Even the most cautious driver can get into an accident that causes financial hardship. Guaranteed asset protection (GAP) coverage can provide your members with peace of mind and financial security.
What is guaranteed asset protection (GAP)?
Guaranteed asset protection coverage protects a member’s investment in a vehicle if the worst-case scenario were to happen. If the vehicle were to be stolen or declared a total loss after an accident, their auto insurance settlement may not cover the full cost to pay off their loan or lease. If a member has GAP coverage, it would pay the difference between the value of their vehicle at the at the time of loss and the remaining loan or lease balance.
Specifically, it is designed to cover the “gap” between the vehicle’s value and the amount you still owe on your loan or lease, subject to certain limitations and conditions.1
How GAP works
GAP protection is a cancellation or waiver of a member’s remaining loan balance with your credit union. GAP is in addition to any payout they would receive from comprehensive or collision coverage through their auto insurance policy or if their vehicle is totaled or stolen. Some GAP products will also cover their auto insurance deductible.
An example of how GAP works
John has a car accident and his one-year-old financed vehicle is a total loss beyond repair. His loan balance is $15,000.
- His auto insurance company settlement, based on his vehicle’s market value at time of loss, is $11,000.
- His insurance deductible is $1,000.
- The total amount he would owe without GAP is $5,000.
- The total amount he owes with GAP: $0.
What GAP covers
Many new or used vehicles are often eligible for GAP, but GAP can cover more than just your car. It can also cover:
- Jet skis
- Travel trailers
What GAP does not cover
- Vehicle payments due to repossession, financial hardship, job loss, disability or death
- Repairs or a rental car while undergoing repairs
- Down payment for a new vehicle
- Extended warranties added to the loan
How GAP works with depreciation
A new vehicle can lose up to 10 percent of its value once a person drives it off the lot. By the end of the first year, that car will lose an additional 10 percent on average.3
Typically, auto insurance pays only what a vehicle is determined to be worth at the time of loss. When more is owed on a loan or lease than the assessed value of the vehicle, GAP covers the difference.
When members really need GAP
If a member buys a vehicle that depreciates quickly, they should consider GAP coverage.
GAP may also be worth considering if a member4:
- Makes a smaller down payment (less than 20 percent) – or none at all
- Finances a car loan beyond 60 months
- Drives a lot of miles per year, which reduces a car’s value more quickly
- Leases a car (in which case, GAP is usually required)
How to provide GAP to members
When members come to you for a vehicle loan, they can purchase a GAP waiver at the same time. By incorporating GAP payments into their auto loan, they can spread the payments for the coverage over time rather than paying one lump sum.
Remind members, if they do add the coverage to their loan, they will be paying interest on it and the protection is fully refundable within the first 60 days. Thereafter, it’s dependent upon the terms of their contract.
Don’t leave a gap for your members. Take time to find out how you can help borrowers protect themselves.
GAP is a loan deficiency waiver, not an insurance product.
- Less delinquent payments, late charges, refundable service warranty contracts and other insurance related charges. See the GAP Waiver Addendum for all terms, limitations and exclusions.
- CarInsurance.com, “5 tips for buying GAP insurance for your new car,” Mark Smith, June 2017
- CARFAX.com Car Depreciation: 5 Things to Consider May 2017
- NERDWALLET, “Gap Insurance: What It Is and Who Needs It,” September 2017