How Does Gap Insurance Work?
Gap insurance covers the gap between what your vehicle is worth and what you are actually on the hook for in regard your vehicle loan after a collision. Does gap insurance cover theft? Absolutely. However, typically there is a waiting period (30 days or so) after the claim is filed. This leaves time for your vehicle to be recovered. If that occurs, then your standard insurance coverage activates. It is important to reiterate that gap policies are typically only needed for a specific period of time. Once the market rate of your vehicle plateaus and comes in line with current market rates, a gap policy is no longer needed. However, since the decrease in vehicle value is so drastic in the beginning, gap insurance is a worthwhile investment.
It works like this. Let’s say you purchase a vehicle brand new for $35,000. The moment you drive it off the lot, the value drops. Then, it may only be worth $27,000. If you are in an accident, your auto insurance will pay the replacement cost of the vehicle, or $27,000. The policy specifies that they must fulfill the obligation of replacement at current market value. It has nothing to do with the loan value of your vehicle. You are still $7,000 short. Gap insurance would make up the difference.
The cost of gap insurance will vary depending on a number of factors, including the value of your car. Did you just buy a new Jaguar or a Mitsubishi? Are you leasing a new hybrid car? At an average rate of just $40 per year, it is most likely worth the extra insurance expense if your car’s loan amount significantly exceeds its value. Another factor that will affect your gap insurance cost is the auto insurance company you choose. Not all insurance is the same, and prices can vary dramatically from one insurance provider to the next. Working with an independent agent who can compare prices and options from multiple companies will help you find the best coverage and price.