How Does Gap Insurance Work?

Are you in a position where there is a huge distinction between what you owe on your car and what your insurance will pay? Such situations call for ‘gap insurance’, which as the name itself suggests, covers this gap. Keep on reading to learn more.

Imagine, you walk onto the lot of searching for a reasonable vehicle for your drive — a pre-owned one in the event that you can get it. However, while in transit to take a gander at that economy hatchback that gets 40 miles for each gallon, the vendor sees your eye meander toward that enormous, excellent luxury car — the German one. He says, “I realize you had your heart set on the hatchback, however we are running a special this month. I can get you in that beauty today for zero down at 2.9% APR. You know you need to test-drive. Please, how about we do it.” Then before you know it, you have a $65,000 vehicle with a $700 per month vehicle installment.

The only issue is that when you get the keys and drive the vehicle off the lot, it is currently worth just $40,000. On the off chance that you get into a mishap and total the vehicle, you will be on the snare for that extra $25,000. That is the place where a seemingly insignificant thing called gap insurance comes in. All in all, how does gap insurance work? We will mention to you what it is and why — in the event that you follow our recommendation — you never should need it. We should get straight into it!

What Is Gap Insurance?

Gap insurance secures drivers who have financed or rented their vehicles and owe more cash on the vehicle than it is worth — the present circumstance is in some cases called being “upside down” or “underwater.” Being upside down usually ends up happening to people who account another vehicle, on the grounds that new vehicles may lose value quicker than you take care of the advance. You are particularly liable to be upside down on the off chance that you have made a more modest initial installment or decided on a long credit period, as that implies your advance equilibrium will diminish all the more gradually. Being upside down on your vehicle credit is not really something terrible, but it sets you in a place of extra financial danger. In the event that your new vehicle is added up to or taken, your complete or crash inclusions will conceal to the vehicle’s real money value. In any case, the distinction between the amount you owe on the credit and the vehicle’s worth would be dependent upon you to pay. Gap insurance covers that sum.

How Does Gap Insurance Work?

Your car loan lender may necessitate that you have had an impact or exhaustive vehicle insurance until you take care of your loan. Yet, these strategies as a rule cover just the real money value of your vehicle — your vehicle’s market value at the hour of the occurrence. So how does gap insurance work? Gap insurance is discretionary coverage and works by helping cover any distinction between what your insurance will pay — likely your vehicle’s cash value — and what you owe on your vehicle credit. In case you’re upside down on your vehicle credit, it very well may be a smart thought to purchase gap insurance coverage.

Suppose you owe $9,000 on your vehicle however its fairly estimated worth is just $5,000. If you somehow happened to get in an accident and destroy your vehicle, your insurance organization may cover that $5,000, apart from your deductible. Yet, you would in any case owe another $4,000 to your loan specialist. A gap insurance policy could help cover that $4,000 deficiency.

While comprehensive and crash coverage might be needed by loan specialists, gap coverage is generally not needed. If your bank says you should purchase gap insurance, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau recommends that you request to see where that prerequisite is noted in your deal. On the off chance that it is not there, your bank can’t expect you to buy the coverage, as per the CFPB.

Gap Insurance Cost

Let us talk a little about dollars. There are two spots from where you can purchase gap insurance:

  • from the finance organization at the dealer and
  • your customary car insurance supplier.

On the off chance that you purchase at the retail location — either from the dealer or the bank financing your credit — it is generally unbelievably costly, and you pay everything in advance. We’re talking $500 – 700! That cost really gets added to your credit sum, which implies that you will likewise be charged interest on what you paid for gap insurance! Keeping this in mind, do not accept gap insurance from the business or bank. On the off chance that you as of now have a vehicle loan you can’t escape, check your coverage with an autonomous insurance agent to see whether gap insurance is incorporated and if you actually need it or not. Most vehicle insurance approaches attach about $20 to your yearly expense to incorporate gap insurance. An agent can likewise check the remainder of your policy to ensure you have the correct coverage you need at the best cost.

How Do I Know If I Have Gap Insurance?

There are two spots to check whether you as of now have gap insurance or not. These are:

  • your current vehicle insurance policy and
  • the particulars of your lease or loan

Gap coverage is at times sold as an extra from the vendor when financing a vehicle, so verify whether you are already paying for it before you add coverage. Regardless of whether you do have coverage, it’s awesome to check whether you can get less expensive gap insurance somewhere else, as car dealers frequently charge more for it.

