One in five (18%) have written off a car, with 77% saying it was not their fault, according to a new Opinium survey of 2000 UK drivers commissioned by, a new independent provider of GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance, launched by award-winning and FCA regulated, Halo Insurance Services Ltd.

written off car pic

A fifth of cars that were written off were brand new when they were first purchased and 23% that wrote off a brand-new car did so within the first year. All cars were written off, on average, three years after being owned.

Writing off a car can be very expensive as insurance companies will only pay the value of the car at the time of the incident and not what it was bought for.

Of those who had their car either written off or stolen, 90% claimed on their insurance, estimating that they lost on average £3,295 on what they had originally paid for the car.

The survey found that almost a third of drivers (30%) were unaware that they could lose thousands of pounds if their car was written off. GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) Insurance exists to protect drivers from this, but the cover offered by car dealerships is often expensive.’s policies start from just £54.55*.

The most common reason for writing off a car is having a collision with another car (28%), a vehicle driving into the back of them (17%), or someone driving into the car whilst parked (12%). Other reasons include;

  • Skidding or losing control of the vehicle with no other vehicle involved
  • Colliding on a roundabout
  • Driving into a tree, lamp post or other stationary object.
  • Having the car stolen
  • Damaged the car due to the sat nav sending them where it shouldn’t
  • Fire damage
  • Hitting an animal

Ben Wooltorton, Director at, said: “Unfortunately, having a car written off isn’t as unusual as you may think. As well as being a horrible experience, drivers also face losing an asset worth thousands of pounds as their motor insurance policy is only likely to pay the current market value of the vehicle, rather than the amount that was paid for the car. If your car was bought on finance, you could even end up with less money from your insurer than you need to settle the loan.”

He continued: “GAP insurance exists to protect drivers if their car is written off, but cover offered by the car dealerships is often expensive.’s policies start from just £54.55.”

* The starting price for policies is £54.55 (Return to invoice for a car worth £9,999)

Case Study

Bella Smyth, 39, from Swindon had her six-week-old car, a two-year old Honda Jazz, written off in March 2015 when a she was involved in collision with a bus and another car. "The accident was not my fault as another car came out of a turning, hitting me on the side, making the car spin and then a bus hit me," she said. "My poor car was totalled!". Bella had part bought the car on finance and still had £3000 to pay off.  She claimed on her car insurance but she ended up being £2300 out of pocket as the insurance company would only give her £4,500 and not the £6,800 that she'd paid for the car.