Gap (guaranteed asset protection) insurance is more popular than you may think. In fact, per a recent University of Michigan study, it was chosen by consumers in approximately 39% of vehicle financing deals. More than nine in 10 of those who purchased gap insurance expressed satisfaction with their decision, compared to only 1% of respondents who expressed discontent with their purchase.

“This type of coverage is typically only available if you are the original loan or leaseholder on a new vehicle, but you may be able to obtain it for certain used vehicles,” says Mark Friedlander, director of corporate communications for the Insurance Information Institute (III).

Gap coverage can be an important safety net if your vehicle is totaled or stolen and you owe more on the original loan or lease than the car’s depreciated value. You may be able to purchase gap insurance through the dealership where you purchased the vehicle, however, it may be a better and cheaper option to see if your current insurance provider can add it on to your existing policy.

Key Highlights
Written by:
Erik Martin
Contributing Researcher
Erik J. Martin is a Chicago area-based freelance writer whose articles have been published by AARP The Magazine, The Motley Fool, The Costco Connection, USAA, US Chamber of Commerce, Bankrate, The Chicago Tribune, and other publications. He often writes on topics related to insurance, real estate, personal finance, business, technology, health care, and entertainment. Erik also hosts a podcast and publishes several blogs, including and
Edited by:
Laura Longero
Executive Editor
Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.
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Dr. James C. Brau
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Industry Expert
Dr. Brau teaches finance principles, entrepreneurial finance, financial planning, and corporate finance at Brigham Young University’s School of Business. His research includes issues related to initial public offerings, financial education, real estate, and entrepreneurial finance.

Where to buy gap insurance

Are you wondering who sells gap insurance? Several sources, including insurance companies, car dealerships, and auto loan lenders, offer gap coverage. You may also acquire gap coverage from a bank, credit union, or specialized provider. 

According to the III, it’s an important consideration under the following circumstances:

  • If you made less than a 20% down payment on your vehicle.
  • If your loan is 60 months or longer. (If you leased the vehicle, gap insurance is often required and part of the lease agreement.)
  •  If you purchased a vehicle that depreciates faster than the average. (According to Kelley Blue Book, the average car loses 20% of its value in the first year.)

Check out expert recommendations on gap insurance and what it covers

Your go-to-list for gap insurance providers

Which insurance companies provide gap insurance? Many major auto insurers offer standalone gap insurance or coverage as an add-on to your existing policy, including State Farm, Nationwide, Progressive, Allstate, USAA, AAA and Esurance, but not all do. You may need to shop around.

“You will reap significant savings by adding gap insurance to your current auto insurance policy versus purchasing separate coverage from a car dealer or financing company,” Friedlander says.

Below is the list of insurance providers that offer gap coverage based on average annual insurance premiums and monthly rates.

CompanyAvg. Annual RatesAvg. Monthly Rates
American Family$1,791$149
State Farm$1,413$118
Mercury Insurance$2,099$175

Buying gap insurance online

If you do not already have an auto insurance policy or your current insurer doesn’t offer gap coverage, you can buy gap insurance online. An online insurance provider can be an effective way to request quotes quickly and find an affordable policy.

“Requesting and comparing multiple quotes from an online site may be the most convenient way to find a policy at the lowest price,” says Laura Adams, a personal finance and insurance expert in Vero Beach, Florida.

Buy car insurance online: Here’s how to get auto insurance instantly

Buying gap insurance from car dealerships

The dealer you purchase your vehicle from may offer gap insurance, making for convenient one-stop shopping. However, be aware that it will cost more than adding it to an existing insurance policy.

“If you purchase gap coverage from a car dealer, you may pay up to five to 10 times more for your annual premium than you would if you purchase from your existing auto insurer,” Friedlander says.

Buying gap insurance from lenders

You can buy gap coverage from a car loan lender or finance company, too. But Friedlander says – as with car dealerships – you may pay more via this route than if you purchased coverage from your current auto insurance company.

Learn more about is it cheaper to buy car insurance online or through an agent

Real-world insights: Gap insurance experiences shared on Reddit

The pros and cons of buying gap insurance are often debated in online forums. Many question the value of paying for the coverage and whether getting it through your current insurance provider or a dealership makes more sense. While arguments can be made for both sides, people who did get their cars totaled in a wreck say it was well worth the added cost.

Reddit readers also questioned whether it was better to get gap insurance through the dealership or as an add-on to an existing auto policy.

Adding it to your policy will usually be the cheapest option, although you may have to swallow the cost of the deductible, which means you will still be out some money. Policies offered through dealerships will often pay the insurance deductible and may have higher payout ratios.

