Les Masterson has more than 20 years of have in journalism, editing and content creation. In his career, he has covered everything from health insurance to presidential politics. Our mission is to help you make educated policy decisions with confidence. We have an ad relationship with some of the offers included on this page. however, this doesn ’ t influence our column sagacity or recommendations. The rankings and listings of our reviews, tools and all other message are based on objective analysis, and we in full own our opinions. Gap policy is a type of car indemnity coverage that covers the difference between what you owe on your car and its actual cash value if it is damaged or totaled. It is an optional coverage, and you should consider buying it if you have leased or financed your vehicle.

Read this comprehensive lead to know what col policy covers and how you can get it. Key Highlights

  • If you have an accident while you’re still upside down on your loan or lease, gap insurance will pay the difference between what you owe on your car and how much it’s worth.
  • Gap insurance is optional coverage and is not required by any state as part of your car insurance policy.
  • It is a good idea to purchase gap insurance if you financed or leased your car.
  • Gap insurance is a type of auto insurance that covers your car if it’s stolen and not recovered.

What is gap insurance?

If your insurance company totals your vehicle by a report hazard, such as an accident, larceny, burn, flood, crack, vandalism, or hurricane, the insurance company will pay you the actual cash value for your car, if you have comprehensive examination and collision coverage. This amount is much well less than the come you still owe on your lend or the amount due for a lease bribe. When the measure of your actual cash value ( ACV ) payout is less than what you owe on your lease or loan, the loss from this fiscal deficit is the “ gap ” you can be left owing. This is where gap policy may save the sidereal day .

What does gap insurance cover?

If your cable car is stolen or totaled, gap policy will pay the remainder between the ACV of the vehicle and the current great libra on your loan or lease. Sometimes it will besides pay your even indemnity deductible. car owners much assume that if their car is totaled, it will be replaced at the come they paid, or at least the amount they owe. This is not so. That is why many car policy companies offer col policy ( or loan/lease payoff insurance ) as an optional coverage. You must besides have comprehensive examination and collision coverage to buy break coverage, but if you lease or finance your car, those are typically required .

What isn’t covered by gap auto insurance?

Gap insurance usually won’t pay for:

  • Overdue lease/loan payments
  • Costs for extended warranties, credit life insurance or other insurance purchased with the loan or lease
  • Carry-over balances from previous loans or leases
  • Financial penalties imposed under a lease for excessive use
  • Security deposits not refunded by the lessor
  • Amounts deducted by the primary insurer for wear and tear, prior damage, towing and storage
  • Equipment added to the car by the buyer, meaning that only factory-installed equipment is covered
  • Mechanical issues, such as engine or transmission failures, or any other car problems that are not losses covered by your car insurance policy

Does gap insurance cover theft?

Yes, col policy covers your car if it ’ south stolen and not recovered. It works with your comprehensive indemnity to cover larceny. Comprehensive will pay out improving to the actual cash value of your car, minus your deductible if your car is stolen. This coverage would then pay the difference between that amount and what you owe on your loanword .

How does gap insurance work?

Let ’ s look at an exemplar of how opening coverage refunds ferment to protect you when you owe money on your cable car and it ’ s stolen or totaled. This is how a “gap” occurs (using fictitious numbers):

  • You buy a car that costs $25,000 and drive it off the lot.
  • After paying the down payment, you owe $24,000 in car payments over five years (0% interest loan = $400 car payments).
  • You purchase comprehensive and collision coverage with a $500 deductible to protect you against damages and loss.
  • You have an accident while you’re still upside down on your loan or lease (meaning you owe more on a car than it’s worth) and your vehicle is totaled.
  • The insurance company determines that the actual cash value of the car is only $22,000, but at the time of the loss you still owe $23,500.
  • Gap insurance should pay the difference plus your deductible, totaling $2,000. (Note: not all gap policies pay the deductible).

Here are the line items:

  • Loan payoff at the time of accident: $23,500
  • Vehicle’s actual value at the time of accident: $22,000
  • Your deductible: $500
  • Physical damage insurance pays: $21,500 ($22,000 minus $500 deductible)
  • Gap insurance pays the difference between what is owed and what the physical damage insurance company pays (plus your deductible): $2,000

What is loan or lease coverage and how it is different from gap coverage?