Do I Need Gap Insurance?

Gap insurance would be a good option for you, if you find yourself in the following situations:

  • The down payment you made was small — or you made no down payment at all: If you did not make a generous down payment, there is a possibility you were upside down not long after you left the vehicle lot. New vehicles devalue rapidly — they can lose 25% or a greater amount of their worth in the principal year alone.
  • You picked a long loan term: When you spread your vehicle loan installments throughout an extensive stretch of time, it additionally takes more time to develop value. On the off chance that you financed your vehicle for a very long time or more, you might need to consider gap insurance.
  • Your vehicle make and model devalues rapidly: Some cars deteriorate more rapidly than others. In case you are getting one of those vehicles, purchasing a gap insurance policy could be a smart way to go about it.
  • You intend to put a ton of miles on your vehicle: The quicker you put miles on your vehicle, the quicker it will devalue. The normal American driver travels 13,476 miles each year, as indicated by March 2018 information from the U.S. Division of Transportation’s Federal Highway Administration. On the off chance that you think you will put a great deal of miles on your vehicle every year, the subsequent increase in yearly devaluation may make gap insurance a decent choice.
  • You are renting the vehicle: Gap insurance might be required in the event that you are leasing. It is regularly included in the agreement you sign for your lease — now and again, it is incorporated free of charge and in others, it is an optional component you can purchase for an additional charge.

It is important to note that you do not need to keep a gap insurance policy forever, in case you decide to purchase it. In cases where it is not mandatory (or optional), you can have your gap insurance policy cancelled.

How Do I Get Gap Insurance?

Gap insurance is commonly bought at the time you purchase exhaustive and collision coverage, however you could possibly get coverage after you purchase a vehicle. Be that as it may, a few guarantors have necessities to buy gap insurance, like the vehicle needing to be close to two or three model years old. Most accident coverage organizations sell gap insurance, and there is a decent possibility that your vehicle sales center does, as well. In any case, gap insurance through a seller is regularly more costly. Gap insurance added to impact and complete coverage can add about $20 each year to your insurance charge, as per the Insurance Information Institute.

How Long Does It Take For Gap Insurance To Pay?

Most insurers will handle a payment in a matter of 30 to 45 days of a case being documented. In certain states, safety net providers (insurers) can likewise take up to a month to consent to cover the harms. Others have various guidelines; Texas, for instance, expects installments to be made in a matter of five days after a guarantor consents to pay for the case. This implies that the real time span for gap insurance to pay out will change dependent on state guidelines and the intricacy of the case. Most guarantors will allow you to investigate the situation with a case after you have documented it, so you ought to have the option to follow what stage your case is in. You will additionally have a cases’ agent, or delegate, who you can contact with inquiries concerning the situation with your case.

When Does Gap Insurance Not Pay?

1. Your main motor insurer does not pay out

This is the main reason behind why a GAP Insurance policy does not pay out. For a GAP policy to work, your principle motor guarantor should cover the episode you are claiming for, and pay out the market value for the vehicle. The GAP Insurance would then be able to top up this settlement. Assuming the motor insurer does not pay out, you can’t guarantee on the GAP. Instances of when your engine guarantor may not pay out would be when you have been careless in leaving the keys for the vehicle unguarded. Different models would incorporate drunk driving or utilizing the vehicle for barred utilization like courier or taxi use. Another model would be the place where the vehicle endures a major mechanical issue, for instance, a motor or gearbox explosion. Your engine insurance is probably not going to cover this (except if it happened in light of a flood maybe), regardless of whether the vehicle is or is not economic to fix.

2. You do not have an ‘insurable risk’ on the vehicle

This implies that you have taken the GAP policy out in your name, however you have no capability of a monetary misfortune if the vehicle is discounted. An illustration of this would be the place where you take a GAP policy in your name, however the vehicle possession and the finance agreement is in another person’s name. On the off chance that the vehicle is discounted than you can’t guarantee for a misfortune as the vehicle is not in your name. You should have an insurable risk in the vehicle to be qualified to take a GAP Insurance policy for it.

3. The vehicle is being used for certain commercial activities

Most GAP Insurance items do not cover some business exercises with standard cover. This may even be the situation when your motor insurer covers you. One territory of business use frequently barred from standard cover is ‘hire and reward’. This can incorporate cabs, private recruit, dispatch, and escort work. Different territories of business work frequently not covered would be educational cost or driving school vehicles. Absolute Loss Gap does not at present cover hire and reward, or driving school vehicles.

