Two-thirds of cars bought in cash

Nearly two-thirds (63 per cent) of car owners bought their last car outright using cash or a debit card, with over 55s the most likely to do this. The East of England is the region most likely to buy their car outright (70 per cent), and the North East the least likely to (51 per cent).

Over 55s are much more likely to buy a car in cash (72 per cent) than younger age groups, with half (54 per cent) of 35-54 year olds buying outright, and two-fifths (42 per cent) of 18-34 year olds.

One in 10 (10 per cent) car buyers use a personal contract purchase (PCP), 7 per cent on hire purchase, and 5 per cent on lease.

The survey of over 2,000 UK drivers, conducted by Opinium for InsuretheGap.com, a leading provider of GAP (Guaranteed Asset Protection) insurance for new and second-hand cars, also looked at how often people change their cars.

It found that nearly a fifth of UK drivers (18 per cent) keep their vehicle until the car dies or it will cost more to repair than it is worth, but more than a quarter of UK drivers (28 per cent) change their car every two to four years, rising to 41 per cent in the North East.

Incredibly, one in every hundred people change their car every year, and 4 per cent change it every two years.

Ben Wooltorton, chief operating officer of InsuretheGap.com, said: “This survey shows that many UK car buyers save up and buy a car outright rather than using finance, making it one of the most expensive cash purchase most people will ever make. It also highlights that drivers should be protecting their investment, as cars depreciate quickly, and if a car is written off or stolen, insurance companies will only pay the value of the car at the time of the incident, not the amount that was paid for it. Policies from InsuretheGap.com protect drivers from this, and cost a fraction of those sold by the car dealerships.”

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