What is Gap Insurance and When Do I Need It?
Do you know what gap insurance is? It’s a type of car insurance that helps protect drivers if their vehicle is totaled and the insurance company payout is less than the amount owed on the car.
It can be a valuable addition to your car insurance policy, and today we’re going to tell you more about it! Keep reading to learn more about gap insurance and how it can benefit you.
What is Gap Insurance (GI)?
Gap insurance is a form of car insurance that covers the difference between what you owe on your loan and the value of your vehicle if it is totaled in an accident.
Full coverage, or comprehensive coverage, covers damage to your vehicle from theft, fire, and other perils, as well as liability costs if you cause damage to someone else’s property or injure someone in an accident. GI covers the difference between what you owe on your loan and the value of your vehicle if it is totaled in an accident.
GI is similar to collision coverage but has a few key differences. The most important difference between the two is that gap insurance only kicks in if your vehicle is totaled in an accident.
It does not cover any damage done to your vehicle during an accident. Since gap insurance only covers accidents where your car is totaled, it doesn’t have many similarities with liability insurance.
Imagine you’re driving your brand new car and you get into an accident. The repairs cost $5,000 but your insurance will only cover $3,000, leaving you with a $2,000 bill. This is where gap insurance comes in. Gap insurance covers the “gap” between the amount you owe on your car loan and the amount that your insurance will pay in the event of an accident.
It’s important to have gap insurance because it protects you from having to pay out of pocket for any damage to your car that exceeds your insurance coverage.
So, if you’re financing a new car, make sure you ask about gap insurance to help protect yourself in case of an accident.
How does gap insurance work?
Gap insurance is a type of coverage that helps to pay the difference between the amount you owe on your car loan and the actual cash value of your vehicle in the event of a total loss. If you have a loan or lease with a term of 4 years or longer, gap insurance is typically required by the lender.
However, even if it’s not required, gap insurance can still be a good idea. This is because, in the event of a total loss, most insurance policies will only cover the actual cash value of your vehicle, which may be less than what you owe on your loan. As a result, gap insurance can help to protect you from being left with a large bill in the event of an accident.
For example, let’s say you have a loan for $20,000 and your car is totaled in an accident. If the actual cash value of your car is $18,000, gap insurance would cover the $2,000 difference.
If you don’t have gap insurance and your car is totaled, you would be responsible for paying off the entire $20,000 loan. As you can see, gap insurance can be extremely helpful in protecting you from financial hardship and keeping you debt free in the event of an accident.
How much does gap insurance cost?
Gap insurance is typically offered by auto dealerships at the time of purchase, but it can also be purchased from most major auto insurance carriers. The cost of gap insurance depends on several factors, including the value of your vehicle and the deductible you choose.
However, it typically costs between $20 and $30 per year. Some lenders may require you to purchase GI if you finance your vehicle, so it’s important to check with your lender before buying a new car.
How long does gap insurance last?
Most gap insurance policies last for the duration of your loan, so if you have a five-year loan, your GI will also last for five years. Some lenders may require you to carry gap insurance for the full term of your loan, while others may allow you to cancel it once you’ve paid down a certain amount of the loan.
However, average gap insurance coverage usually lasts for two years or less. This is because, by this point, enough of the loan has been repaid that there is no longer a gap between what you owe and the depreciated value of the car.
If you’re thinking about canceling your gap insurance, be sure to check with your lender first to see if there are any restrictions.
Can I get gap insurance after I buy a car?
Gap insurance is typically offered by dealerships when you’re buying a new car, but it’s also possible to purchase it after the fact. However, it’s generally more expensive to buy gap insurance after you’ve already bought the car, so it’s best to decide if you want it before you make your purchase.
Should you buy gap insurance on a used car?
While this coverage can be beneficial, it is important to note that it is not always necessary. If you are buying a used car, there is a good chance that you will not owe as much on the loan as the car is worth.
In this case, gap insurance would not provide any benefit, and it would simply be an extra expense. Before you make the decision decide to purchase gap insurance, be sure to assess your needs and determine whether or not the coverage makes sense for you.