4. You have stopped paying for the policy

You may have chosen to pay for the GAP cover consistently, or through a credit arrangement. In the event that you quit paying this, your cover could end naturally.

5. You sell the vehicle or change owner

On the off chance that you sell your vehicle, then the GAP cover typically stops consequently. This can likewise be the situation in the event that you change the responsibility for vehicle on the V5 report between relatives. For instance, in the event that a dad purchases the vehicle and, transfers the vehicle to one of his youngsters, the original receipt of purchase for the vehicle is as yet in the father’s name. The fact that the vehicle has changed keepers to his children, could then keep him from making a GAP guarantee.

6. You have already made a claim on the GAP policy

GAP Insurance in many ways is a ‘one time only’ sort of cover. You can possibly guarantee on it once when the vehicle is discounted. Assuming you effectively guarantee for the vehicle, that is the end of the policy. This is even the situation in the event that you have some time left on the cover. In the event that you supplant the vehicle you have claimed for, you will require another GAP policy for this vehicle.

7. There is no ‘GAP’ to fill

Keep in mind that GAP cover is intended to top up your engine safety net providers settlement back to maybe the value you paid for the vehicle, or to clear a money or rent repayment. In the event that there is no ‘gap’ between the motor insurer plan settlements and the initial value you paid (assuming that is the GAP you have bought), then your cover has no distinction to make up. Another model where there might be no GAP is if your motor insurer replaces the vehicle for you. Maybe your vehicle was absolutely new, and your safety net provider has given another brand-new substitution to you. This may not frequently occur, yet on the off chance that it does, you have no misfortune to cover. Ordinarily, you will see your GAP cover essentially moved to your new vehicle for nothing out of pocket.

8. Your GAP Insurance policy has expired

All GAP items have a time of cover. At the point when the policy reaches a conclusion you can’t ordinarily renew or get new cover as you have possessed the vehicle for an excessively long time now. The choice of how long you need GAP cover for your vehicle is one you should make at the start.

9. You are not fully comprehensively insured

Most GAP strategies will necessitate that you are completely thoroughly guaranteed for the full policy term. Assuming you are just third party covered, your motor insurer would not pay out for a shortcoming guarantee, or a robbery. On the off chance that your fundamental motor insurer does not pay out, you can’t claim on the GAP cover.

10. Your vehicle does not appear in Glasses Guide

You may have known about Glasses Guide. It is generally utilized by guarantors and motor sellers to work out the estimation of a vehicle. Assuming your vehicle is not recorded in Glasses Guide, many GAP items would not cover you. This is basically in light of the fact that GAP is intended to cover from the ‘discount’ estimation of the vehicle. On the off chance that there are no guide prices to work out the discount esteem than the GAP Insurance financiers can’t work out the thing they ought to cover. Therefore, imported vehicles and adjusted vehicles (vans transformed into RVs aftermarket) are generally barred from cover.

How Does Gap Insurance Refund Work?

While you will not get a full discount on your gap insurance policy once your vehicle is paid off, you can get a segment back. How a gap insurance refund functions relies upon how you approach taking care of your car loan:

  • Lump Sum Payment: By taking care of the gap insurance discount policy ahead of time, you are then qualified for a discount on the unused segment.
  • Monthly Payments: If you pay your charges month to month, you will not have the option to get a discount on any previous months. Nonetheless, you may get a little discount in the event that you cancel early in the month.

How Does Gap Insurance Work If You Don’t Have Insurance?

In the event that you buy the perfect measure of gap insurance, it will cover the excess estimation of your advance after your vehicle is added up to, after your standard auto policy pays. Suppose you buy a $40,000 vehicle, at that point complete it a year later. Your vehicle may just be valued at $28,000 by this point, but you still have $35,000 left on your credit. Gap insurance will make up that $7,000 difference not covered by your standard auto policy.

When looking for your gap insurance policy, you will need to work intimately with your free insurance specialist to get the measure of coverage that is appropriate for you. How much coverage you need will rely upon the sort of vehicle you purchase, how much it is worth, the length of your credit, regardless of whether you will be making a down payment, and other variables. Make certain to leave with a policy that bodes well for you.

Nonetheless, on the off chance that you do not have insurance, gap insurance would not cover your vehicle. Your vehicle should at any rate be covered by an essential accident protection policy all together for gap insurance coverage to kick in on the off chance that it gets added up to. It is critical to buy insurance capably, which means beginning with a fundamental auto insurance policy for any vehicle you buy.

