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Mind the GAP

Gap InsuranceEvery time you step off the Tube in London's Underground you hear a women's voice in her perfect British accent reminding you to "Mind the gap". It is a good thing too. At some stops on the Underground there is a pretty big gap waiting for you as you exit and if you got caught in one of those monsters you could be in some trouble. The same is true for the gap that occurs in leases and loans on cars. Normally over time a vehicle's value depreciates faster than the loan or lease can be paid off. This is commonly referred to as being "upside down" on your loan or lease. If during this "upside down" period you total a vehicle in an accident there is going to be a gap between what the insurance company will pay you (actual cash value of the car) and what you still owe on your loan or lease. The good news though is there is insurance that covers this gap and it is appropriately named GAP insurance.

GAP insurance coverage helps pay for the difference between actual cash value of the car and what is owed on the loan or lease. One thing to keep in mind though, GAP insurance from personal auto insurance companies does not cover the cost of warranties or other add on charges that might have been included in the loan or lease.

So for an example, you totaled your vehicle and the insurance company is going to value your car at $5000 but your loan was still $7000. Let’s also say that of the $7000, $500 of it is because of the warranty that you had purchased. Therefore, the insurance company (if GAP insurance was on your policy) would give you $6500 ($7000 due on the loan minus the $500 warranty cost) instead of $5000.

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