While the terms gap insurance and loan/lease coverage are often used interchangeably, they aren ’ thyroxine quite the same coverage normally. Gap policy will pay the remainder between the come you inactive owe on a fomite and actual cash value ( ACV ) paid out by your car policy company. Lease/loan coverage typically has limitations on how much it will payout, such as 25 % over the determine ACV of your vehicle. Both are minus your deductible. For an example, say have a $ 500 collision deductible and total your vehicle that is valued at $ 18,500 but distillery owe $ 25,000 on it. The remainder between what you owe and what the value of is $ 6,500. After you pay your $ 500 deductible there is a $ 6,000 difference. With a opening insurance policy, it would pay out this full measure. With lease/loan coverage that pays only up to 25 % over the value of the vehicle it would only pay $ 4,625 ( 18,500 x 25 % = $ 4,625 ). so, with the lease/loan choice you would silent owe the remaining $ 1,375. To make indisputable lease/loan coverage would work for you, run the numbers. For example, if in the exemplar above the vehicle was worth $ 20,000 then 25 % of its value would be $ 5,000 and that is the same as the col ( $ 25,000 due – $ 20,000 paid by insurance company and your deductible = $ 5,000 ) so it would have covered the solid total. Another model, Let ’ s say you have loan/lease coverage that pays 25 % more than actual cash value of your car, and you buy a car for $ 40,000. then the car depreciates to $ 25,000 over time. The most you ’ vitamin d suffer reimbursed would be $ 31,250 minus the deductible after it ’ randomness declared a sum personnel casualty .

Do I need gap insurance?

If you financed or leased your car, gap policy may be a judicious option, says Penny Gusner, senior consumer analyst for CarInsurance.com. Here’s why you need gap insurance: many car owners don ’ t take into account the depreciation that takes place with a fresh car. Within minutes of driving off the batch, a newly car can be deserving 10 % less than what you merely paid. In our exercise above, if you owned the car for three days, and the car was totaled, you could owe 10 % to 20 % of the $ 24,000 ( $ 2,400 to $ 4,800 out of your pocket ) even though you purchased full coverage. And depreciation continues over the life of your car, specially in the inaugural five years you own it. According to CarFax reporting on current disparagement rates, the value of a new vehicle can drop by more than 20 % after the inaugural 12 months of ownership. then, for the future four years, you can expect your car to lose roughly 10 % of its value per annum. This means that a fresh car can be worth american samoa little as 40 % of its master buy price after five years.That means the payout you would get for the value of the car is likely to be much less than what you owe for at least the foremost several years .

If I bought my car outright, do I need gap insurance?

There ‘s no reason to buy this coverage if you bought a car with cash and own it without a lend. It is for when you owe more than the prize of your vehicle. If you have the car paid off and it ’ s no longer financed, you don ’ thymine owe anymore more than the car is worth, and so there would be no payout from gap coverage .

If I paid a high down payment, do I need gap insurance?

If you put down a decent devour payment, your vehicle doesn ’ thymine depreciate at a steadily pace and you ‘re paying down the balance of the loan each month, you typically wouldn ’ t need gap insurance coverage. Gap cable car indemnity is only needed if you have negative fairness in your car ( owe more than the value of the vehicle ) since this coverage merely pays for the balance wheel of the loanword left after the ACV is paid out when your cable car has been found to be a full passing by an insurance company .

Is gap insurance necessary & required by law?

While you need col indemnity if you owe more on a vehicle than its value, gap coverage international relations and security network ’ metric ton required by any state as part of your car insurance policy. Gap indemnity coverage is optional coverage ; however, it ’ s not rare for lease contracts to have opening indemnity included in them. Sometimes it ‘s referred to as car loan/lease coverage or loan/lease payoff coverage. If a lender of chartered cars requires gap insurance, they must include it within the lease ‘s price itself. This means that the monthly price quoted by the dealer must include gap coverage when they mandate you carry it. There are some fiscal institutions that may want you to have break coverage as part of your car indemnity policy on the car you ‘re purchasing. If this is the case, your loanword or lease papers should note this. If you have declined opening indemnity, a dealer shouldn ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate be able to add it on to your loanword amount or charge you for it in another way. even though it may be helpful if you owe more on the vehicle then its ACV and were to be in an accident, you should have the mighty to turn down this coverage and frankincense not be charged for it. For exercise, the California Car Buyer ’ south Bill of Rights requires disclosure of the price of items normally packed into loans, such as larceny etching on windows and other car parts, break policy or offer avail contracts. In general, dealers anywhere should provide car buyers with an enumerate price tilt for all these items, such as warranties and indemnity, if the items are being financed. If you have a charge for opening insurance from your lender and don ’ t have this coverage, discuss the matter beginning with the finance company that added into your payment. Unless you signed paperwork stating that you would add opening coverage to the car at the clock of buy as part of your finance or purchase agreement you should be able to decline it and get a refund. If you don ’ metric ton want break coverage and have problems getting it removed, try contacting your state agency ‘s consumer division. The office of the policy regulator should be able to help you .

Is gap insurance worth it?