Some Important Things To Remember About Gap Insurance


GAP insurance covers an absolute misfortune to a vehicle in case of fire, robbery, defacing, flood, mishap, cyclones, or typhoons. Any misfortune ordinarily covered by extensive or impact insurance additionally is covered by GAP insurance. A few strategies cover the insurance deductible. On the off chance that a GAP policy covers a deductible, the deductible sum is not discounted back to the vehicle owner. All things considered, the measure of the insurance deductible is applied to the measure of the insured’s neglected credit balance. Vehicle proprietors should check their own GAP approaches to ensure they know precisely what is covered if a major loss happens. In the event that a vehicle is not completely covered by both extensive and impact, there is no extra coverage given by GAP insurance. Extended warranties, overdue loan payments, and hardware added to the vehicle that was not installed by the factory, additionally are not covered. On the off chance that a vehicle proprietor actually owes on a vehicle and buys another one, turning over the equilibrium, GAP insurance would not cover the vestige payment.


Car owners who finance vehicles through their own banks or credit associations or through loan specialists cooperating with businesses are qualified for GAP coverage. Nonetheless, if a vehicle is bought through a credit extension, for example, a home value credit extension, the vehicle is not qualified for coverage. Individuals who buy vehicles with almost no up front installment who have permit and duty expenses added to the cost of their loans effectively could wind up owing more on their vehicle than it is worth. Any time the car loan sum surpasses the estimation of the vehicle, gap insurance offers some incentive. GAP insurance is generally useful for vehicles financed for over four years. Long term financial arrangements help individuals who in any case could not manage the cost of the month-to-month vehicle payments. For the individuals who have longer money terms, the measure of time they owe more on their vehicle than it is worth, will be longer, and GAP insurance can help offer financial security for that timeframe.

Where to Purchase

Gap insurance regularly is accessible as an alternative that can be added to a collision protection policy, and it additionally can be bought as an independent policy through moneylenders financing vehicle credits. It is uncommon for GAP insurance to be needed to back a vehicle, however a few vendors will incorporate it as a standard piece of a buy contract. Buyers should read their agreements completely and request that the business eliminate GAP coverage on the off chance that it is something they do not wish to buy. It is additionally a smart thought to search for GAP insurance. Adding it to a current insurance policy may be less expensive than buying it through a vendor, so purchasers should look into this alternative prior to consenting to whatever value a business is charging.

Pros And Cons Of Gap Insurance

Purchasing another vehicle is a costly recommendation nowadays. The average new car loan is more than $32,000. The average advance term is currently 69 months. You would not fantasize about skipping collision insurance on that vehicle, regardless of whether your moneylender permitted you to do it. You ought to consider gap insurance to enhance your collision insurance for the timeframe that you owe more for that vehicle than its genuine cash value. That is the thing that your collision insurance policy will pay out if the vehicle is destroyed. This is most generally the situation in the initial few years of possession in the event that you put down under 20% on the vehicle and extended the advance repayment term to five years or more.


Listen to this — gap insurance basically ensures the obligation you actually owe on your vehicle. So is gap insurance worth the purchase? In the event that you owe significantly more on your vehicle than it is worth, it is most likely alright to keep the gap insurance until you are not upside down anymore. In the event that you do have gap insurance, it implies you will be repaid the distinction between your vehicle’s worth and what you actually owe. Furthermore, on the off chance that you do not have it, you are answerable for paying for the distinction. Keep in mind, debt is imbecilic, and we do not need you surrounded by car payments. It is smarter to pay money for your vehicle and let your fundamental complete insurance ensure you on the off chance that you at any point need to supplant your vehicle.

John Otero

John Otero

John Otero is an industry practitioner with more than 15 years of experience in the insurance industry. He has held various senior management roles both in the insurance companies and insurance brokers during this span of time. He began his insurance career in 2004 as an office assistant at an agency in her hometown of Duluth, MN. He got licensed as a producer while working at that agency and progressed to serve as an office manager. Working in the agency is how he fell in love with the industry. He saw firsthand the good that insurance consumers experienced by having the proper protection. John has diverse experience in corporate & consumer insurance services, across a range of vocations. His specialties include Major Corporate risk management and insurance programs, and Financial Lines He has been instrumental in making his firm as one of the leading organizations in the country in generating sustainable rapid growth of the company while maintaining service excellence to clients.