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 Reviews.com and Safeco. He reviews content, ensuring that ex...

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Written by Daniel Walker
Licensed Car Insurance Agent for 15 Years Daniel Walker

Melanie Musson is the fourth generation in her family to work in the insurance industry. She grew up with insurance talk as part of her everyday conversation and has studied to gain an in-depth knowledge of state-specific insurance laws and dynamics as well as a broad understanding of how insurance fits into every person’s life, from budgets to coverage levels. Through her years working in th...

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Reviewed by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

UPDATED: May 25, 2021

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If you have just bought a new car, or you are thinking about buying a new car, you need to think about the kind of insurance coverage you are going to have. Are you planning on just having the bare minimum amount of liability insurance that is required by the state you live in? Do you want to have full coverage? Should you get GAP insurance coverage? You may know a little bit about the first two, but do you know what this coverage is?

GAP: Guaranteed Auto Protection

When you buy a vehicle, the second you get in and start driving it begins to depreciate in value. Traditional insurance policies only provide coverage for the current blue book value of vehicles. This means that if you have an accident and total the car before it is paid off, you are not going to get enough to actually pay the balance of the loan. When you have GAP insurance coverage, you don’t have to worry about this. This is insurance that will basically fill in the gap between what your insurer is willing to pay through your regular insurance and what you actually owe on the car.

If you are lucky, you may only have a couple of payments left on the vehicle anyway. But, you never know what is going to happen, and there have been many cases of people totaling their vehicles within a few weeks or even days of buying them.

Am I Required to Have GAP?

Most states do not require vehicle owners to have GAP insurance coverage. But, if you do have a loan on your vehicle or you are leasing, the financial institution you are dealing with may require that you do have it. When you are looking into financing, make sure that this is one of the things you inquire about. If you cannot afford to have this additional insurance, you may want to look into purchasing a less expensive vehicle that you do not need financing for.

Can I Get GAP From My Current Insurer?

Not all insurance companies offer this type of coverage. If you are unsure, all you have to do is contact your insurer to see if you are already covered, or if GAP is available. If they do not offer it and you feel that you should have this type of coverage, it may be time to shop around for a new insurer. You can contact others for free quotes to find out if they offer this coverage and what they charge for it. If you are purchasing a new vehicle, you may even be able to get coverage directly from the dealership. Another option is to buy a separate policy from a GAP insurance company.

Other Types of Coverage You Should Carry

You have a number of options when it comes to the type of auto insurance you carry. Of course you will have to carry the minimum amount of liability insurance that your state requires. To find out what this amount is, you can ask your insurer or contact your local Department of Motor Vehicles. You can also get additional coverage that will take care of you in the event of accidents or other incidents that cause damage to your vehicle. When you are getting your free quotes, you should also inquire about other protection, including the following:

  • Collision Coverage – If you are involved in an accident and are not at fault, this insurance will pay for damages to your vehicle. Your vehicle must be in motion for you to be able to make a claim. For instance, if you are hit while you are driving, or you hit an animal, you will be covered.
  • Uninsured/Underinsured Driver Coverage – Unfortunately, many people decide not to get the insurance they need, but they still drive. If you are in an accident with a driver who is uninsured or underinsured, this is the type of coverage that you will need.

Get Quotes for the Best Rates

In order to get the best rates on GAP insurance coverage, you need to find out what different insurers are charging. After all, they all charge different rates for their products. Getting quotes is the best way to find out who has the best rates for the coverage you want. When you fill out the short form telling us about your insurance needs and your zip code, we can get quotes from many insurers in your area. This will help to make choosing your auto insurance a whole lot easier.