New Zealand Transport Agency Car Write-Off Categories

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When a vehicle is severely damaged and somewhat unrepairable, it is written off by insurance companies. In most countries, insurance companies must provide details related to the write-off, in the UK there are four categories: A, B, S, and N.

However, in NZ, insurance companies do not normally provide such details to the Transport Agency. The only thing they are required to give by law is details of vehicles damaged by fire or water. Therefore, there are five different categories that you might see on written-off vehicle documents in New Zealand.

Category W

When you see a vehicle marked with ‘W’ in the damage category, it means the car was damaged as a result of flood water. But it does not necessarily mean that the vehicle has been written off.

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Category F

The ‘F’ category, as its name suggests, relates to a vehicle that has been damaged by fire. It doesn’t matter if the car was a victim of arson or the fire erupted through other means, the ‘F’ category covers all. Also, this category doesn’t cover vehicles affected by a fire that is written off.

Category S

All the vehicles that come under the ‘S’ category are damaged through accidents or other means. In other words, the fire and water are not counted as the causes for being written off.

Category WS

The vehicles that fall under this category are written-off cars damaged through floodwater. It covers both statutory and repairable write-off vehicles.

Category FS

The vehicles under this category are written off due to fire damage. Once again, the category covers both statutory and economic repairable written-off vehicles.

What Does Written-Off Mean?

You must have heard of the term ‘written-off’ multiple times throughout this article. Have you ever wondered what it means? Well, the term is simple: any car that is unsafe to drive or is uneconomical to repair is termed written-off by insurance companies. The vehicle is de-registered and usually, the owners sell it to car wreckers to make some good cash for cars.

There are two ways that a car can be written off:

Statutory write-off

This term is applied to a vehicle that can never be driven on the road again. It is severely damaged and unrepairable, which means it can also never be re-registered by the authorities. When you see a statutory write-off, you should know it’s time to call a car removal service and get rid of whatever is left of your vehicle.

Economically repairable write-off

This term applies to all insured cars that are damaged but the cost of repairing that damage is beyond the sum insured by the vehicle owner. In such cases, some insurance companies pay you the market value for your vehicle and keep it to sell off later to a scrap yard.


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