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What is a written-off car?

Car accidents can result in various degrees of damage, and in some cases, the damage is so extensive that the vehicle is deemed a “write-off.” . In this guide, we’ll go into the factors that influence car write-offs, the different categories of write-offs, and what the best options are after your car is written off.

Factors Influencing Car Write-Offs

Severity of Damage

When a car is involved in an accident, the extent of the damage plays a significant role in determining whether it will be written off. Severe structural damage, damage to critical components, or damage that compromises safety systems can lead to a write-off classification.

Repair Costs vs. Car Value

Insurance companies assess the cost of repairs relative to the market value of the vehicle. If the repair costs exceed a certain percentage of the car’s value, it may be declared a write-off. For instance, if repairs would cost 70% of the car’s value, it’s often more cost-effective to write off the car and provide a payout.

What is a write-off car?

A write-off refers to the classification of a vehicle as unrepairable or uneconomical to fix after an accident or damage, leading to it being declared as beyond repair by an insurance company.

Categories of Car Write-Offs

Statutory Write-Off

A statutory write-off refers to a vehicle that is so extensively damaged that it’s considered unsafe for road use. These vehicles are typically prohibited from being driven again, even if repaired. Write-off laws vary by jurisdiction, but in NSW these cars are only allowed to be sold for parts or scrap at a wrecker.

Repairable Write-Off

A repairable write-off is a vehicle that has sustained significant damage but can be repaired and brought back to a roadworthy condition. The repairs must be carried out according to specific government regulations, and the car must pass safety inspections before it can be driven again. This is not allowed in NSW as all written off vehicles cannot be re-registered.

Steps to Take After a Car Write-Off

1. Contacting Your Insurance Company

As soon as your car is declared a write-off, contact your insurance company to begin the claims process. They will guide you through the necessary steps and documentation required.

2. Understanding Payouts

Insurance payouts for write-offs are determined based on factors such as the car’s pre-accident value, the cost of repairs, and your policy coverage. Your insurance company can provide you with more  details.

3. Disposing of the Written-Off Car

If your car is deemed a write-off, you’ll need to dispose of it properly if your insurance company does not claim it. Options include selling it to a car wrecker, participating in an insurance auction, or selling individual parts.

4. Get a refund on the registration 

In NSW once your car has been written off you can head to Service NSW to cancel your registration to get a refund on the remaining duration of your registration.

What If I Don’t Have Car Insurance?

If you don’t have car insurance, the best option is to sell your written off car to a wrecker in NSW. You’ll be able to get the car removed for free and extra cash for your vehicle depending on its condition. You may also consider selling individual parts privately but this is often a hassle and it is generally much easier to sell your written off car to a wrecker in one simple transaction.

Preventing Car Write-Offs

Regular Maintenance and Inspections

Routine maintenance and regular inspections can help identify and address issues before they become severe, reducing the risk of accidents and extensive damage.

Safe Driving Habits

Practicing safe driving habits such as obeying traffic rules, avoiding distractions, and maintaining a safe following distance can significantly reduce the likelihood of accidents.


Is my car a write-off after an accident?

After an accident, the insurance company assesses the damage by sending a qualified assessor. Factors considered include the availability and cost of spare parts, the vehicle’s age, and safety concerns related to structural damage. If repair costs reach around 50% to 70% of the vehicle’s total value, it’s usually declared a statutory write-off.

What happens if my car is classified as a write-off?

Once classified as a write-off, the insurer provides a payout to the owner, accounting for any applicable excess fees. The specifics of the payout depend on the terms of your insurance policy. The insurer typically retains possession of the written-off vehicle for auction or sale to a cash for cars company.

Can I repair my written-off car?
In NSW, once your vehicle is listed in the Written-Off Vehicles Register (WOVW), it cannot be legally repaired or re-registered, except under exceptional circumstances. Even if your car is not covered by insurance, it is advised not to repair it for safety and financial reasons.


Understanding the concept of car write-offs and the associated processes is essential for all car owners. By being informed about the factors that influence write-offs, the different categories, steps to take after an incident, and preventative measures, you can make informed decisions and ensure you’re prepared in case of an unfortunate event.

If your car has been written off can you need a service to remove your car and pay you cash for your car contact us today!

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