Yes, you can buy gap insurance at any time before a car loan or lease is paid off but only from some gap insurance providers, as others will only sell coverage to the first owner of a car with a recent model year. The standalone gap insurance provider Gap Direct sells policies regardless of the car’s age, for example. Gap Direct will cover a car as long as it has not already been declared a total loss.
On the other hand, gap insurance policies directly from dealerships or from major insurers like Allstate in coordination with a dealership usually need to be purchased at the same time as the car. Specific requirements vary by insurer, though, and it should be possible to find coverage for a car that you financed, leased, or refinanced during the past year or two.
In short, as long as you’re willing to check with multiple insurers, you can get gap insurance after you buy a car.
It’s also worth noting that you are unlikely to need gap insurance for a car that is more than a few years old, since gap insurance is designed to cover the difference between a car’s actual cash value (ACV) and the balance on a loan or lease. Car depreciation slows after the first year of ownership, meaning that an older car likely does not have a large gap between its value and the balance on a loan or lease.
For more information, check out WalletHub’s tips on whether gap insurance is worth it and where to buy gap insurance.
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