If you have recently invested in purchasing a brand new car, you may have been advised by your insurance agent to purchase something called gap insurance. If you are unfamiliar with gap insurance, you're probably wondering if it’s even necessary to add this additional cost to your new policy. To some, the thought of maintaining an insurance policy without gap insurance is not a big deal and for its cost can be overlooked by the normal driver. Whereas, other astute investors know that protecting their investment is not only worth the added coverage, but the key to maintaining piece of mind.
What is gap insurance?
If you don’t have enough money to purchase a new car straight out, you may have to finance it . Financing a car means having to pay a certain amount down and the rest of the value of the car is split into monthly payments for a fixed number of years. A normal insurance policy covers the amount of the car in the event of a car accident. However, if this is a very expensive car, your policy may not cover all the costs, leaving you to continue paying for the car even when you don’t have it anymore.
Gap insurance provides a way to recover these costs as well as the cost of sales tax and your registration or title fees.
The problem with not having gap insurance
One phenomenon that occurs shortly after purchasing a car is the rapid devaluation of its value the moment you put your foot on the gas pedal. Although cars do depreciate over time, they also depreciate several thousand the moment you drive off the lot. This may not seem like a problem, but let’s examine this a little closer.
If you purchase a car that cost $30,000 with $3000 down, after driving off the lot this car may depreciate down to $20,000. If you get into a car accident and the car is totaled your insurance company will only pay that depreciated amount which is $20,000. This may not seem like a problem right away, but keep in mind you're still making payments on the car, which include interest, so you’ll be stuck owing the car dealership $7000.
Gap insurance would cover you for this remaining amount.
Who needs gap coverage?
If one of the following categories applies, you may want to look into getting gap coverage:
- You own a car that depreciates quickly
- You’ve chosen a long finance term
- You paid less than 20% down
- You are leasing a car
- You plan to drive more than 15k miles per year
When you are leasing a car, the car dealership may actually require that you get gap insurance coverage before leaving the lot. Although most car dealerships sell gap insurance, you don’t have to be compelled to buy from them. It is wise to shop around before signing the dotted line.
For more information about St Paul auto insurance or to obtain a quote, give Lancette Agency a call on 651-264-1230.