Garages gridlocked with family possessions rather than pricier cars

Article date: 31 October 2011

  • Average household has cars worth £13,500 on road or driveway

Over two-thirds of British households with two or more cars do not park them in their garages because they are too full of other possessions, according to new research.*

A survey of multi-car households by Aviva, the UK’s largest insurer, also showed the average household has around £3,429 worth of items in their garage, yet keeps vehicles worth almost four times as much (£13,487) on the road or driveway. A quarter of those polled admitted they park a car that’s worth, on average, £20,000 on their drive, even though more than two fifths (41%) said they were worried that their cars could be broken into, stolen or vandalised when parked on the drive or road.

Interestingly a quarter (25.5%) confessed that it was too much effort to park their vehicles in the garage.

Aviva’s ‘Garage Gridlock’ study also revealed:

  • 90% of those polled would only be spurred into parking their vehicles in the garage should theft or vandalism happen
  • While the value of contents in the average garage was £3,429, a third estimated the contents of their garage was worth just £500 to £1,000
  • The men of the household were cited as the main culprits for taking up space in the garage with 68% storing items such as DIY materials, tools or gardening equipment
  • Nearly a fifth of the UK households polled still stored unwanted boxes from their last house move.

This gridlock in British garages is forcing car owners to look elsewhere to park, with a third of those polled saying they find it difficult to find on-street parking, and a further 30% say they struggle to fit all the cars in their household on the drive.

Yet almost two fifths (38%) said they would only clear out their garage once a year and one in ten said they would never clear it out.

Oliver Heath, celebrity architectural designer said; “The Aviva survey results don’t surprise me at all. It’s clear that we’re all short on time, and with the increased pressure on space in the home and a higher turnover of household possessions than ever before, it really can be tricky to know what to do with all that “stuff”. But it seems ludicrous that we favour unwanted bits and pieces for what is, for all intents and purposes, the second largest purchase of our lives – our cars. Will it really take vandalism or theft of our cars for the nation to wake up to the fact that they are safer stored in our garages than left on the road?”

Aviva, which has just launched its MultiCar insurance offering up to a third off premiums for a household with two or more cars**, also offers a discount if the cars are kept in the garage when not in use.

Heather Smith, director of marketing for Aviva’s MultiCar insurance, said: “We understand that householders are busy, but if they gave their garage a bit of a clear out once in a while and parked one or more of their cars in it, they would have the peace of mind that one of their most valuable possessions is being fully protected – and they are likely to save on their car insurance too.

“Following the findings from Aviva’s research, we are urging garage owners to make use of their garage space wisely to help keep their most valued possessions safe and secure.”

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Notes to editors:

*Survey conducted on in September 2011. Total number of respondents: 1000 British adults with a garage and 2 or more cars in their household.

**We expect 20% of customers to achieve a third off when they add a second car.  This discount will apply to the cheaper of the two car insurance premiums.  Both cars must be registered at the same address. Saving compared to the cost to a new Aviva customer of insuring one car.  Discount does not apply to optional extras. Aviva’s MultiCar product is available by calling 0800 015 7767 or at, or through selected brokers.

Aviva is the world’s sixth largest* insurance group.  We provide 44.5 million customers with insurance, savings and investment products with total worldwide sales in 2010 of £47.1 billion**.

We are the UK’s largest insurer with over 14 million customers. Our combination of life, health and general insurance is unique in its scale and breadth in the UK market.  Customers can choose to buy our products through intermediaries, our corporate partners or from Aviva direct and we have become the partner of choice for many of the UK’s biggest organisations. 

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*based on gross worldwide premiums at 31 December 2010.
**at 31 December 2010.

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