Many households are having to endure significant changes to their personal finances in recent weeks due to the Covid-19 pandemic.

The introduction of incentives such as mortgage payment holidays have eased some of the pressure on families' shrinking budgets, but what about motorists who might be struggling to pay monthly fees for their vehicles?

With around nine in 10 new cars in Britain acquired using some form of finance, the coronavirus outbreak will be causing concern for many drivers.

Here's what those with financed or leased vehicles need to know...

Tell your finance provider straight away

Some £48billion of finance for new and used cars was agreed with consumers last year alone.

That means there are plenty of drivers who, as a result of the coronavirus lockdowns, recently been laid off, put on furloughed or lower pay who will be worrying about how to cover the cost of their car loans.

The Money Advice Service says: 'If you're going to struggle to meet your repayments because of coronavirus, talk to the car finance company as soon as you can.

'They might offer to extend the cost of the contract which would lower your monthly payments or come to another arrangement to help you out.'

The Finance and Leasing Association says: 'If you are a customer suffering financial difficulties or anticipating payment problems because of coronavirus, do get in touch with your lender as soon as possible – but to help them help you, please use online forms and emails where possible as call levels are very high at the moment.

'The solutions involved will vary from lender to lender and customer to customer, but they're there to help, and will find an answer that best suits your circumstances.'

The Financial Conduct Authority also has very tough rules in place to ensure customers are treated fairly and drivers can contact the Financial Ombudsman Service for advice or guidance for how to make a formal complaint.

Doing so might produce a better result as well as protect credit files in the future.

You could be eligible for a finance payment holiday or contract extension

With vehicle purchases generally being a household's second largest outgoing behind mortgages and rent, vehicle finance providers have anticipated that consumers will now face difficulties covering their monthly fees and have plans in place to help.

An increasing number of lenders are now offering payment holidays - similar to mortgage holidays - or contract extensions.

This will allow drivers to temporarily stop their monthly car finance payments over a specific period during the pandemic.

At the end of the payment holiday, the finance company will recalculate the remaining monthly payments - increasingly them slightly - to cover the cost of the unpaid fees during the period nothing was paid.

If you have a new car on Personal Contract Purchase or Hire Purchase, it's very likely that your provider is a finance arm of the vehicle's manufacturer.

Early reports show that manufacturers already have measures in place to help these drivers.

Volkswagen, for instance, says that UK customers facing financial difficulties could be eligible for up to 60 days of payment holiday on their finance.

Alternatively, the German brand is also offering an extension of a repayment plan to reduce monthly outgoings.

According to research by Parkers, Ford - the UK's biggest car seller - is also planning to offer extended payment arrangements or finance holidays to customers and has also hinted at temporarily cancelling late fees.

Sister brands Hyundai and Kia are also looking at offering payment holidays.

You can find out what each brand has said in Parkers' online guide,

If you agree to defer payments your credit file will remain unaffected and in some cases, you will incur no additional costs or fees but be prepared to pay the interest on the missing payments.

We've provided expert advice for each of the different types of motor finance below:

What to do if you've taken out a loan to buy a new or used car

If you've taken out an unsecured loan it will not specifically be tied to the car and it's not unusual for banks, building societies and other lenders to offer a holiday period at the start of the loan or at any time throughout the loan period if you run into difficulties.

Motor finance expert, Graham Hill, explains: 'Most lenders are posting advice on their websites, for example Barclays are working on a form to apply for a loan repayment holiday and Lloyds will consider applications on an individual basis but you need to contact them. HSBC says it is working on it.

Some are charging interest over the payment holiday period which you will pay at the end of the agreement.

'Others aren't charging interest. For more details visit the website of your lender as the situation is constantly changing.