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Legal guide to UK motoring, sections for law enforcement, Driver licensing, learner and new drivers, buying and selling, speeding fines, owning a vehicle, wheel clamping, traffic information.

MOT Tests

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What to do if your vehicle is scrapped or written off

You should only tell the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency (DVLA) that your vehicle has been scrapped if you actually break it up or destroy it yourself. In the event of the vehicle being written off, the insurance company will notify DVLA on your behalf.

Breaking the vehicle up yourself

If you break or destroy the vehicle yourself, you should notify DVLA by completing the 'scrapped box' on the registration document or certificate and enter the date of scrapping. Send the certificate to DVLA, Swansea SA99 1BA.

Selling the vehicle for scrap

Scrap dealers and vehicle dismantlers are now known as authorised treatment facilities (ATFs), they will treat end of life vehicles in an environmentally friendly manner. If you pass your vehicle to an ATF and it is destroyed immediately, hand in your registration certificate. Certain types of vehicles, including cars and vans up to 3,500kgs, will be issued with a certificate of destruction (CoD). If the vehicle is not to be destroyed, you should fill in the V5C/3 section of the registration certificate to transfer keepership to the ATF. Send the V5/3C to DVLA, Swansea SA99 1BD.

If you have third party insurance cover

If you have third party insurance cover on your vehicle and it has received substantial accident damage to the bodywork, you are required to surrender the registration document or certificate to DVLA before disposing of the vehicle. Substantial damage means the cost of commercial repair would exceed the value of the vehicle.

What happens next

You will be liable for the vehicle until you have notified DVLA of the scrapping or sale of your vehicle. Once you have informed DVLA you will receive an acknowledgement letter confirming the discharge of liability of your vehicle. If you do not receive an acknowledgement letter within four weeks please contact 0870 240 0010. Customers with impaired hearing or speech who have access to text phone/minicom should ring 01792 782 756.

Insurance company makes a total loss payment for your vehicle

If your insurance company decides to write off your vehicle, you must hand over the vehicle to them in return for a total loss payment. You will need to:

  • complete V5/3 or V5C/3 'Notification of sale or transfer' section of your registration document or certificate and send it to DVLA, Swansea, SA99 1BD
  • give the remainder of the registration document or certificate to the insurance company

Under a special arrangement between DVLA and the insurance industry, your insurer may ask you for the whole registration document or certificate, which they will complete for you and send to the DVLA. If you decide to do this you should, in order to discharge your liability, write to DVLA Swansea SA99 1BR giving the date you passed the vehicle to the insurance company and details of their name and address.

Personalised registration mark on the vehicle

In the event of scrapping or total loss and you have a cherished mark you wish to keep, you must transfer or retain it before you dispose of the vehicle. If you do not do this you will lose your entitlement to that number. You will need to ensure that your insurance company does not dispose of the vehicle and it is available for inspection.  For more information read booklet INF 46 'Registration numbers and You', available from DVLA.

The vehicle has been accidentally damaged or written off - How to obtain a vehicle identity check (VIC)

You will need to take it to a Vehicle and Operator Services Agency (VOSA) test station to undergo a VIC. Before taking your car to be checked, you will also need to pay a fee. On receipt of the fee VOSA will book an appointment for you and tell you where and when you should take your car to be checked. You will also need to give certain information about your car to VOSA before the check takes place. This will allow them to confirm that the information you have given matches with their records. If your vehicle passes the VIC, DVLA will store the result on computer. You can apply to DVLA for the registration certificate (V5C), which will be issued and will contain the following message -  Accident damaged and/or substantially repaired; identity checked on dd/mm/yy'. All subsequent V5Cs will carry this message. Further information on the VIC can be found on the link below.

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