Gap Insurance bridges the difference between your insurance offer at the point your car is written off or declared a loss and the value of your car when you bought it.
It also covers any outstanding finance payments, plus – for some enhanced policies – any additional costs needed to get you back on the road with a car to the same specification as when it was purchased.
Taking out Gap Insurance is important because cars depreciate over time and your motor insurer will value it in line with depreciation. If your car is written off, your motor insurance policy only covers your vehicle to its book value at the point it is declared a total loss.
This can be substantially less than outstanding finance commitments, the price you paid for your car and the cost of getting back on the road in a car with a similar specification.
For example, let’s assume you purchased a car for £20,000 and it was worth £12,000 at the time it was written off or stolen.
Your Gap Insurance would cover the shortfall of £8,000, meaning you won’t be left significantly out of pocket.
If you paid for the vehicle via a finance agreement, your Gap Insurance policy would cover the outstanding amount.
That means you’re not left repaying the finance company for a car that you can no longer use.
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It’s a fact of life that if you buy a brand new car, its value drops by a third as soon as you drive it off the forecourt. Its value will then fall by an average of 60% over three years, according to the AA.
If the car is written off or stolen, your insurer will pay out what it’s worth at the time – so you’re likely to get less from the insurance company than you paid when you bought it, especially if it’s brand new. This means when you’re getting a replacement car there’s a ‘gap’ between the amount your insurer pays and the amount you’d need to pay to buy that car (or a similar new model) again.
If you choose to buy gap (guaranteed asset protection) insurance, this is the ‘gap’ it covers. Dealerships usually sell it – as do standalone providers – and policies are typically priced between £100 and £300 for three years of cover.
However, gap insurance isn’t essential as your car insurer should ALREADY pay out for a replacement car of a similar age and condition. Gap insurance is essentially there for if you’d want to buy a new car to replace your old one, or if you’ve a finance deal and would owe more to the finance company than you’d get from the insurer.
The decision is always yours. So you’ll need to weigh up whether the cost is worth it for you. Gap insurance is not essential because your car insurance should pay out for a replacement car of the same age and condition as yours was when it was written off or stolen, so you’re not any worse off.
Like all insurance policies, there are a number of exclusions. Here are the most common ones you find with gap insurance:
You need to have fully comprehensive car insurance, so won’t be covered if you only have a third-party policy.
It will only pay out if your car is stolen or a total write-off, as judged by the insurance company.
It won’t pay you for any deductions made by your car insurance company. For example, if it lowers the sum it pays you because you’ve missed a monthly insurance payment the gap insurance policy won’t cover this.
If you’ve added extras to your car, such as alloys or spoilers, gap insurance won’t cover the cost of these if your car is lost or stolen. It will only pay out the gap between what you originally paid and the market value (minus the extras).
Return to Invoice and finance
Covers the difference between the amount you paid for the car and the insurer settlement, or the outstanding finance amount.
Vehicle Replacement and finance
Covers the difference between the cost of a new vehicle and the insurer settlement, or the outstanding finance amount.
Contract hire and lease
Covers the difference between the outstanding rental payment or termination fee and the insurer payout.
You want a brand new replacement car
If you’re dead set on getting a brand spanking new car if yours is written off or stolen, you could consider gap insurance. For example, if you pay £30,000 for a new car and 15 months later it’s written off, your car insurer will pay out £18,000 (what it’s worth at the time).
If you’re not happy with the lower amount – even though that’s enough to provide you with a like-for-like replacement car – gap insurance may be worth it.
You owe money to a car finance company
If you have taken out finance to buy the car – for example, a personal loan – you may find gap insurance useful. This is because if you’ve bought a car this way and it’s written off or stolen, although your car insurer will pay out the value it’s worth at the time, you’re still left paying off the value it was when you first bought it.
If you crash the car or it’s stolen, you still have to pay back the whole loan. But if you had gap cover, it would pay off the loan – meaning you’re not left paying back money for a car you no longer have.
Policies offered to you by a dealer are often more expensive and are usually a lower quality product.
They can include clauses which restrict payment based on the market value or Glass’s Guide retail value of the vehicle and leave you with a shortfall. CoverMy does not include either of these clauses and guarantees to pay the difference between your insurance company’s settlement and the amount you originally paid for your vehicle or its replacement cost.
CoverMy is a UK Company, fully authorised and regulated by the FCA. We use a number of underwriters and all of our policies are fully protected by the Financial Services Compensation Scheme.