A vehicle is written-off when the cost to repair is likely to be more than the vehicle is worth or if the vehicle is so badly damaged that it would not be safe to drive on the road again.
There are a number of reasons a vehicle could be written-off - through an accident, a natural disaster (flood, fire, hail etc) or through damage caused when a vehicle is stolen and vandalised.
WHY IS A VEHICLE WRITTEN-OFF?
CAN WRITTEN-OFF VEHICLE BE ALLOWED ON THE ROAD AGAIN?
Yes. When a vehicle is written-off it also becomes deregistered. Deregistered vehicles can be put back on the road via a re-registration process that involves a thorough physical inspection of the vehicle to ensure it is safe and up to standard. The previously written-off status sits against the vehicle forever and can impact its value.
WHAT IS A DAMAGED IMPORT?
When a vehicle first arrives into the country it goes through a border inspection. At this point the inspector may see signs of damage or previous repair and mark the vehicle as a damaged import. This status stays on the vehicle for its entire life in New Zealand. This does not mean the vehicle has been written-off. It's important to note that damaged imports can still be registered and driven on the road providing they pass through compliance without any issues.
WHAT IS AN AUSTRALIAN STATUTORY WRITE-OFF?
An Australian Statutory Write-Off is a vehicle that has been so badly damaged in Australia that it is never allowed on the road again. Often these vehicles are then stripped for parts but occasionally they are fixed in Australia and sent to New Zealand to be onsold. These vehicles are not always caught during the border inspection process and can have significant underlying issues if you are unaware of its history.
WHY IS IT IMPORTANT?
A vehicle’s written-off history can impact its value, its ability to be legally driven on New Zealand roads and gives an indication to its potential condition. Whether you are looking to trade a vehicle in, provide insurance cover over it or provide financial lending, it's important to check that it has not been previously written-off. Written-off vehicles are often used in fraudulent insurance claims.