Writing off a car might seem unusual to many, but nearly a third (29%) of UK drivers have written a car off, almost a third of men (32%) and a quarter of women (26%), and 7% have written a car off more than once.

insurance agent examining car after accident

In the survey of over 2,000 UK drivers, carried out by Opinion for InsuretheGap.com, a leading provider of GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance for new and second-hand cars, nearly two-thirds say it was not their fault, with over half (55%) blaming the other driver, and one in ten (10%) saying that the car was stolen and written off.

Over a quarter (27%) admit it actually was their fault, with one in ten (9%) citing an incident with another vehicle, and one in ten (10%) admitting they were the only vehicle involved. This rockets in the North East, with nearly two-fifths (38%) of drivers, who have written a car off, saying it was their fault.

If a car is written off, the insurance company usually only pays out what the car was worth at the time of the incident. Because of depreciation, this can be significantly less than what was paid for it. Almost half (45%) of those surveyed say that if their car got written off and the insurer only paid out half of what they had paid for it, they could not afford to buy exactly the same car again.

Ben Wooltorton, Chief Operating Officer of InsuretheGap.com, said: Most people don’t think about the possibility of their car getting written off. However, this research shows that it’s happened to nearly a third of UK drivers, and for two-thirds of them, it was not their fault.

He continues: Buying a car is a big investment, but depreciation means that it can lose its value quite quickly. If your car is written off the insurance company will usually only pay its value at the time of the incident, not what you paid for it, which can be especially painful if you’re still paying finance on it.

He concludes: GAP insurance will pay out the difference between what you paid for the car, and the value when it’s written off. GAP insurance is available from standalone providers, like InsuretheGap.com, for usually significantly less than the insurance offered by the car showrooms. It’s always best to shop around.