Case studies: User experiences from Reddit

A $9,300 hit:

“We had an Escalade and didn’t even own it for a year when the accident happened. We will recoup our money [through] our attorney, but the issue is we are on the hook for the $9,300 until then. Our finance company was nice enough to drop the loan to zero interest, but it still sucks that we didn’t have gap insurance. We don’t even remember it being offered when we purchased the car. It was an expensive mistake to learn!”

Gap coverage paid off twice:

“I had to use it twice in my life. I was run off the road once in a bad rainstorm. I was 18, got swiped, and basically ended up flipping the car because I went from pavement right into mud. Flipped over a few times and hit a tree.

A few years later, another rainy day in the south. Someone swerved on a merging lane, spun out, missed three lanes of traffic, and hit my new Subaru head on. It was supposed to be my first road trip/vacation as an adult. I still deal with the pain from it. Either way, hadn’t even made a first payment on it and it was totaled.”

Case studies: Difficulty finding standalone gap insurance provider

Another Reddit user who has car insurance through Geico expressed frustration in trying to get gap insurance.

“I financed a new car yesterday and the gap insurance was going to be $1,200 total. I elected not to take it. I’m a Geico customer with a good rate on regular auto insurance and they don’t offer gap coverage (at least not in my ZIP), so I am specifically seeking a company that I can buy it from as a standalone product. So far, I’ve tried Progressive, Allstate and Nationwide and none of the call centers could do so.”

Trying to find a standalone gap insurance provider after purchasing a vehicle can be more work and as the poster noted, not all insurance companies offer it as an option.

You may want to use it as an opportunity to compare insurance providers and get quotes.

Common question: When does gap insurance not make sense?

Another question that frequently comes up in forums is when does gap insurance not make sense?

Gap insurance does not make sense when the amount you owe is less than the car’s value. If, for example, you owe $18,000 on a vehicle and the insurance company would pay $20,000 in the event of a write-off, then there is no gap.

Another case would be if your vehicle is of a make and model that has very little depreciation in its initial years. You may want to check Kelly Blue Book or the National Automobile Dealers Association guide to see how much your car is worth. If your loan balance is less than the vehicle’s value, skipping gap insurance makes sense.

Who should buy gap insurance?

Gap insurance is frequently advised for new vehicles due to their rapid depreciation, but it’s also wise to buy gap coverage for pre-owned cars if they’re worth a great deal. Remember that some providers might only offer gap insurance for used cars aged less than three years.

Good candidates for gap insurance policies include consumers who:

  • Made less than a 20% down payment on a vehicle purchase.
  • Finance a purchase for 60 months or longer.
  • Leased the vehicle.
  • Rolled over negative equity from an old car loan into a new car loan.

How does gap car insurance work?

Gap (guaranteed asset protection) insurance covers the difference between your car’s actual cash value and the amount you owe on your loan. This coverage kicks in if your car is totaled or stolen and you owe more than the vehicle’s depreciated value.

“In other words, it protects you when you are upside down on a deal and owe more than your car is worth,” says Adams. “Gap insurance may also be called “loan/lease gap coverage.”

Standard terms and costs for a gap insurance policy

Gap insurance coverage is typically optional, with flexible terms that can be written to cover your particular vehicle and loan.

The cost of gap insurance will depend on the anticipated maximum gap the policy would cover. Many auto insurers offer basic gap coverage as a policy add-on for as little as $20 or $30 annually. These options are much cheaper than purchasing gap coverage through a dealer, which can save you several hundred dollars a year.

Adding more robust gap insurance coverage to your existing auto policy will likely increase your premium by less than $100 a year, Friedlander says.

Evaluating options from different gap insurance providers

When considering gap insurance options from different providers, there are more factors to consider than just price. Ask questions about coverage limits, how long the policy will remain in effect, and cancellation policies. You don’t want to keep paying for gap insurance if you no longer owe more than the vehicle’s assessed value.

Also, be sure to determine if the gap policy will cover your insurance deductible if the vehicle is written-off or stolen.

How do I know if I have gap insurance?

Before hunting and paying for separate gap insurance coverage, check your existing vehicle policy to see if this protection is already in place. If in doubt, contact your insurer or agent directly. It might be called something other than gap coverage, so ask your insurance company if you have questions.

“The declarations page of your auto policy – typically found at the front of the policy – describes all the coverages that are included,” Friedlander says.

