Do I need GAP insurance?


GAP (Guaranteed Auto Protection) insurance is an extra coverage that protects one’s car during the early years of its loan or lease. It is recommended for drivers who are still paying for their car loan or had put less than 20% down payment on their new vehicles. In the event that the car gets totalled, GAP would cover the difference between the actual cash value (ACV) of the car and the remaining balance in one’s loan, and also pays one’s regular insurance deductible.

The car’s value would depreciate with continued use, and in a few months the vehicle would have less worth than what it had been. Because the car is not yet fully paid, drivers would have a high risk of losing more money if the vehicle gets totalled. During that time the car becomes severely damaged enough to be a “total loss”, companies would reimburse the driver with an amount less than what the driver had paid for it. GAP would cover that financial shortfall as long as the car had been severely damaged by accident, vandalism, fire, and other natural causes.

GAP is optional and may include physical damage coverage. Drivers must ask their insurers when planning to avail the coverage because it is not automatically added when they are regularly insured. Most companies offer GAP coverage, and it is available in almost all US states except in Los Angeles, Connecticut, New York, Washington, and Virginia.

GAP could also be purchased for used vehicles, and driver who had bought these kinds of cars would benefit from the coverage. But most car dealerships may not offer GAP coverage for their used vehicles, but there could be online companies that could provide for that. There is usually no GAP coverage for vehicles older than eight years. Some companies would let drivers purchase GAP coverage for their used car up to twenty-four months after buying their vehicle.

Despite its usefulness in new car purchases, there are some cases when GAP is not always needed. Drivers won’t need the coverage if they have enough money to pay for the financial shortfall. Also, some companies already provide GAP, or a similar method of paying loan, built into the vehicle’s insurance policy. With this in effect, the loan company would take care of the gap in value and some drivers may be able to purchase a vehicle that has the same value as the loan payoff if it is totalled.