Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) insurance protects you against financial loss if your vehicle has been declared a total loss or write off by your insurer. A GAP insurance policy will top up an insurer’s pay-out, providing the extra funds to purchase a replacement vehicle or to settle any outstanding finance.
Why have GAP insurance?
As soon as you drive your vehicle off the forecourt, your car’s value will immediately begin to depreciate. GAP insurance covers the difference between the price you paid for the car and its current market value, essentially it covers the “gap” providing the funds required to replace the car.
On average, a car loses around 60 percent of its value in its first three years. So, if your new car costs £12,000, and three years later it was stolen or written off, you’d get just £4,800 from your insurer.
That’s not enough to buy the same car brand new and, if you purchased the vehicle with a finance plan such as PCP (Personal Contract Purchase), it’s unlikely to be enough to repay any outstanding balloon payments and interest on your PCP plan.
Types of GAP insurance
There are five main types of GAP insurance: Return to Invoice (RTI), Return to Value (RTV), Finance GAP Insurance, Vehicle Replacement (VR) and Contract Hire GAP (CHG). MotorEasy offers two of the five - Return to Value and Return to Invoice - although for the sake of clarity, each are further detailed below.
Return to Invoice (RTI)
A RTI GAP policy covers new and used vehicles that have been purchased from a VAT registered dealer within the last 6 months. Used vehicles must be under 10 years old and have less than 100,000 recorded miles.
RTI policies will cover the difference between your car insurer’s pay-out and the net invoice price you originally paid for your vehicle. Or, if you purchased the vehicle on finance, RTI will cover you for the amount required to settle your outstanding finance balance, depending on which amount is greater.
If you have purchased your vehicle under a lease agreement, the RTI policy will pay the difference between your insurer’s settlement and the lease early termination charge required by the lease company. Get a quote today for ultimate peace of mind.
Return to Value (RTV)
RTV GAP policies are available for vehicles purchased through a private seller, or new and used cars purchased through a VAT registered dealer more than 6 months ago.
Your car must be under 10 years old and must have covered less than 100,000 miles.
An RTV policy covers the difference between the value you paid for the vehicle and the market value of the vehicle on the start date of the GAP insurance plan. Grab RTV GAP protection in seconds.
Finance GAP insurance
A basic level of cover that is usually included as part of other types of GAP cover, finance GAP insurance pays the difference between the value of your car at the point of write-off and the amount outstanding on your finance agreement.
Finance GAP insurance usually won’t cover you if the amount you have borrowed is higher than the cost of the car. This may come about if you have part exchanged a previous car with outstanding finance. In this instance, a finance GAP policy won’t cover the older debt on your previous car if you have bought your car on finance or hire purchase.
Vehicle Replacement GAP insurance (VR)
Vehicle replacement GAP insurance is designed to protect you from future increases in car prices or discounts that are no longer available.
It is designed to compensate the difference between your car insurance pay-out and the future cost of replacing an equivalent vehicle with a new one. Given the replacement costs for some vehicles can be lower or the same, vehicle replacement GAP insurance may not be relevant in all situations.
Contract Hire GAP (CHG)
Designed for leased vehicles that you do not own - in most cases, a CHG will pay any outstanding rental payments or a termination fee as well as any shortfall in the market value remaining about your main insurer’s pay-out.
What’s covered by GAP insurance?
Your GAP cover depends on the type of policy you selected and will be shown in your schedule of cover.
For example, if you purchase a MotorEasy RTI policy, if your vehicle is written off due to fire, theft, accidental damage, or adverse weather conditions, MotorEasy will cover:
- The difference between the motor insurance settlement and the net invoice price you originally paid for your vehicle; or
- The motor insurance settlement and the amount required to settle your outstanding finance balance, depending on which amount is greater;
- If you have purchased your vehicle under a lease agreement, this policy will pay the difference between the motor insurance settlement and the lease early termination charge required by the lease company
- We will also cover up to £250 of your motor insurance excess
What is NOT covered by GAP insurance:
- GAP insurance will not cover the cost of your main car insurance premium. It also excludes any deposits, discounts, rebates, concessions, cashbacks and, incentives that you may have benefited from, when you first purchased the vehicle
- GAP insurance excludes the general costs associated with getting your vehicle on the road, for example new vehicle registration fees, road fund licence fees, the cost of a number plate
- GAP insurance excludes any additional costs you may have taken out when you first purchased your car – for example if you purchased a dealer warranty or paintwork protection, or benefited from a free tank of fuel
Who needs GAP insurance?
GAP insurance can be a great solution for anyone owning a car up to 10 years old or under 100,000 miles. However, it is particularly relevant for newer cars, where the cost and impact of depreciation in value is most extreme. A car’s value can depreciate by as much as 60% in its first three years. It is this fall in value that GAP insurance is designed to compensate for, over and above any payment you might receive from your main car insurer based on their estimated value of your car at the time of a write-off.
GAP insurance is relevant whether you purchased your car outright with cash, or if you purchased it with a loan, car finance or lease agreement such as PCP, PCH or HP.
However, it is particularly relevant for cars purchased with a finance agreement that involves a zero or small initial payment, alongside a long payoff period. In those instances, the buyer is likely to owe more on the car than its current value and may also have to cover a larger outstanding settlement or balloon payments.
Who doesn’t need GAP insurance?
In some instances, a main car insurer will replace a brand-new car if it is written off within its first 12-months. Make sure you check with your main insurer first to see if you need additional protection within your car’s first 12-months.
