What is a Certificate of Destruction?

What is a Certificate of Destruction?
10th June 20205 min read

What does “Certificate of Destruction” mean, exactly? Well, a Certificate of Destruction, commonly abbreviated to COD, is a formal document that is produced when an Authorised Treatment Facility (ATF) scraps your vehicle. The ATF will report the car’s destruction to the DVLA, who will then produce the COD that details the vehicle has been dismantled and is no longer registered under your name.

Why a vehicle certificate of destruction is important 

There are many reasons why acquiring a Certificate of Destruction title is important. Yet it has one main responsibility: it removes all responsibility of the vehicle from you and then passes it onto the ATF – also known as its new owner.

With an official COD in place, you can rest assured the government recognises that the vehicle is officially declared as off the road. They will also know the car is no longer registered under your name, and that the scrapping process was completed legally.

Do you still need to inform the DVLA it has been sold?

Simply put: yes. When you transfer ownership of your car to the ATF, you are legally required to notify the DVLA immediately. Before the vehicle can be scrapped, both you and the ATF need to fill in Section 9 of the V5C logbook and send it to the DVLA. For those short of time, this process can be done immediately on the DVLA website.

Example of a V5C/3

This step is essential as all vehicle liability is passed onto the ATF. If this doesn’t happen, you could end up still being charged road tax – regardless if the car was dismantled long ago. Plus, if you cannot prove that you no longer own the vehicle, the DVLA could hit you with hefty fines and even legal action.

When is a Certificate of Destruction issued?

The time it takes for the Certificate of Destruction to be issued is down to the ATF. If there’s seemingly a delay, for instance, it could be down to a number of reasons. The ATF may not have processed the vehicle yet, or they might have even sold it on.

In general, the scrap yard will dismantle and destroy the vehicle in a prompt manner. Yet even if this is done on the day the vehicle is received, you could still be waiting around for the certificate. This is because the ATF has to use the DVLA Certificate of Destruction login to request the certificate. Once the DVLA receives the request, they generate the document and send it to the ATF. The scrapyard will then forward a copy of the COD to you. All in all, this process can take upwards of seven days before the certificate is in your hands.

Example certificate of destruction

What if you need the COD immediately?

If you require your COD immediately, contact the ATF that is dealing with the vehicle. Tell them about your urgency, and they will ensure the car is processed in a prompt manner. To further shorten the time needed to obtain your Certificate of Destruction car title, see if you can pick it up directly from the ATF rather than it being sent out. 

What if you don’t receive a COD?

If the vehicle has been processed, but you never received a copy of the COD, you will need to get in touch directly with the DVLA. This can be done by filling in either Section 3 or Section 9 of the aforementioned V5C logbook and sending it off. At some point, you should receive a response from the DVLA stating the vehicle is no longer your responsibility. 

What if you receive a forged vehicle destruction certificate?

Only a licensed ATF is legally allowed to dismantle and dispose of scrap cars. They are the only ones allowed to use the DVLA Certification of Destruction online system, which is necessary to generate the COD in the first place. 

Sadly, there are unregistered scrapyards that will try and deceive you into thinking they’re the real deal. They will produce a convincing forgery of a sample certificate of destruction form, and you won’t know any better. Even if it has an altered title, such as ‘Confirmation of Destruction’ or ‘Disposal Certificate,’ how would you realise it was wrong if you didn’t understand what to look out for? 

Understandably, using a rogue dealer can be a costly experience. For a start, an insurance company will instantly dismiss a non-official document. Furthermore, without the proper paperwork, you’re going to have a hard time proving the car was disposed of – and you could be left legally responsible for the vehicle.

What a DVLA Certificate of Destruction includes

When it comes to an official Certificate of Destruction template, they will all follow the same structure. To ensure you are receiving the right Certificate of Destruction DVLA document, check the certificate includes:

  • The DVLA logo placed at the top of the certificate
  • “Certificate of Destruction” printed directly underneath the logo
  • Certificate No which is a unique 12-digit certificate number
  • Date of Issue which includes the certificate’s issue date
  • Licence No - the licence number of your chosen ATF
  • Details of the scrapped car
  • “Holder/Owner” and “Issuing Establishment” signature boxes for the owner and ATF respectively

Do you need a Certificate of Destruction?

No. The answer might come as a surprise based on all of the information above, but sometimes a Certificate of Destruction is not needed.

For instance, if the vehicle is salvageable and can be resold or broken down into parts, there’s no reason to issue a COD. Simply scrapping the vehicle will only reduce the resale value of the car.

If you’re not bothered whether the car is bought for salvage or scrap, a COD shouldn’t be of concern. All you need to ensure is that the ownership of the vehicle has changed and that it is no longer under your name.

Share this story:

Related blog posts

Check out our blogs and industry news, which includes advice, tips, and guides around topics related to scrapping your car.