Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) insurance covers the shortfall if your vehicle is declared a total loss or write-off by your insurance provider, but the payout is less than you paid for your car, van, motorbike or motorhome.
Your motor insurance provider will only pay out the current market value of your vehicle, which will probably be a lot less than what you paid for it because of depreciation. This is the case even if you bought it recently.
GAP insurance can cover that depreciation, so you can afford to buy another vehicle at the same value you bought your last one for. It also means you won’t be stuck paying off finance for a motor you no longer have.
GAP insurance is common with new vehicles, but you can also get GAP insurance on used cars, vans, motorbikes and motorhomes. Although you may want to consider whether it’s worth it financially.
Vehicles depreciate fast. That means, if yours is stolen or written off the insurance pay out at market value might not be enough for you to replace it with something similar, or even to pay off any finance you took out to buy your vehicle.
For example, if you bought a motor on finance three years ago for £20,000 and it depreciated by 60% in those three years, its current market value is £8,000.
If this vehicle is then written off, your insurer would pay you the market value of £8,000 (minus any excess), so you’re £12,000 out of pocket. GAP insurance would cover that £12,000 so you can get back to driving a brand-new car, van, motorbike or motorhome.
Find out more about whether you need gap insurance.
If you buy a GAP insurance policy from the car dealer, you could be paying more than you need to, with prices ranging from £300 upwards.
Buying separately from the dealership could cost around £150 to £300 for a three-year policy, but generally the more expensive the motor, the more expensive your cover will be.
GAP insurance is usually paid for upfront. When you’ve just paid for a new vehicle the last thing you want to do is pay for additional cover, but you should consider how you’d feel if you couldn’t get back the full cost of your car, van, motorbike or motorhome.
If you do decide to purchase, it’s best to shop around because not all insurers provide the same level of cover.
According to research conducted by What Car? in August 2021, car dealerships were charging up to £218 more than independent insurers.
The good news is that car, van, motorbike or motorhome dealerships aren’t allowed to sell you GAP insurance at the same time as you buy a vehicle from them anymore - the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA) requires buyers to have time to shop around. Specifically, you must have a ‘pause in sale’ of two days.
Use this pause to compare policies and find the right fit for you without any pressure.
If you have an accident that makes your vehicle unusable, first get in touch with your insurer and get the vehicle declared a total loss.
Once this is done – and before you accept any settlement your insurer has offered – contact your GAP insurer. Negotiations may be debated between both insurers instead of you acting as go-between.
If you’re happy with what’s been agreed, sign and return the forms they send to you and be prepared to provide supporting documents, like your MOT certificate.
You should first complain to the insurers if you’re not happy. If the issue isn’t resolved to your satisfaction, you can get in touch with the Financial Ombudsman who will look into it for you.
There are five main types of GAP insurance.
They all make up the shortfall for depreciation on your vehicle, but work in slightly different ways.
If your vehicle is written off or a total loss, an RTI policy will pay the difference between the original purchase price and the payout received from your insurer. It might even cover any outstanding finance.
RTI is for vehicles bought from a dealer within the last six months.
Most insurers offer AVC for vehicles bought privately, or from a dealer after the RTI cut off point.
It covers the difference between the insurance valuation at the time it was written off and the value of the car, van, motorbike or motorhome when you started the policy.
This type of cover is for lease vehicles. Most insurers will cover outstanding rental payments or the termination fee, as well as any shortfall in the market value payout your insurer gives you.
This is for cars, vans, motorbikes or motorhomes bought on finance or a lease contract and will help clear any outstanding debt owed on the vehicle.
This type of cover is often part of a package. For instance, it can be combined with an RTI policy.
Similar to finance GAP insurance, but this policy is for if the loan amount is more than the cost of the motor. For example, if you’ve part-exchanged a vehicle before the finance was paid off, and the remaining amount has been moved across to your new deal.
In the event of a total loss, VR provides a payout equal to the difference between the cost to replace the vehicle with a new motor of the same specification and the market value payout from your insurance provider.
This type of cover is designed to protect you should the cost of a replacement vehicle increase. You can’t purchase this type of policy through GoCompare currently.
GAP insurance provides additional financial peace of mind if your vehicle's written off, but it doesn't suit everyone.
It might be right for you if:
But you might not need it if:
Before taking out a GAP policy, make sure you can afford the price of the premium on top of your regular insurance cover, as well as any possible monthly loan or leasing fees.
Watch out for these common exclusions:
GAP insurance is usually associated with new cars, vans, motorbikes or motorhomes because they depreciate much faster than used vehicles and GAP insurance is designed to cover depreciation.
You can still get GAP insurance for used motors, but the benefits are potentially smaller so it might not be worthwhile for the cost.
Firstly, did you buy your vehicle from a dealer or privately? How did you pay for it - upfront or on finance? This will determine the type of GAP insurance you should look into.
When you compare quotes with us, you’ll be asked questions about your vehicle and circumstances so that we can filter the results and only show you policies applicable to you.
Gocompare.com introduces you to i-Wonder to provide GAP insurance quotes. Gocompare.com’s relationship with i-Wonder is limited to that of a business partnership, no common ownership or control rights exist between us