Coronavirus: What happens if your WOF runs out during lockdown?

Police may still give out tickets to cars without a warrant of fitness.
Police may still give out tickets to cars without a warrant of fitness. Photo credit: Getty

Insurance companies will continue to cover vehicle crashes during the lockdown period even if the warrant of fitness runs out, but you may be ticketed.

The nationwide lockdown goes into effect at 11:59pm on Wednesday which is when the Alert Level increases from 3 to 4 to combat the coronavirus pandemic. 

Non-essential businesses are closing and travel must be limited which means some people won't be able to renew their vehicle's warrant of fitness.

Insurance Council chief executive Tim Grafton has reassured drivers any crashes will be covered as long as it isn't caused by an existing fault, the NZ Herald reported.

"If your WOF is due while we are in alert level four don't worry – your car insurance will still be in place as long as there isn't an existing safety issue that would mean you might not get a WOF – such as tyres needing to be replaced," he said.

"Also, if you have an accident while using your car for an essential reason during this time, you'll also be covered as long as the cause of the accident isn't related to a reason why your car might fail a WOF."

The New Zealand Transport Agency has not confirmed whether people would be ticketed during the lockdown for having expired warrants but the police would exercise "discretion" during the four weeks.

New information on the NZTA website says: "If your vehicle is not used for essential services, you should only use it for essential travel during the stage 4 Covid-19 alert."

If the vehicle's WOF has expired, NZTA is encouraging drivers to find other options for going to the supermarket, doctors visits, etc.

Otago University student Em says she is frustrated because she can't get her non-essential work for her car completed after failing its warrant earlier this week.

"Now I’m stressing because my car failed its WoF on some weird expensive stuff and it can’t be fixed until after the lockdown," she says in a Twitter post.

"WoF expires on Saturday and I can’t work unless my car has a current WoF (job is considered essential)."

She also questioned whether the 28-day limit in which her car could be rechecked for free would be used up during the lockdown or whether that too would be on hold.

NZTA says they are currently working with service providers to offer warrant of fitness renewals to vehicles of essential workers.

They are trying to provide clarity and will continue to update their website with more information.