What is Gap Insurance?
If your vehicle is totaled or stolen, and you owe more than the car’s depreciated value, gap insurance will help you pay off your debt. Only the initial loan or leaseholder on a new vehicle is eligible for this form of coverage. Gap insurance helps pay the gap between the depreciated value of your car and what you still owe on the car.
How Does It Work?
Say you bought a brand-new car for $25,000. You still owe $20,000 on your auto loan when the car is totaled in a covered collision. Your collision coverage would pay your lender up to the totaled car’s depreciated value — say it’s worth $17,000. If you don’t have gap insurance, you would have to pay $3,000 out of your own pocket to settle your auto loan on the totaled car. If you have gap insurance, your insurer would help pay the $3,000.
Keep in mind that, in the above scenario, the car insurance reimbursement goes completely to your auto lender to pay off a car that’s no longer driveable. If you think you would need help buying a new car after yours was totaled, you might want to consider purchasing new car replacement coverage.
Is Gap Insurance Worth it?
If you’re thinking of buying, keep in mind that you may only be able to get it if you’re leasing or financing a new vehicle. Then consider how much you owe on your vehicle loan compared to its worth. (A site like Kelley Blue Book will give you an estimate of how much your car is worth.) Do you owe more on your vehicle than it is worth? Could you afford to pay the difference out of pocket if your car is totaled?
You may want to consider gap insurance in the following situations:
- Made less than a 20 percent down payment
- Financed for 60 months or longer
- Leased the vehicle (carrying gap insurance is generally required for a lease)
- Purchased a vehicle that depreciates faster than the average
- Rolled over negative equity from an old car loan into the new loan
Do You Need to Buy at the Dealership?
Gap insurance isn’t just available at auto dealerships; many insurers have it as part of a car insurance package. According to the Insurance Information Institute, purchasing gap insurance from an insurance carrier is often less expensive than purchasing it from a car dealership. For more information on how gap insurance can protect your financial future, talk to your local, experienced independent insurance agent today.
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PS Here’s a few words from one client that trusts Stromsoe Insurance Agency:
“Arranging for new car insurance was easy as faxing the sales receipt directly from the dealership to the office. Thanks for the personal service and prompt attention.”
Bob and Sarah Sandor – Fallbrook, CA – Client Since 2000
PPS Every policy is backed by our iron clad, 100% complete satisfaction guarantee. Ask for your copy today!