No, you do not need gap insurance because gap coverage is never required by state law, and most lenders and lessors will not require it, either. Gap insurance is still worth buying if you owe more on a financed car than the vehicle’s actual cash value, though. Cars depreciate in value quickly, and gap insurance can help prevent you from owing money on a car you cannot use after a serious accident. It is a relatively inexpensive way to protect yourself financially.
When Gap Insurance Is Needed
You don’t have enough savings to pay off your loan or lease if the car is totaled or stolen.
You made a small down payment.
You have a long-term loan – usually more than four years.
You drive often or on rough roads, depreciating the car’s value more quickly.
You have a car that depreciates in value rapidly, such as a luxury sedan or electric vehicle.
Your lender or lessor requires it.
When you consider how affordable gap insurance is, it should be an easy choice. Gap insurance only costs around $20-$40 a year when added to an existing insurance policy.
Yes, you need gap insurance if you have full coverage and still owe money on a car loan or lease. Gap insurance is needed even if you have full coverage because full coverage does not cover the difference between what you owe on a loan/lease and the car’s actual cash value, like gap insurance does.… read full answer
When You Need Gap Insurance If You Have Full Coverage
You’re financing/leasing a new vehicle for a long term (60+months).
You made a small down payment on a new vehicle (less than 20%).
You rolled over negative equity from a previous auto loan.
You financed a vehicle that has a high depreciation rate.
Your contract has a high interest rate.
Your lender or lessor requires gap insurance.
The Difference Between Gap Insurance and Full Coverage
Gap insurance – short for guaranteed asset protection insurance, and sometimes called loan/lease payoff coverage – protects you financially from having to cover the cost of depreciation, or the difference between what you still owe on your contract and what your insurance company says the vehicle is actually worth today. Collision and comprehensive protection – the main components of full coverage, along with liability insurance – won’t cover that. As a result, you need gap insurance even if you have full coverage, especially if your situation leads to a relatively large gap to cover.
It’s important to remember that while gap insurance isn’t required by any insurer or state, having gap insurance on top of full collision and comprehensive coverage will probably be required by your lender if you’re financing/leasing a new vehicle, and even some used vehicles. In addition, gap insurance is meant specifically for drivers who still owe a balance on their vehicle, so if you own your car outright and have full coverage, you don’t have a need for gap insurance.
Gap insurance is worth it if you paid a small down payment on your car, your loan term is 4-5 years, or your car will depreciate quickly. Gap insurance is never mandated by state law, and few lenders or lessors require it, so the decision to buy it depends on personal circumstances.… read full answer
Gap Insurance Is Worth It When:
You don’t have the savings to pay off your loan or lease if the car is totaled or stolen.
Your down payment is less than 20% of the car’s value.
Your loan will last four years or more.
You drive more miles than average, which reduces the car’s value faster.
Your car is a make and model that depreciates especially fast, like a luxury sedan or electric vehicle.
You are a single-car household and need a car to get around.
Your loan includes negative equity from your last car.
Since gap insurance covers the difference between the car’s actual cash value and the amount you owe, researching these two numbers will be a key deciding factor in whether gap insurance is worth it.
Why Getting Gap Insurance Is Worth It
For example, say you buy a car for $20,000 and your down payment is $2,000. This small down payment suggests that gap insurance might be worth it, but it’s still a good idea to check the car’s anticipated value after a year to determine if there will be a gap. If the car is worth $12,000 after a year but you’ll still owe $15,000, gap insurance could be a smart investment. If you don’t buy gap insurance and this car is totaled after a year, you’ll still owe $3,000 even though you can no longer drive it.
On the other hand, if your down payment is large enough or the car’s resale value is high enough that you’ll never owe more than the car is worth, gap insurance is unnecessary. Similarly, if you do owe more than the car is worth but you have the resources to pay the difference if the worst happens, it might be worth taking the risk.
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