Yes, gap insurance can help you get a new car. Although it does not outright pay for a new car, gap insurance pays for the difference between the current value of your car and your remaining lease or loan balance when your car is totaled. Because most insurance companies impose limits to gap coverage, it can only be used together with liability, collision, and comprehensive coverage to cover the full cost of a totaled vehicle.
Without gap insurance, you'll still have to pay off the difference between the actual cash value of the car and your loan amount. Having gap insurance added to your existing car insurance will help you cover your totaled car loan so you can focus on getting another loan or lease for a new car.
Gap insurance is definitely worth the money if you owe more on your car loan or lease than the car is worth. For example, if you paid a small down payment on your car, your loan term is 4-5 years or your car will depreciate quickly, you should consider getting gap insurance. 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.
You can usually get a gap insurance refund if your car was traded in, sold, or paid off early. Gap insurance refunds are not given simply because you never filed a gap insurance claim and they usually require policies to have been paid in full up front.
If you are cancelling within 30 days after the policy’s start date, you might be able to get a full refund, minus any cancellation fees. In other cases, only a partial refund may be possible. The details will depend on your policy and your state’s laws.… read full answer
When You Can Get a Gap Insurance Refund
You are paying off, selling, or trading in the covered car.
You are switching to a different gap insurance company.
Your loan balance is no longer more than the car’s actual value, though it’s best to leave a cushion of $1,000-$2,000.
If you need a gap insurance refund because you’re selling or trading in the car, be sure to wait until the car no longer legally belongs to you before canceling your gap insurance. Then, you will need to give the appropriate paperwork to your insurance provider, such as proof of sale or auto payoff letter.
Some gap insurance companies might also require an odometer verification showing the mileage on your car, which you can get from a dealership before you sell or trade in the vehicle.
Similarly, if you’re refinancing, wait to cancel your gap insurance until your previous loan is no longer in effect.
When You Cannot Get a Gap Insurance Refund
On the other hand, drivers cannot get a gap insurance refund if the insured car is declared a total loss before the policy’s expiration date. In this case, the gap insurance will pay for the difference between the car’s value and the loan balance, but drivers will not be eligible for a refund for the remaining months of coverage.
How Long Does It Take to Get a Gap Insurance Refund?
Gap insurance refunds usually take 4-6 weeks. Staying in contact with your gap insurance provider and promptly returning signed paperwork can expedite the process, though.
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.
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