Car finance payments outweigh rent or mortgage payments for one in four UK drivers aged under 55, according to an Opinium survey of 2,000 motorists.
Men (27%) are more likely than women (22%) to spend the same or more on their car payments as on their housing, it found.
Among the over 55s, four in five aren't prepared to pay more monthly on car finance than their housing.
The survey, commissioned by independent GAP insurance provider InsureTheGap.com, found drivers in Scotland and London are the most likely to put their car above their housing in their budget, with one in three doing so.
Over half of drivers (52%), who used finance to buy their car, said they did not worry about the total cost of the car as they prefer paying for it on a monthly basis, knowing they can upgrade the vehicle when their finance contract runs out (men 53% and women 50%).
Ben Wooltorton, chief operating officer, InsuretheGap.com said: “Buying a car on finance is a convenient way to do it, but when it’s such a substantial chunk out of many drivers’ monthly income, care should be taken to protect this investment.
"Many drivers don’t realise that if a car is written off or stolen, the insurance company will usually only pay the market value of the car, not what was paid for it, so drivers could face a financial shortfall, particularly if they still have a finance agreement or loan to pay off.
"A GAP insurance policy from a specialist insurance provider, like InsuretheGap, can protect drivers from this.”