No credit unions offer their own car insurance, but many credit unions have partnerships with car insurance companies that allow members to qualify for special discounted premiums. Many large, well-known auto insurance companies have partnerships with credit unions, including Geico, Travelers, and Liberty Mutual.
Gap insurance is an optional type of car insurance coverage that pays the difference between the balance on a car loan or lease and what the vehicle is actually worth if it is declared a total loss. Gap insurance ensures you don't have to make payments on a car that is no longer drivable.… read full answer
Gap coverage usually only applies when a driver has comprehensive and collision insurance. Collision or comprehensive coverage will pay out the car’s value if it’s a total loss, and then gap insurance fills in the rest.
Gap Insurance Example
Imagine you buy a $50,000 car with a down payment of $10,000. Three years later, the car is worth $20,000, but you still owe $24,000 on the loan. If the car is totaled in an accident or stolen and declared a total loss, your normal insurance policy will pay $20,000, or the car’s actual cash value (ACV), minus your deductible.
New car price
Loan balance after one year (4% APR/5-year loan)
Actual cash value after one year
Insurance payment without gap coverage
Gap insurance payment
If you don’t have gap insurance, you’ll still owe $4,000, and you’ll still have to pay off the car even though you can’t drive it. But if you do have gap insurance, it will pay the $4,000. Some gap insurance policies even pay your deductible, though most do not.
It’s also important to keep in mind that the money you receive from gap insurance will go to your lender or lessor, not toward your purchase of a new car. If you’re interested in coverage that will help you buy a car in the future, look into new car replacement insurance instead.
Finally, you can buy gap insurance from a dealership, bank, credit union, or car insurance company. It’s not legally mandated in any state, though car dealerships will sometimes require it on a leased or financed vehicle. If you sell a car, pay it off early, or trade it in, you can usually receive a gap insurance refund.
If your car is totaled and you still owe money on the loan, the insurance company will pay your lender for the car’s value, and you will be responsible for any remaining balance if the check is less than the loan amount. If you have gap insurance, it will cover the difference between the car’s value and the loan balance. Otherwise, you will need to continue making payments for as long as it takes to bring your loan balance to zero.… read full answer
If your car is totaled and another driver is at-fault, their liability insurance will pay for the car’s value up to their policy limits. If you were at fault, you can file a collision claim. After you receive a settlement from the insurance company, you can determine if you still have a balance left on your loan.
After your lender has gotten the insurance check, you can file a gap insurance claim immediately, assuming you previously purchased coverage and still owe money to your lender. Be sure to follow any instructions in your policy. For instance, some gap insurance policies instruct you to continue making payments to your lender until the claim can be processed.
Unfortunately, your options are limited if you don’t have gap insurance and your total loss check does not cover your loan balance. You can try to negotiate with the insurance company to have them increase their estimate of your car’s value. However, you will need evidence that your car was worth more than the insurer calculated, and there is no guarantee that you will get more money. Otherwise, you are stuck continuing to make payments, though you could try asking your lender for a payment plan.
The best way to get cheaper car insurance is to compare quotes from multiple companies and then switch to whichever insurer offers the coverage you want at the cheapest rate. Other ways to get cheaper car insurance include taking advantage of discounts, improving your driving record, and raising your credit score.… read full answer
10 Ways to Get Cheaper Car Insurance
1. Compare quotes every 6-12 months.
Every car insurance company calculates premiums slightly differently, so the quote you get from one company can easily be hundreds of dollars more expensive than another company’s quote. Getting quotes from multiple insurers every time you need to renew your policy can help you realize if you’re overpaying for the same amount of coverage.
2. Take advantage of discounts.
All major car insurance companies offer a variety of discounts, which can save drivers as much as 35% in some cases. For instance, many insurers offer multi-policy and multi-car discounts, as well as good student and good driver discounts, and more.
3. Increase your deductible.
Raising your deductible will lower your premium, though it’s important to choose a deductible amount that you can afford in an emergency. A car insurance deductible is an amount that you have to pay out of pocket before your insurer will cover the rest. Deductibles apply to several types of coverage, including collision and comprehensive insurance.
Usage-based insurance is a type of car insurance that calculates your premium based on your driving habits. Each company’s usage-based program varies, but most consider your total mileage, braking, acceleration, and speed. These programs are ideal for safe drivers, especially those who do not use their cars for long commutes or frequent trips.
6. Choose a car that is inexpensive to insure.
Cars that are particularly fast, powerful, and/or costly to repair are among the most expensive to insure. Insurers also charge higher premiums for cars that are more likely to be stolen. The next time you go car shopping, compare insurance quotes for different models in advance with this in mind. And if your premiums are prohibitively expensive now, consider trading in your vehicle for a car that is cheap to insure.
7. Take a defensive driving course.
In some states, insurance companies are required to give you a discount for completing a defensive driving course. Even where it isn't mandatory, insurers will sometimes provide a discount to encourage customers to improve their driving techniques.
If your insurer does not lower your premium just for taking a course, working on your driving skills will still pay off in the long run and help you keep your record clean. On that note, certain states also allow you to take a course in order to prevent driver’s license points from affecting your car insurance rates.
8. Consider your coverage types and amounts.
All the different types of car insurance can make it difficult to determine what exactly is worth paying for. At a minimum, you need to fulfill your state’s requirements and also purchase any coverage your lender or lessor requires. But beyond that, you can weigh whether each add-on coverage option is worth the price.
Moving violations like speeding tickets signal to your insurer that you are a risky driver, as do serious convictions like reckless driving. By driving safely, you can keep yourself safe and your premium low. If you have tickets or at-fault accidents on your driving record already, work on driving carefully from now on, since they will only affect your rate for a few years.
10. Check out local and regional companies.
Large car insurance companies spend billions on advertising every year, but smaller insurers may be able to provide the cheapest premiums in some cases. So, when you’re shopping around, make sure to compare quotes from companies of all sizes. You can use WalletHub’s cheap car insurance guide as a starting point. Just click on your state to compare the cheapest insurers.
Car insurance premiums are based on drivers’ individual risk factors as well as the coverage types and limits they choose. Check out WalletHub's full guide on the factors that affect car insurance rates for more information.
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