Written-off vehicles

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

It is against the law to drive a written-off vehicle on the road unless it is a repairable write-off that is currently registered or has been issued with an unregistered vehicle permit or displaying a trade plate and the purpose for it being driven is for repairs or an inspection prior to registration.

Under no circumstances can a statutory write-off be driven on roads.

Repairable write-off

A vehicle considered a repairable write-off if:

  • it is written-off, but is not to be a statutory write-off
  • the cost of the repairs will exceed the insured value of the vehicle
  • it is declared a write-off by an insurer or owner following accidental damage.

Statutory write-off

A vehicle is considered a statutory write-off if it:

  • has severe structural or other damage or deterioration that prevents it from being driven safely on a road.meets the criteria as specified in the document entitled Damage Assessment Criteria for the Classification of Statutory Write-offs - (18.3 MB PDF) published by Austroads Ltd in July 2011
  • is a motor bike, caravan or trailer that is burnt to such an extent that it is fit only for
    • wrecking or scrap
    • is stripped of all, or most of:
      • interior and exterior body parts
      • panels and components
      • wheels
      • guards
      • body
      • chassis components or assemblies
  • is a motor bike that has:
    • been fully immersed in salt water
    • been fully immersed in fresh water for more than 48 hours
    • impact damage (excluding scratching) to the suspension
    • at least 2 areas of structural frame damage.

Presenting a written-off vehicle for inspection

When presenting a repaired or rebuilt written-off vehicle for inspection, you must supply:

  • proof of identity of the person presenting the vehicle for inspection to the authorised officer
  • proof of previous registration in Australia if available
  • unless delivered by tow truck the vehicle must have some form of current registration, such as:
    • 'unregistered vehicle permit'
    • 'trade plate' where the plate owner has a financial interest in the vehicle
  • inspection payment receipt
  • the repaired written-off vehicle
  • required Repair Diary fact sheet MR1547 - (577.8 KB PDF).

Additional requirements may include having a MR1419 Supplementary Restraint System Report (138.1 KB PDF) completed by an accredited agent.

Booking a vehicle inspection

Any vehicle recorded as an economic/repairable write-off must pass an inspection to confirm the identity of the vehicle and a separate road safety inspection, prior to being re-registered.

  • The purpose of the first (identity) inspection is to confirm the particulars of the vehicle (VIN/Chassis Number, Compliance plate and engine number) and determine whether it may be stolen, re-birthed or repaired, using parts from a stolen vehicle.
  • The purpose of the road safety inspection is to determine if the vehicle meets standards for registration in South Australia and the quality of the repairs meet statutory requirements. The road safety inspection cannot be booked until the vehicle has passed the identity inspection.

Inspection fees apply for both inspections. The cost will depend on the type of the vehicle.

Phone 13 10 84 to make a vehicle inspection booking (payments can be made by MasterCard or Visa) or contact Service SA for further information.

If you live within a 100 kilometre radius of the Adelaide GPO, the identity inspection must be at:

Vehicle Identity Assessment Station
7 Naweena Road
Regency Park SA 5010

If you live within a 100 kilometre radius of the Adelaide GPO, the road safety inspection must be at:

Regency Park Vehicle Inspection Station
13 Kateena Street
Regency Park SA 5010


Lonsdale Inspection Station (Wednesdays only)
Unit 2, 7 Ellemsea Circuit
Lonsdale SA 5160

For rural inspections, the bookings officer will advise available dates and times for your location.

Find out if a vehicle is wrecked or written-off

To find out if a vehicle has been recorded as written-off phone 13 10 84 or go to a Service SA customer service centre.

You will need to supply the registration number and vehicle identification number to enable a check to be done.

When to report a written-off vehicle

Penalties apply for not notifying of a written-off vehicle in the following circumstances:

Private owners - before selling or otherwise disposing of, or dismantling, a registered or unregistered vehicle.

Insurers - within seven days of writing off a registered or unregistered notifiable vehicle.

Dismantlers, wreckers and repairers - within seven days of acquiring a registered or unregistered notifiable vehicle that has been written-off - this includes vehicles or parts of a vehicle bearing a vehicle identification plate or vehicle identification number.

Auctioneers and motor vehicle dealers - within seven days of acquiring, but before auctioning or disposing of, a registered or unregistered written-off notifiable vehicle.

Written-off vehicle notices

Written-off vehicle notices must be attached to a notifiable vehicle as soon as possible and before the vehicle is sold or otherwise disposed of.

If it's intended to cancel the registration of a notifiable vehicle, a notification must also be completed and accompany the application for registration cancellation.

Importing a notifiable written-off vehicle into South Australia

You must notify within seven days of bringing the vehicle into South Australia:

  • a written-off vehicle
  • a part of a vehicle bearing a vehicle identification plate or vehicle identification number.

Notification is not required in South Australia, if the current status has been recorded on an interstate written-off vehicle register.

What is a notifiable vehicle

A notifiable vehicle is a written-off vehicle that is less than 15 years from its date of manufacture and is:

  • a motor vehicle with a Gross Vehicle Mass (GVM) not greater than 4.5 tonnes to which Australian Design Rules apply
  • a motorbike
  • a caravan
  • a trailer with a GVM greater than 4.5 tonnes
  • a vehicle wrecked or wholly or partly disassembled or a part of a vehicle bearing a vehicle identification plate or vehicle identification number
  • an interstate written-off vehicle not recorded on a written-off vehicle register administered by an interstate vehicle registration authority.

How to notify a written-off vehicle

Complete the notification of a written-off vehicle - (757.6 KB PDF) form and return it to a Service SA customer service centre or, if you are authorised as an agent to issue written-off vehicle notices, phone Service SA on 13 10 84.

Regardless of whether you are a private owner, an insurer or a business associated with the motor trade, you must supply the following:

  • vehicle identification number (VIN)
  • the registration number of the vehicle if available
  • the engine number, vehicle make and body type of the vehicle
  • the date the decision was made to write the vehicle off
  • whether the vehicle is a statutory or repairable write-off
  • the name and address of the person notifying the written-off vehicle
  • the location and severity of damage caused to the vehicle.

Related information



Service SA
Customer service centres
Phone 13 10 84

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Page last updated 27 May 2022

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