No, gap insurance will not cover a totaled car without insurance unless the gap policy specifically allows it, which is highly unlikely. In most cases, you cannot purchase gap insurance or file a gap insurance claim if you don’t have collision or comprehensive coverage.
If you purchased gap insurance from a dealer but have allowed your car insurance to lapse, you are likely violating your contract. Gap insurance is really insurance for your loan or lease, not your car, and any reputable lender or lessor will require you to maintain full coverage on a leased or financed vehicle.
For more information, check out WalletHub’s guide to 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.
To find out if you have gap insurance, you should check both your existing car insurance policy and the terms of your loan or lease. Drivers can get gap insurance through their insurance company as an add-on or separately through their auto lender, so it’s important for drivers to check both places.… read full answer
How To Know If You Have Gap Insurance
1. Check with your car insurance company.
You can look through records such as your recent bills, or you can log in to your account on the company’s website. If this fails, you should call to ask about your coverage.
2. Check with your auto lender.
If you didn’t buy gap insurance from your normal insurance company, you could have purchased it from the dealership, bank, or credit union that supplied you with a loan or lease. It can be easy to overlook gap insurance from one of these sources since it’s sometimes included in your contract automatically.
3. Check your financial documents.
If you do not have gap insurance through your dealership, lender, or car insurance company, you probably are not covered. But as a last resort, you can look through your financial records – such as your online bills, credit card statements, and checkbook – to try to find some clues.
Gap insurance, which covers the difference between your loan balance and the car’s actual value, can come from a dealership, bank, credit union, or car insurance company. It’s unlikely that you bought a stand-alone gap insurance policy without realizing it, so your first step should be to check with the obvious candidates.
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.
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