Coronavirus leaves millions of drivers worried about cost of running their car: Alloy Wheel

12 May 2020, 09:10

Coronavirus leaves millions of drivers worried about cost of running their car

GoCompare Car Insurance offers advice to drivers worried about paying for car finance instalments or insurance premiums

  • 9 million drivers1 are worried about affording their car insurance,
  • 9 million motorists2 are concerned about making their car finance payments,
  • 2 million drivers are worried about affording to get their car serviced,
  • 29% confessed to delaying essential repairs to their car,
  • The coronavirus crisis could force 1.3 million drivers to sell their car.

The coronavirus lockdown has left many households living on significantly reduced incomes. As a result, millions of drivers are struggling to meet the cost of running their car, while a significant minority (4% = 1.3 million) say they will be forced to sell their vehicle.

GoCompare Car Insurance is offering practical, actionable advice to drivers concerned about meeting monthly finance or insurance costs.

New research5, commissioned by GoCompare, found that the main costs of owning and running a car; including servicing, insurance, and finance payments; were causing anxiety for many motorists, with young drivers6 being the most affected.

The survey asked car owners how the coronavirus lockdown has impacted their ability to run their vehicle.    

Servicing and maintenance

The research found that:

  • 14% of motorists (20% for young drivers) admit that their car’s service is overdue,
  • 17% (37% for young drivers) admitted that they are driving a car with a dashboard warning light or service reminder showing,
  • One in ten drivers (one in five for young drivers) are worried about affording to get their car serviced.

The survey also found that many car owners are putting off essential repairs:

  • 29% confessed to delaying repairs to their car (63% for drivers aged 18 to 24 years),
  • Worn tyres topped the list of issues that needed attention (9%),
  • Followed by brake-related problems (6%).
  • And windscreen and clutch problems (both 5%).

Car insurance     

Having car insurance is a legal requirement, even if you are not driving or only using your car for short journeys. But for many drivers, especially young or new drivers, insurance remains one of the biggest costs in running their car.  The survey found that the coronavirus emergency has left 2.9million (9%) drivers concerned about how they will afford their insurance. The figure for young drivers is much higher, with one in five (21%) worried about insurance costs.

The survey also revealed that 3% of drivers (10% for young drivers) plan to save money by not insuring their car.

If a car is uninsured it must not be kept or driven on public roads and should be declared to the DVLA as off-road (Statutory Off-Road Notification, or SORN). But be warned that if a car declared SORN is uninsured, it will not be covered against fire, theft, or damage.

Car finance

Car finance schemes including leasing, personal contract plans (PCP) and hire purchase arrangements are increasingly popular ways to buy a car. As a result of the lockdown, 1.9million drivers (6%) worried that they would no longer be able to afford their car finance arrangement.

Commenting on the research findings, Lee Griffin, CEO and one of the founders of GoCompare, said, “The coronavirus crisis has already had a huge impact on the economy and people’s earnings, and many people are understandably concerned about meeting everyday bills, including the cost of running their car.

“When money is tight it can be tempting to delay or skip servicing or to put-off repairs. But this can be a false economy. If left too late, some problems can become more expensive to repair or can make the car dangerous and illegal to drive.

“If you are struggling with the cost of car finance or insurance, you should contact your provider. They’ll talk you through the support available and may be able to help by agreeing to more affordable payment terms or by arranging to defer payments. The UK’s finance regulator, the FCA, has now confirmed that lenders will have to give payment breaks of up to three months to struggling car finance customers. So, don’t miss a payment or cancel a direct debit without first talking to your provider.

“If you miss an insurance payment without first notifying your provider, they may cancel your policy, leaving you without valid insurance. Driving without insurance is illegal and could land you a fixed penalty of £300 and six points on your licence. If the case goes to court, you could face an unlimited fine and be disqualified from driving. The police also have the power to seize, and in some cases destroy the uninsured vehicle.”

Lee Griffin continued, “Drivers whose insurance is up for renewal can cut costs by shopping around. Comparison sites make this a quick and easy job and the savings can be substantial. Customers switching with GoCompare can save up to £2837, without compromising on cover.”

GoCompare Car Insurance’s six-point plan for car owners in financial difficulties as a result of Covid-19:

  • If you have a finance arrangement for your vehicle, talk to your provider as soon as possible as they should be able to offer you a payment break of up to three months.
  • Speak to your insurer and see if there is anything they can do to help in terms of reducing or deferring premiums. 
  • Look at lowering your stated annual mileage to see if it reduces your premium.  Check with your insurer that there will be no administrative charge for doing this, or for reverting to normal post-lockdown.
  • You could reduce your cover level to third party, fire, and theft to see if this lowers your premium. Remember though, if you lower your cover level and then incur accidental or malicious damage, you won’t be covered. Again, check with your insurer that there will be no administrative charge for doing this.
  • If you can keep your car off the road temporarily, then you could SORN the vehicle so you needn’t tax or insure it. But beware, this would mean that you will have no insurance cover at all. You may still want cover for damage, fire, and theft (sometimes called a ‘laid-up’ policy).
  • Check when your insurance renewal date is.  If it is due shortly, shop around to see if you can get the cover you need for a much cheaper price.

For more information on Coronavirus and your money visit:


For further information please contact:

Anders Nilsson or Louisa Marsden at GoCompare on 01633 654 054 / 01633 655 132

Gordon, Jason or Liz at MAW Communications on 01603 505 845

Keep up-to-date with GoCompare on Twitter; @GoCompare

Notes to editors


1Source: Department for Transport, Vehicle Licencing Statistics Q3 2019 -there are 32 million licenced cars on the road,

9% of 32 million is 2,880,000 rounded to 2.9 million.

26% of 32 million is 1,920,000 rounded to 1.9 million.

310% of 32 million is 3,200,000

44% of 32 million is 1,280,000 rounded to 1.3 million

5On 9-13 April an online survey of 2,030 randomly selected Great British adults was executed by Maru/Blue.1,581 were car onwers. For comparison purposes, a probability sample of this size has an estimated margin of error (which measures sampling variability) of +/- 2.1%. The results have been weighted by age, gender, region and social grade to match the population, according to Census data. This is to ensure the sample is representative of the entire adult population of Great Britain. Discrepancies in or between totals are due to rounding.

6Young drivers aged between 18 to 24 years old.

751% could save up to £283 on car insurance based on independent research by Consumer Intelligence, conducted between 1 March to 31 March 2020.


GoCompare is a comparison website that enables people to compare the costs and features of a wide variety of insurance policies, financial products and energy tariffs.

GoCompare does not charge people to use its services, and it does not accept advertising or sponsored listings, so all product comparisons are unbiased. GoCompare makes its money through fees paid by the providers of products that appear on its various comparison services when a customer buys through the site.

When it launched in 2006, it was the first comparison site to focus on displaying policy details rather than just listing prices, with the aim of helping people to make better-informed decisions when buying their insurance. GoCompare has remained dedicated to helping people choose the most appropriate products rather than just the cheapest, and has teamed up with Defaqto, the independent financial researcher, to integrate additional policy information into a number of its insurance comparison services. This allows people to compare up to an extra 30 features of cover.

GoCompare is the only comparison website to be invited to join the British Insurance Brokers’ Association (BIBA) and is authorised and regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA).

For more information visit and

Contact Information

Louisa Marsden

Senior PR Executive


01633 655 132