The answer to this interrogate depends on your situation. Gap insurance may be worth it if you owe a fortune more than what the car ‘s worth. sol, for example, if you bought an $ 80,000 cable car and only put down $ 5,000, you may want to get opening insurance so you ‘re not stick having to make up the difference if an insurance company totals your car. If the outstanding loanword or rent balance is only slenderly more than the vehicle ‘s, you may want to luck it. In that lawsuit, it ‘s a good theme to put some money aside in case you need it if an insurance company totals your car. In addition to depreciation, you may find gap insurance worth the money for these reasons:

  • You owe more on your loan than what your car is worth
  • You made a low down payment on your car, under 20%
  • You don’t have enough savings to pay the gap between your loan and your car’s value
  • You drive more than 15,000 miles a year, as this accelerates your car’s depreciation
  • The model car you have depreciates at a faster rate than the typical average

Does gap insurance always pay out?

It pays out a long as the total loss claim international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate denied and you have car policy coverage in effect. however, if you have missed car payments, that sum will be deducted, says Gusner. For example, if you are late on a car requital of $ 400, that sum would be deducted from your opening policy pay out .

When gap insurance doesn’t pay?

There are instances when gap coverage won ’ triiodothyronine pay out. For example, if the claim for the totaled or stolen car is denied for some reason, or if your car insurance coverage lapsed, your opening indemnity won ’ triiodothyronine come into play. And, because it ‘s limited to claims that declare your car a sum loss, it wouldn ’ metric ton cover the pursue, which is covered under other types of cable car indemnity :

  • Injuries: Gap insurance does not cover medical bills. Your bodily injury liability would pay for medical expenses for those you injure in an accident you cause. Your own injuries would be covered by the other driver’s liability insurance or your personal injury protection or MedPay insurance.
  • Property damage you cause: Damage you do to another car or someone else’s property would not be covered by gap insurance — your property damage liability would.
  • Damage to your car that isn’t your fault that doesn’t result in a total loss: Even if your car sustains serious damage, gap insurance will only cover it if it is considered a total loss and you can no longer drive it. The other driver’s property damage liability would pay for damage to your car. Or, collision insurance would cover it, regardless of fault. In both cases, gap insurance would not cover the claim because the car wouldn’t be declared totaled.

Will gap insurance pay your deductible?

The answer depends upon your gap indemnity policy. Some policies pay the deductible and some do n’t. When it pays the elementary policy deductible sum, the deductible measure is n’t actually reimbursed back to you. Rather, the primary indemnity deductible is taken from the payout of your totaled vehicle and covered as part of your unpaid lend balance, which gap policy pays .

How to get gap insurance for cars?

You can buy gap insurance for cars from the following:

  • The bank or financial institution that loaned you the money to buy the car
  • The dealership where you bought the car
  • Your car insurance company
  • From a company that specializes in stand-alone gap insurance policies

Can I get gap insurance without primary insurance?

You need to have a criterion car policy policy to get this coverage. For your col policy to be in effect, you need to carry physical wrong coverages of collision and comprehensive on your vehicle in addition to your state ’ mho required minimum liability insurance requirements. This “ full coverage ” of liability and physical damage coverages is besides normally required by the bank or lend institution where you got your car loan. even if you get stand-alone break policy, you calm need your country ‘s minimum car policy coverage. That ‘s the policy coverage you need to drive legally.

Can I purchase gap insurance on a used vehicle?

Yes, typically you can. State laws and insurance companies ’ guidelines vary, but there are opening policies that are available for use cars that are financed. It ‘s beneficial when the value of a fomite, whether new or used, depreciates while you still owe money on the lend or lease .

Is gap insurance acceptable as proof of insurance?

A opening policy international relations and security network ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate accepted by any Department of Motor Vehicles as proof of insurance. It ’ s not the proper type of insurance needed to show fiscal duty when you ‘re going to register, or renew registration, on your vehicle. Showing proof of col coverage to jurisprudence enforcement wouldn ’ thymine help if they ask you for proof of insurance. It is optional coverage that only helps you out in a full loss position, it doesn ’ t provide the state-mandated indebtedness coverage that police want to verify that you have on your vehicle .

Can I get gap insurance on a loan that is not for a car?

You can not get gap coverage for lines of recognition that may be used for purposes early than a vehicle. It doesn ’ metric ton work with mortgage loans, citation lines, balloon payments or other types of non-vehicle particular loans. If you have used money from your Home Equity Line of Credit ( HELOC ) to purchase your fomite, col insurance would not cover this type of loan since the HELOC is not specifically to be used for a fomite loan. Gap coverage is normally only able to be purchased and used when you have received your money through a conventional car lend or lease to obtain your vehicle .

Can I buy gap insurance if my loan is from an individual?

gap policy providers won ’ metric ton offer coverage if your loanword is through a private individual. When dealing with a bank or finance company, the col policy carrier knows the terms, sees the paperwork, etc. With a private party lend, it is hard for the gap carrier to be assured that the loanword is only for the fomite, payments were made properly, etc. – all things that an insurance company requires .

