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Should You Buy GAP Insurance?

When you take out a loan to buy a new car, chances are you will owe more than the car is worth for some time.

The reason: new cars tend to depreciate very quickly. So quickly, in fact, that your loan payments may not make up for the depreciation loss during the first half of your loan term.

It all depends on the amount of your down payment and the rate of depreciation on your particular vehicle.

This usually isn't a problem, but if your car happens to get stolen or totaled during an accident or fire, your insurance will only cover the value of the vehicle at the time of the loss.

If you owe more on the loan than what the vehicle is worth, you will have to pay that out of pocket. In some cases, this can be several thousand dollars.

This is where GAP insurance comes to the rescue. It will pay off the difference including any deductible required by your car insurance company.

GAP insurance is especially useful in cases where you traded-in a car that was already upside down on the loan (meaning, you owed more than what it's worth), and financed the difference into a new car loan.

If on the other hand, you put a down payment of at least 20% on your vehicle, you probably won't need GAP insurance.

GAP insurance policies usually sell for between $300 and $700, and can be purchased through a dealer, or your current car insurance company.

If you do intend on getting it, make sure to shop around. Dealers have been known to markup the price of GAP insurance by 200%.

My Recommendation for Car Shoppers

TrueCar No-Haggle and Edmunds Price Promise are the quickest way to see the lowest car prices in your area. These sites show you no-haggle prices from dealers closest to you - and the deals are usually really good. This should be the first step you take when negotiating your car price. Follow this up with my checklist to make sure you squeeze out every last bit of savings.
- Gregg Fidan

Gregg Fidan

About: Gregg Fidan


Gregg Fidan + is the founder of RealCarTips. After being ripped off on his first car purchase, he devoted several years to figuring out the best ways to avoid scams and negotiate the best car deals. He has written hundreds of articles on the subject of car buying and taught thousands of car shoppers how to get the best deals.

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