Is gap insurance worth it?
While it may seem like an unnecessary expense, gap insurance can save you a lot of money if your car is totaled or stolen. If you have an outstanding loan balance on your car, gap insurance will pay off the remaining amount so that you don’t have to come up with the money yourself.
In addition, gap insurance can also help to cover the cost of a new car if yours is totaled. If you’re financing a new car, the dealership may require you to have gap insurance to protect your investment. Ultimately, whether or not gap insurance is worth it depends on your circumstances.
However, if you’re financing a new car, it’s something to consider.
Where can you buy gap insurance?
Car dealerships and some insurance companies sell gap insurance.
Contact your insurance company ahead of time and get a quote for gap insurance before you go to the dealership to purchase your new automobile.
So, if you’re at the dealership and they ask if you want gap insurance added to your monthly vehicle payment, you’ll have a second quote to compare it to. Gap insurance purchased through an insurance company is frequently less expensive than buying it from a dealership.
GI is typically offered as an add-on to your regular car insurance policy, and it’s important to note that it doesn’t cover everything. There are usually exclusions for things like damage caused by natural disasters or theft.
One of the best things about gap insurance is that it can be fairly affordable, depending on the coverage you choose. You should consider adding gap insurance to your car insurance policy if you’re still making payments on your vehicle
Frequently Asked Questions about Gap Insurance
Q: What is gap insurance?
A: Gap insurance is an optional car insurance coverage that helps pay off your auto loan if your car is totaled or stolen and you owe more than the car’s depreciated value.
Q: Do I need gap insurance?
A: Whether or not you need gap insurance depends on your circumstances. If you’re still making payments on your car, it may be a good idea to add this coverage to your policy.
Q: How much does gap insurance cost?
A: The cost of gap insurance varies depending on the coverage you choose. However, it is typically fairly affordable.
Q: Where can I buy gap insurance?
A: Car dealerships and some insurance companies sell gap insurance. You can also contact your insurance company to see if they offer this coverage.
A: The main purpose of gap insurance is to cover the difference between what your car is worth and how much you owe on your loan.
Gap insurance protects you from owing money on your car if it is stolen or destroyed in a natural disaster. It can also cover you if the vehicle is damaged while in your possession and it costs more to repair it than what you could sell it for.
What does gap insurance NOT cover?
As with all types of insurance, there are some instances when gap insurance won’t pay out. For example:
If your car is stolen, gap insurance will only pay out if the thief doesn’t return it within 24 hours (or longer if agreed upon by both parties). If this happens, you’ll need comprehensive car insurance instead.
If you total your car or have an accident with someone else’s vehicle, GI won’t pay out since it only covers theft or damage due to natural disasters (floods, hurricanes, hail, etc.). This type of coverage is known as physical damage coverage or collision coverage.
Q: Is gap insurance the same as full coverage?
A: No, gap insurance is not the same as full coverage, they are two different types of auto insurance policies.
GI is a type of auto insurance that covers the difference between what you owe on your car and what it is worth at the end of its loan term. If you total your car and it’s worth more than what you owe on it, gap insurance will make up the difference.
Full coverage is an umbrella term for all types of auto insurance policies, including liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage. It’s important to note that many states require motorists buy some level of full coverage before they can drive legally. While gap insurance may be included in your full coverage policy, it’s not required by law like some other types of auto insurance (liability and collision).
Many drivers don’t know that they should be purchasing GI until they’re already driving their financed car. It’s certainly a bit of a catch-22—if you need a gap insurance plan, you’re probably already in a situation where you have to have one because you have no other choice.
Some states require that drivers have gap insurance coverage, but several states don’t. Because of this, it’s important to understand the circumstances in your state and hunt down the perfect policy before purchasing your car.
And if you’re sitting there thinking “but what if I just didn’t buy a gap insurance plan,” then we hate to inform you that your financing company will likely require that you do anyway before approving your financing.