UPDATED: Jan 18, 2012

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Written By: Melanie MussonReviewed By: Daniel WalkerUPDATED: Jan 18, 2012Fact Checked

Until now, you may have heard only of gaps in insurance policies, which generally refers to a driver’s lapse in coverage for a period of time. Gap auto insurance is actually something some people may end up having without even realizing it. By knowing what gap insurance is and when you should get gap insurance quotes, you may end up saving quite a bit of money on your policy.

What Gap Auto Insurance Is

Understanding Gap Auto Insurance

Basically, you buy gap insurance when you have a car that is financed. Gap insurance is meant to cover the car in cases where the car is stolen or totaled. This is especially true during the earliest stages of the life of the car loan. During the initial stages of the loan, what you owe is more than the car is worth. While making payments it is crucial to have this type of car insurance.

Without it, if the car is completely totaled or stolen, you could still be responsible for making payments on a car you do not even have. The only time that you may not need gap auto insurance is if you placed a large enough down payment on the car or made arrangements so that you are not “upside down” on the car.

What It All Means

When talking about gap insurance, there may be some terms that come up that you are unfamiliar with. In order to truly grasp the concept before you buy gap insurance, you should have a clear concept of what it all means.

  • Upside Down – Being “upside down” on your car means that you owe more than the car is worth. This is the most common situation to be in when signing up for a car loan, especially on a brand new car. Unless you have a paid off and valuable trade in, a hefty down payment or both, you will probably be “upside down.”
  • Totaled – There is a huge difference between having a minor fender bender, an accident and a crash so serious that a car is totaled. This is when the car is wrecked beyond the point of being able to be fixed, repaired or salvaged or in cases where the expense of restoring the car would be more expensive than what the car is worth. In these cases the car is “totaled out”, and with proper gap insurance coverage you would get a new replacement. Without this insurance you will probably still be held liable for the loan payments and be without a car to drive. In other words you will be paying for a car you do not have and cannot drive.

Ensuring You Have Gap Insurance

Before even signing on the dotted line and driving that shiny new car home, you should get your gap insurance quotes. Finding out what insurance providers there are and comparing rates enables you to make wise and informed choices instead of rash ones. By giving us just your zip code, you can get your gap insurance quotes today and take home that brand new car worry free.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance-related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

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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Written by Melanie Musson
Published Insurance Expert Melanie Musson

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