and receipts for parts, to support your application for registration.

If your vehicle is successfully repaired and re-registered, it will be noted on the Certificate of Registration that the vehicle has been written-off.

What to do once repairs are completed

Once all the repairs are completed and certified, there are 3 steps you need to take to re-register the vehicle:

Step 1 – Authorised Unregistered Vehicle Inspection Scheme (AUVIS) inspection

You’ll need to have the vehicle inspected at an Authorised Unregistered Vehicle Inspection Station to get an identity and safety check.

Step 2 – Vehicle Identity Inspection Unit (VIIU) inspection

Following the AUVIS inspection, the vehicle must then be inspected by the Transport for NSW Vehicle Identification Inspection Unit (VIIU).

You can make a booking with the VIIU at any service centre and pay the inspection fee.

You’ll need to bring all the documents related to the vehicle repairs, including:

  • Certificate of Compliance issued by a licensed repairer
  • third-party certifications, for example, for air bag repairs or structural certification
  • identity and safety check from an Authorised Unregistered Vehicle Inspection Station
  • completed Application for Registration form
  • CTP insurance.

For vehicles in Sydney, Newcastle or Wollongong

Service centre staff will accept your payment, book your VIIU inspection, then give your documents back to you. You need to take your documents to the VIIU inspection.

For vehicles outside Sydney, Newcastle or Wollongong

Service centre staff will accept your payment and make copies of your documents. The Vehicle Identification Inspection Unit will contact you at a later date to book your VIIU inspection.

Or, if your vehicle is outside the Sydney, Newcastle or Wollongong areas, you can make your booking by posting copies of your documents to:

Transport for NSW Vehicle Identification Inspection Unit
PO Box 646
Botany NSW 1455

Step 3 – Apply for registration

You can apply for re-registration by visiting a service centre (or sending a representative).

You’ll need to bring all the documents related to the vehicle repairs, AUVIS and VIIU inspections, including:

Organisations

If you’re registering the vehicle in the name of an organisation, you’ll need to complete the 'Representative’s Authority' section on the Application for Registration form.

Sending a representative

If you send someone else to register the vehicle in your name, you’ll need to complete the 'Representative’s Authority' section on the Application for Registration form or provide a letter of authority. Your representative must also provide their own proof of identity.

If you haven't held a NSW licence or registration before, you won't have a record in Transport for NSW’s system. In this case, you cannot send a representative – you must come in person.

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