Can you buy gap insurance anytime?

break providers ‘ terms and guidelines differ ; in general gap policy is available on new, used and refinance cars, trucks and SUV ’ south leased, purchased or refinanced within the past 12 months. so if you know within the year after finance, leasing or refinancing your fomite that you owe more than its ACV opening coverage could be beneficial for you .

FAQs about Gap Insurance

If you financed your vehicle and the col policy is part of your vehicle ‘s financed monthly payment, it is doubtful that you would receive any refund for your break indemnity. That is because when the coverage gets paid for monthly — as part of your financed monthly payment — the coverage is used that same month. If you paid for your opening indemnity policy in full, you will need to contact the company that sold you the policy to see if there is any idle agio that should be refunded spinal column to you when you trade in or pay off your car.

You can cancel col coverage if you determine that you no longer need it. Gap policies, terms and fees vary. To find out about how to cancel your existing gap policy, you ’ ll need to read through the contract. If you even have questions, contact the insurance company directly. If you recently purchased the policy, depending upon your opening insurance company, you can receive a wax refund if you cancel within a certain time menstruation ( typically 30 days ). A cancellation fee may apply. After that initial menstruation, if you cancel the policy, you normally will receive a prorate refund. besides, any refund would come entirely if you paid in broad upfront for the break indemnity policy. If your gap indemnity coverage were set up so that you paid a monthly sum for it ( for example, included in with your monthly cable car loan ), you should placid be able to cancel the gap policy. however, you shouldn ’ t expect a refund since the dowry you paid each month would have been used in that month already. If your gap coverage is depart of your car policy, then to remove, typically, you just need to contact your policy company to make the variety of removing it and no long be billed for it each month or policy term. If you ’ re still inverted on your car ’ south loan, gap insurance is likely hush needed. If you immediately owe less than the car ‘s ACV, you could cancel your opening coverage since it would not pay out if your car were totaled out by an policy company after an accident. If you no longer want your current opening insurance policy because you believe you paid besides much for it, shop around to see if a cheaper policy is possible. If it is, then see about canceling out your current one before buying the new one. If you bought your opening policy through a franchise or finance party, it is quite possible that you could find a policy with a credit coupling or car policy company for much less. We recommend shopping around for break indemnity, just as you should for the car policy policy for a newfangled car.

Stand alone gap indemnity is a branch policy, so it ’ sulfur independent from your existing car insurance policy. typically, gap indemnity is added to your standard coverage. however, some companies sell stand-alone break policies, though there are identical few. If you buy stand-alone policy, be certain to check the details, as it may be more expensive than buying it from your existing company, and may have limitations on what it pays out. For example, stand-alone policies may cap the measure they pay out, and may be sold for just a biennial or three-year term.

No.Being recently with your car payment won ’ deoxythymidine monophosphate evacuate out your gap policy. however, your gap policy won ’ metric ton pay out for the late payments if you total your vehicle and you ‘re behind on payments. Gap coverage normally pays out the difference between your bust up cable car ’ s ACV and the remaining balance due to your spleen holder on your car lend. But there are exceptions and conditions to gap policies for certain items, such as late car payments. If you have delinquent payments or were granted a payment vacation so that some payments were moved to the end of your loan, this amount wouldn ’ metric ton be covered by your gap policy.

No, it wo n’t cover your cable car if it ‘s declared a sum loss but your claim is denied for coverage or if you did not have chief policy coverage on the vehicle at the time of the accident.

Gap coverage ca n’t be transferred to a different vehicle or lend. If you ‘re trading in, selling, or buying a modern vehicle, you ‘ll need to get a new policy to cover the newly financed vehicle.

Gap applies to a specific loan or rent and typically is non-transferable. If you already had a gap policy in home, that coverage would normally be voided out when you refinance a fomite — you would need to get a modern gap policy on it.

No, it does n’t normally have a deductible.

A gap release is different in that it is an agreement under which the creditor agrees to waive the leaseholder or debtor ’ s obligation for the difference between the “ col measure ” and the actual cash value of the place. On a leased car, the cost of gap indemnity or release is broadly rolled into the rent payments.

This coverage type began in the early 1980s to help those insured who purchased a car and found themselves owning more than the car was worth if it was in a total personnel casualty situation. The higher price of centrifugal vehicles, longer-term car loans and the increasing popularity of leasing in the 1980s is what created opening auspices as a type of insurance for car owners.

It will continue for the duration of your break policy. You do n’t need this coverage once you ‘ve paid off your car loanword, or even once you owe less than the actual cash value of your cable car. At that time, you should notify your insurance company that you want to cancel the coverage. otherwise, it will remain in force until the end of the gap policy terms .

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