Filling in the GAPs

Gap insurance pays for your car loan if your car is totaled and you owe more than the car's value. says gap insurance costs around $20/mo. on average.

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Leslie Kasperowicz holds a BA in Social Sciences from the University of Winnipeg. She spent several years as a Farmers Insurance CSR, gaining a solid understanding of insurance products including home, life, auto, and commercial and working directly with insurance customers to understand their needs. She has since used that knowledge in her more than ten years as a writer, largely in the insuranc...

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years (BBB A+). He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent

UPDATED: Oct 18, 2021

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Things to Remember...

  • GAP stands for “Guaranteed Auto Protection” insurance
  • In the first two years, a car can lose a full third of its value
  • Depending on the policy, your GAP insurance may also cover your deductible

Sure, you’ve got your auto insurance, but do you know whether or not you’ll wind up taking a serious financial hit if your car is totaled? If you don’t also have GAP insurance on your car loan, you might be in for a big, unpleasant surprise.

Everyone knows that the moment you drive your car off the lot, it loses value. Even your auto insurance policy may not cover the amount you owe on your car loan if your car is totaled after an accident during that first couple of years of depreciation.

That’s why, in addition to what you already have for insurance, you might think about getting GAP insurance on your auto loan.

You can compare auto insurance rates online from competing insurance companies. Simply enter your zip code in the box above at the top of this page to get started right now!

Defining GAP Coverage

GAP stands for “Guaranteed Auto Protection” insurance. The point of GAP insurance is to cover the difference (or the “gap”) between what your car is worth according to the market and what you owe on your car loan.

So, if your auto insurance company is only willing to pay $12,000 and you owe $13,500, GAP insurance steps in and pays the $1,200 difference. Depending on the policy, your GAP insurance may also cover your deductible.


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Why GAP Insurance is Necessary

Like we said, your new car depreciates quickly. In the first two years, a car can lose a full third of its value! Yet, it’s entirely likely that you owe more than that on your car loan.

Your auto insurance company is only going to pay out a specific amount of money, based on the make, model and year of your car.

This value, known as the “Actual Cash Value” or ACV, is an industry-standard number that’s used by most auto insurance companies.

GAP with Benefits

Depending on your policy, however, your GAP insurance might do you even better than just paying off that loan. Some GAP insurance policies offer other perks.

For example, a particular bank offers a GAP insurance policy on their car loans that will not only pay off the balance of the loan but will give the consumer an extra grand off the cost of a new car loan.

So, not only will you come out even on your old loan, you can buy a new ride for a thousand bucks less.

Where to Get it

Usually, you get your GAP auto insurance where you get your car loan. That means if you get your car loan through the dealership, you’re going to have to buy the GAP insurance through the dealership.

Be careful here. You might not realize it, but dealerships tend to take a pretty hefty markup on add-ons like GAP insurance.

One dealership we know charges in the neighborhood of $650 for a GAP policy that the local credit union offered for $210.

Incidentally, you’ll often find you’re better off getting your loan directly from your bank or credit union, too. The dealership usually tosses in some closing fees and other costs that the bank doesn’t.

So, if you’re buying a new car, don’t skip the GAP insurance. Unless you’re paying significantly less than book value for the car, GAP auto insurance is almost always a good deal.

Save money on GAP insurance, and auto insurance in general. Enter your zip code below to get started comparing FREE auto insurance rates and start saving some money!



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