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Scrapped and Written Off Vehicles

How to scrap your own vehicle at an authorised treatment facility (ATF). This guide also explains the 3 steps for dealing with insurance write-offs.

SCRAP A CAR UK: You must use an authorised treatment facility when scrapping your car. Some drivers call ATFs the breakers, or scrapyard.

How to Scrap a Vehicle DVLA

Is your car dangerous or no longer useful? Is it the end of the road?

As a responsible driver you must scrap your motor car if it is no longer roadworthy or repairable.

UK scrap vehicle disposal takes place at a breaker’s yard or a scrapyard.

No matter which one you choose, it must be an authorised treatment facility. But, a different process takes place if you are scrapping a vehicle as an ‘insurance write-off‘.

DVLA Scrapping a Car: Not Keeping the Parts
  1. Apply to DVLA if you want to take a private number off a vehicle.
  2. Have your car scrapped at an authorised treatment facility. As a rule this service is free of charge.
  3. Hand over the vehicle registration (V5C) after removing the (V5C/3) yellow slip.
  4. Inform the DVLA that your car got scrapped at an authorised treatment facility.

Note: The fine can be £1,000 for failing to inform the Driver and Vehicle Licensing Agency your car is scrapped.

Scrap a Vehicle: Keeping the Parts

Before scrapping your car, you can remove any useful parts for repairing another one.

  1. If you are removing parts you must inform DVLA the vehicle is off the road. You can keep it on private land, a driveway, or a garage. But you must not keep a car waiting for scrapping, on a public road.
  2. Make an application if you want to keep the vehicle registration number.
  3. After you remove the parts, you must take the car to an ATF. They may charge a fee if you removed any essential running gear. This can include the engine, the wheels, and the gearbox.
  4. Give them the V5C log book after removing the yellow slip (V5C/3).
  5. Inform the DVLA that your car got scrapped at an authorised treatment facility.

Where to Scrap a Vehicle

Use a local breaker’s yard to scrap your own car. But, you should check they are a bona fide authorised treatment facility. After the scrapyard inspects your car they will decide whether to:

  • Scrap and crush the whole automobile.
  • Repair it themselves for re-selling.

It is against the law to dispose of your vehicle elsewhere.

If the Vehicle gets Scrapped Completely

The ATF issues a Certificate of Destruction within a week of scrapping your vehicle. That can include:

  • A car or a light van.
  • A 3-wheeled automobile (excluding some quad bikes and motor tricycles).

Certificates are not given for other types of automobiles. The Certificate of Destruction is your proof that an ATF is scrapping your car. You are liable for road tax and traffic offences, fines or penalties, without this proof.

Receiving Payment for a Scrapped Vehicle

Payment for scrap vehicle disposal comes from the authorised treatment facility. As a rule, they pay by bank transfer or a cheque.

Note: It is illegal to receive cash for scrapping your own motor car in England or Wales.

Vehicles Repaired and Sold by ATF

Authorised treatment facilities can choose to repair and sell your car. In this case, they will not issue a Certificate of Destruction. But, you might get a cash payment from the ATF if they repair and sell your vehicle.

What is DVLA Insurance Write Off for Cars?

What happens if you damage your vehicle and make an insurance claim? The insurance company will inform you:

  • Whether they have decided to write-off your car.
  • The amount of money you will receive for the write-off.

When a Vehicle gets Written Off

There are two main reasons for writing off a motor car. Vehicles get written-off if the damage is beyond repair or if a repair would be too expensive. A write-off is not determined by the amount of damage, but the amount of restoration needed to fix it.

An Example: Your car has been ‘keyed’ along many panels. The paintwork is metallic or is a colour no longer available for ‘touch-up’ work. The cost for a repaint may be greater than the car’s value. In this case your car is likely to become a write-off.

Insurance Write Off Categories for Cars

The insurance companies use four different categories for writing off a vehicle. The tabled list of vehicle write off categories determines what you must do next.

DVLA Write Off Categories Law

Write Off Categories Is the Vehicle for Scrap Only or is it Repairable? Vehicle Use on the Road and Salvage after a Write Off
Write Off Category A Vehicle cannot get repaired The entire vehicle must get crushed
Write Off Category B Vehicle cannot get repaired The body shell must get crushed but you can salvage other parts from it
Write Off Category C Can get repaired, but it would cost more than the vehicle’s worth You can use the vehicle again if it gets repaired to a roadworthy condition
Write Off Category D Can get repaired and would cost less than the vehicle’s worth, but other costs (e.g. transporting your vehicle) take it over the vehicle’s value You can use the vehicle again if it gets repaired to a roadworthy condition

Car Written Off DVLA Procedures

As a rule, your vehicle insurance company will handle the scrapping of your car. But, you should follow these 3 steps for a written off car:

  1. Apply to DVLA if you want to keep the registration number associated to the vehicle.
  2. Remove the yellow slip (V5C/3) from the log book before sending the V5C to your insurance company.
  3. Inform the DVLA that your vehicle got written off by the insurer and they are dealing with it.

Note: The fine could be £1,000 for not informing DVLA of a scrapped car.

Keeping Your Vehicle after a DVLA Write Off

If your car ends up in write-off category C or D you should inform your insurance company if you want to keep it. They will arrange a payout and sell the car back to you. In this case you should follow these two steps.

  1. Send the complete V5C vehicle registration certificate to your insurance company.
  2. Fill in form V62 ‘Application for a duplicate log book‘. There is no fee for this part of the procedure.

DVLA Scrapping a Vehicle: Dealing with Scrapped and Written Off Vehicles in the United Kingdom