You do not need GAP insurance if your car is over 12 months old. After that period your car is likely to have, depreciated to its maximum extent and there will be less of a need to offset this fall in value with a GAP insurance policy.
While GAP insurance is more relevant to anyone purchasing a new car, less the need becomes less important if you are putting down a large initial payment on your vehicle; for example, more than 20% of the vehicles’ value. At that point you are less likely to be left with a hefty outstanding finance bill or balloon payment if your vehicle is declared a write-off.
What are the benefits of GAP insurance?
GAP insurance is a great way to buy peace of mind if you own a newer vehicle (1-3 years old), likely to depreciate in value, or if your driving habits are likely to accelerate your car’s drop in value – for example if you incur high annual mileage. In both instances, the pay-out you receive from an insurer in the event of a write off, might be far less than the price you initially paid for the car, or the price of an equivalent aged car.
GAP insurance is especially beneficial if you purchased your car on finance, with a small down-payment and long payoff period. In this instance your car’s market value (the amount you might receive from your insurer in the event of a write off) is likely to be a lot less than the outstanding finance you still owe. GAP insurance therefore protects you from the considerable inconvenience of having to pay-off finance on a car that you no longer own or have access to.
Aside from protecting your wallet from paying for a vehicle you no longer own, GAP insurance also delivers the immediate advantage of replenishing funds, helping you to quickly purchase a replacement vehicle or take the cash.
In addition to the direct financial protection that GAP insurance affords, a MotorEasy GAP policy also provides a number of additional benefits, including:
- Up to £250 in motor insurance excesses covered
- Optional extras and accessories covered (where factory or dealer fitted)
- European road trips for up to 30 days covered
- Savings on MotorEasy maintenance and repairs
- FREE MotorEasy account with access to all your car’s details, documents, important reminders and motoring offers
- Covers most manufacturers
How much does GAP insurance cost?
The cost of your GAP insurance will depend on your age and the make and the model of the vehicle. Going to MotorEasy for GAP coverage is up to 75% cheaper than purchasing through the dealer or a lender. You can choose a MotorEasy GAP policy from 24, 36 or 48 months.
Example of pay-outs:
- 5-year-old BMW 3-Series - £3408
- 20 plate Nissan Qashqai - £3010
How do I get a GAP insurance quote?
Simply enter your registration number and some other personal details and you’ll be presented with a quote in seconds! If you’d prefer you can always give us a ring on 0800 131 0001; calls are free, and we can then go over any specific requirements you may have for your vehicle.
How do I claim on GAP insurance?
As soon as you think the insured vehicle may be declared a total loss, you should immediately review and proceed with the claims process found in your policy document – you’ll find this in your MotorEasy account. Make sure you do this before you accept any settlement offer from your motor insurer.
Contact MotorEasy within 60 days by telephone on 0800 131 0001 or email email@example.com, it's that simple!
GAP insurance FAQs
We've put together a list of frequently asked questions to make car ownership less confusing.
What kind of cars need GAP insurance?
Cars less than 10 years old and with less than 100,000 miles recorded since new are eligible for return to value and return to invoice GAP cover. Cars and light commercial vans of less than 3,500KG in weight and with a recorded insured value of less than £75,000 qualify.
GAP insurance is particularly relevant for younger vehicles up to 3-years old. It is during this time when your vehicle will depreciate most in value and you are most exposed to a shortfall in an insurer’s pay-out, in the event your car is stolen or written off.
GAP insurance is also much more important if you purchased your car with a small or zero down-payment and a long period of monthly repayment. In such instances, your finance agreement will far exceed the value of your car, meaning your insurers pay-out (in the event of a write-off) will not be sufficient for you to cover any outstanding finance or balloon payments that you might still owe.
Will GAP insurance replace my car?
GAP insurance effectively bridges the difference between the pay-out you receive from your main insurer and, depending on the type of policy you take out, the price you paid for your vehicle (return to invoice policy) or its current market value (return to value policy).
Importantly, if you purchased the car on finance, it could also pay-off any outstanding finance on your car, which is usually more than the market value of your car when you purchased it.
GAP insurance provides you with the funds to purchase a replacement vehicle or the ability to pay-off any outstanding finance you might still owe on your car.
Are GAP insurance policies just for new cars?
You can purchase a GAP policy on any car up to 10 years old as long as it has covered less than 100,000 miles.
Is GAP Insurance worth the money?
If you choose the right GAP policy, it’s a fantastic product that can potentially save significant money and heartache in the event your car is stolen or written off.
That said, choose wisely. GAP policies have been criticised for being over-priced in the past. Generally speaking, a GAP policy purchased through a car dealer might be up to 3 times more expensive compared to a MotorEasy policy.
Back in 2015, the FCA introduced new rules to prevent car dealers bundling an over-priced policy to customers caught-up in the negotiation of a new car purchase. Dealerships are no longer allowed to sell GAP on the same day they sell you a car. There must be at least a 2-day break, unless the buyer decides to waive the waiting period.
Aside from the price you should also check the level of cover in your policy. Some providers will include certain limitations, exclusions or excess charges in their claim conditions. If in doubt, contact your seller directly to discuss the small print.
What is the difference between a vehicle Replacement GAP policy and a Return to Invoice GAP Policy?
While a return to invoice GAP policy will pay you back the price you paid for a vehicle, a vehicle replacement policy pays up to the cost of a replacement car, or your finance settlement, whichever is greater.
Can you get GAP insurance after you buy a car?
Yes, at MotorEasy, you can purchase a GAP policy up to 180-days after taking delivery of your new car.
Still got questions? Take a look at some more FAQs.