How to save on gap insurance

Gap coverage is relatively affordable, depending on where you purchase it and how much coverage you desire. But if you want to make this insurance even more affordable, follow these tips provided by the pros:

  • Request several quotes from different insurers to compare coverage offers and choose the best deal.
  • Explore buying from your current insurer. 
  • Choose a reputable provider. 
  • Eliminate the need to purchase gap coverage. You may not even need gap insurance if you put down 20% or more when buying your vehicle.
  • Only buy as much coverage as you need

Check out our detailed guide on how to cancel your gap insurance

FAQ: Gap insurance

How much is gap insurance?

Gap insurance can be added to your current policy for $20-$30 per year. 

Does Geico offer gap insurance?

Does Progressive offer gap insurance?

Progressive provides “loan/lease payoff protection” in most states, which resembles coverage yet features several distinct nuances. Among the notable distinctions is the constraint on the payout from loan/lease payoff coverage, capped at 25% of your car’s value. However, the precise cap fluctuates depending on the specific state regulations. 

Furthermore, this coverage does not encompass supplementary expenses linked to a loan or lease, such as financial fees and extra mileage costs.

When should you buy gap insurance?

If you are planning to get gap insurance, it’s best acquired at the time of purchase of your vehicle or as soon as possible after buying a new car. That’s because a new vehicle begins to lose value when you take possession, so you will want coverage to kick in immediately.

Can you buy gap insurance at any time?

You can usually purchase gap insurance for a new or used vehicle as long as the loan or lease remains unpaid, although specific insurers might impose a restricted timeframe within which coverage can be obtained.

What is a gap insurance waiver?

A gap waiver, also known as a gap addendum, is a supplement you can add to your auto loan or lease that serves as a debt cancellation agreement. This agreement absolves you from paying the difference between what you owe on the vehicle and its worth if the car is declared a total loss. 

Some lenders require gap waivers because they prefer the guaranteed upfront payment to the potentially time-consuming effort of recovering the total payoff amount from you, the borrower, especially if you are short on cash after a major accident.

How is gap insurance regulated?

Gap insurance is regulated like every other auto insurance product provided in your state. Your state’s Department of Insurance supervises this process. Note that many states limit how much can be charged for gap waivers. Contact your state consumer protection agency or attorney general’s office for more information.

What’s the difference between gap insurance and agreed-value insurance?

Gap insurance covers the difference between the remaining loan balance and your vehicle’s value. Agreed-value insurance covers a set amount for the car’s value – agreed upon by you and your insurance company when you purchase your auto policy – and nothing more. An agreed-value policy assigns a particular value to a specific vehicle, such as a classic car or antique vehicle, regardless of depreciation.

Check out our detailed guide on How much is gap insurance

Final thoughts: Gap insurance providers

Gap coverage is vital as it provides a financial safety net if your vehicle is totaled or stolen and you owe more on your loan or lease than the car’s depreciated value. It bridges the gap between the insurance payout and the outstanding balance, preventing you from bearing the financial burden. As with any insurance coverage, don’t skimp – go with a trustworthy provider.

Resources & Methodology


  1. Federal Reserve. “Consumers and GAP protection on vehicle financing contracts” Accessed March 2024. 
  2. Insurance Information Institute. “Protect your finances if you owe money on a depreciating vehicle” Accessed March 2024. 
  3. Kelley Blue Book. “How to beat car depreciation” Accessed March 2024. 

Methodology editors in 2023 collected rates from Quadrant Information Services for a 40-year-old male driving a Honda Accord LX for a full coverage insurance policy with limits of 100/300/100 and $500 comprehensive and collision deductibles. We analyzed 5,000,736 records, 1,467 ZIP codes and 27 insurance companies nationwide.

– Mel Duvall contributed to this story.

Laura Longero

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Laura Longero

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Laura is an award-winning editor with experience in content and communications covering auto insurance and personal finance. She has written for several media outlets, including the USA Today Network. She most recently worked in the public sector for the Nevada Department of Transportation.

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John is the editorial director for, and Before joining QuinStreet, John was a deputy editor at The Wall Street Journal and had been an editor and reporter at a number of other media outlets where he covered insurance, personal finance, and technology.

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Contributing Researcher

Erik J. Martin is a Chicago area-based freelance writer whose articles have been published by AARP The Magazine, The Motley Fool, The Costco Connection, USAA, US Chamber of Commerce, Bankrate, The Chicago Tribune, and other publications. He often writes on topics related to insurance, real estate, personal finance, business, technology, health care, and entertainment. Erik also hosts a podcast and publishes several blogs, including and