Finder is committed to editorial independence. While we receive compensation when you click links to partners, they do not influence our opinions or reviews. Learn how we make money.
Compare gap insurance for loaned or leased cars
Pay off your car loan after an accident with gap coverage.
Guaranteed asset protection, more commonly known as gap insurance or lease coverage, protects your car loan or lease if your car’s totaled or stolen while you’re still paying off your car loan or lease.
What's in this guide?
- What is gap insurance?
- How does gap insurance work?
- Is gap insurance worth it?
- Compare car insurance with gap coverage
- Ask an expert: When should I consider gap coverage?
- How much is gap insurance?
- What should I watch out for with gap insurance?
- Bottom line
- Frequently asked questions about gap insurance
- Learn more about gap insurance
What is gap insurance?
With a car loan, you’re paying for a brand new car that depreciates the minute you drive it off the lot. And if your car is stolen or totaled, car insurance only covers the value of your car, not the total amount of your car loan. Gap insurance protects you for the amount, or gap, left on your car loan.
How does gap insurance work?
You might own more on your car loan than your car is worth. Gap insurance, will pay for the full value of your car so you don’t have to pay off your loan out of pocket.
- Say you took out a car loan and bought a car for $20,000. Then your car is stolen.
- Your insurer pays you $15,000 for your stolen car’s value, what it’s worth a year later.
- You’ve been making payments on your loan but still owe $18,000, so your payout wasn’t enough to pay off the rest of your loan.
- Gap coverage would pay for the difference of $3,000 to cover the rest of your loan.
- If you didn’t have gap coverage, you’d owe the bank $3,000 on a car you no longer have.
How does gap insurance work for a leased car?
With a lease, you make a small down payment and pay monthly to essentially rent your car for several years. But gap insurance could still be worth it for a leased car.
If your leased car is totaled, you still owe the dealer the remaining payments on the lease. And after driving the car for a year or two, the leased car will typically depreciate in value just like a new car. You’d be on the hook for paying back the remaining lease payments without gap insurance.
Is gap insurance worth it?
The biggest benefit to gap insurance is that it covers you if you still owe a large amount on your car loan.
New cars are especially at risk for the first few years, since your new ride will depreciate significantly as soon as you drive it off the dealer’s lot. And if you need a car and end up with an outstanding debt after an accident, you could find it much harder to get the financing needed for a replacement vehicle.
Do I need gap insurance?
Consider buying gap insurance if:
- You bought or leased a new car.
- Your car loan has repayment terms of 60 months or longer.
- You haven’t paid down your car’s current value on the loan.
- You put a small down payment on your vehicle.
- You bought a high value car that depreciates quickly.
- You need your car for transportation and have no backup ride.
- You rolled over an old car loan into your new loan.
When should I skip gap insurance?
You won’t need gap insurance if:
- You bought your car outright.
- You’re close to paying off your loan.
- You set a down payment of 20% or more on your car loan.
- You paid down your car loan to its current value.
- Your policy uses your car’s agreed value instead of market value.
- You could afford another car outright if yours was totaled.
Our top pick for gap insurance: Progressive
Get unlimited discounts and score a lower deductible every 6 months you don't make a claim.
- Top-rated insurer with 80 years of experience.
- Easy online sign-up and reporting.
- Multiple discounts available.
- Transparent quoting.
- Top-rated insurer
- Online quotes & claims
- Bundle and save
Compare car insurance with gap coverage
How much is gap insurance?
Gap insurance usually costs as little as $20 to $30 a year or $2 a month as an add-on to your car insurance policy. You typically only need it for a few years while you pay back your loan. You can almost always add gap insurance to your existing car insurance policy. Most car insurers offer gap coverage, including Progressive, Allstate, AAA and USAA.
Can I buy gap insurance by itself?
Your car dealer or financer will also offer gap insurance, but it’s often very expensive — to the tune of several hundred dollars a year. Don’t let your lender or dealer convince you it’s necessary to drive off the lot or get your loan approved.It’s almost never a good financial decision to get gap coverage from your car dealer because you’d be paying hundreds more for the exact same coverage.
What should I watch out for with gap insurance?
- There are exclusions. Check any exclusions listed in your policy that might prevent a payout. Losses due to circumstances like impaired driving or illegal activities can usually safely be marked down as not covered.
- You’ll need full coverage. Gap insurance is generally only available if you have a policy that includes comprehensive coverage. That’s typically required by your lender anyway.
- Don’t purchase gap insurance from a dealer. Not only is it more expensive, there’s also a chance it’s a common car dealer scam. Unscrupulous car dealers might pocket your gap insurance payment without actually giving you coverage, or offer coverage with unreasonable exclusions.
Case study: John’s accident
John bought a new $10,000 car using a car loan provided by his dealer. The terms of his loan states he needs to repay a total of $11,000 to the dealer after factoring in interest.
He insured the new car at market value with a comprehensive car insurance policy. The moment he drives it off the lot, his new car turns into a second-hand car and is now worth only $9,000.
Soon after this, John gets into an accident and completely totals his new car. Fortunately, he has collision car insurance. He makes a claim and gets reimbursed for the total market value of the car, which is $9,000. Now he has no car and still owes his car dealer $2,000.
John uses his car gap insurance to cover the $2,000 he needs to pay the remainder of his loan. His insurance pays off the full remainder of the loan for him. Now he can shop for a new car without any existing debt.
Gap insurance can keep you from paying an arm and a leg if you lose your car. To save money, make sure you compare the best rates with an online insurance comparison tool and avoid the expensive option from your car dealer.
Frequently asked questions about gap insurance
Learn more about gap insurance
Read more on this topic
Ford Bronco car insurance rates The Bronco’s off-roading performance may mean an increased car insurance premium. But its safety features could be an upside.
Electra Meccanica Solo car insurance rates Insuring the new Electra Meccanica Solo presents a unique challenge.
States with the strictest driving laws If you're relaxed behind the wheel, you'll want to steer clear of these states with the strictest driving laws.
Compare the best bundling insurance companies for 2020 Your top choices for pairing the best savings, options and service when buying multiple insurance policies.
Does car insurance cover PTSD after a car accident? How to make a car insurance claim for mental or emotional injuries after a car accident.
How to transfer your car registration in 5 basic steps Learn the basic steps for transferring your car registration from another state or previous car.
Grundy classic car insurance review July 2020 Protect your classic as well as your daily driver with steep liability coverage all on one policy.
J.C. Taylor classic car insurance review July 2020 Protect nearly any classic vehicle at least 19 years old with no-fuss, standard coverage.
How to get your claim paid without receipts No receipts? See how you can still get your insurance claim paid with different types of policies.
Ask an Expert