GAP Insurance Refund: Is It Possible And How Do I Get It

You can get a GAP insurance refund for the coverage you didn't use if you pay your vehicle off early. You must notify the insurer and show them a payoff notice to receive your GAP insurance refund. The GAP insurance refund after refinancing can also be received in some situations.

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UPDATED: May 21, 2022

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Written By: Laura BerryReviewed By: Joel OhmanUPDATED: May 21, 2022Fact Checked

Here's what you need to know...

  • When you buy a new car, its value begins to depreciate immediately
  • GAP insurance policy bridges the “gap” between what you owe on an auto loan and the car’s depreciated value
  • You can request a refund on a portion of your GAP coverage from your GAP insurance provider if you pay off your loan early

When you buy a new car, you may consider adding the optional GAP insurance coverage along with your required liability coverage. GAP insurance is an optional add-on available through many car dealerships and car insurance companies and is used to repay the remaining loan balance if the leased or financed car is declared a total loss or gets stolen.

Once the car’s value is more than what drivers owe, they will no longer need their GAP coverage. If you decide to cancel your GAP insurance policy early, luckily, you may be able to get a refund. Before we dive into the details of GAP insurance refunds, let’s find out what GAP insurance is and how it works.

What is GAP insurance and how does it work?

One add-on feature you will be offered if you are financing the car is GAP insurance. You may not see the importance of carrying supplemental protection to pay off your loan if you do not really understand how claims valuations are calculated.

Insurers are not going to simply pay off your loan when you file a claim and the vehicle is a total loss. Instead, they are going to determine how much the car was worth at the time of the incident. According to Kelley Blue Book, the insurer is only responsible for paying up to the Actual Cash Value of the car if it is totaled or needs significant repairs. Actual Cash Value, in simple terms, is the replacement cost of the car minus depreciation.

Unless you put down a large deposit, you will more than likely be upside down on your loan from the moment you drive off of the lot.

You are considered upside down on a loan when your car is worth less than the amount you owe.

If your car is determined to be a total loss, your insurer will only issue a check for the actual depreciated value of the car minus your deductible. You will then be left to pay the difference on the balance on the loan out of pocket.

Learn more about How GAP insurance works after totaling a car.

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Should I get GAP coverage?

Adding GAP insurance coverage may be a good idea, one that could save you a lot of money if your vehicle suffers an accident, or is stolen. When someone leases their vehicle, they remain responsible for the vehicle’s cost if it is in an accident.

GAP could be a great asset in the case of leasing a vehicle. When financing a vehicle, GAP insurance has value. Vehicles depreciate, some more quickly than others. With that being the case, you would want to research before making the purchase and also consider a GAP insurance policy.

When is GAP a good investment?

If you are financing a car with no down payment or a small down payment of 10% or less, it is in your interest to buy GAP. It is also in your interest to have the coverage if you have a longer loan term between five and seven years since this is when cars are worth half of their original value.

GAP may not be necessary for the following situations:

  • You put a large down payment
  • You plan to pay off your loan immediately
  • You get a great deal on the sales price

You should know the details about the advantages and disadvantages before you make a choice at the dealership.

Where to purchase GAP insurance?

GAP insurance is able to be added to your auto insurance coverage policy and included in your insurance coverage premiums It can also be bought as a separate policy from a GAP insurance company via lenders. You should be sure to verify with your provider that they offer it. Read the fine print in the contract, and if GAP insurance is not something you wish to add, then have the GAP coverage removed.

How much GAP insurance will cost will vary depending on the provider you’ve chosen. It could range from under $10 monthly payment to under $50 for the year. So, it will be important to research the providers and shop around. The dealership could be charging something expensive, and you could get a cheaper rate if you just added it to your existing auto insurance policy. Your best bet is to call your auto insurance company and ask whether you can add it to your existing policy.

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When should I not purchase GAP insurance?

Every driver does not need GAP insurance. If the car costs more than the payment amount, then the coverage is pointless. Having a GAP waiver is another reason to avoid purchasing GAP insurance. If there is a total loss, the lender has agreed to waive the difference between the amount owed on the car and the actual cash value.

Buying GAP insurance coverage through the GAP insurance company the dealership recommends could cost more money in the long run. Basically, if you finance you will be paying more for your GAP insurance premium because of the interest charged by your finance company in addition to the money financed to buy the car.

How can you get a GAP refund?

Is GAP insurance refundable? If you pay your vehicle loan off early, in this situation you will be entitled to a partial refund for the unused portion of the GAP insurance coverage when your GAP insurance cancelation is processed. When you are financing your car in the finance office, the premiums for coverage are calculated based on the purchase price and the loan term.

If you reduce the period of time of your loan term, you will not get all the coverage that you paid for in your loan.

Because of this, the company must refund you all the unused premiums. You must notify the insurer and show them a payoff notice in order to have the check issued.

GAP Insurance Refund After Payoff Notice

To get a GAP insurance refund check, you will want to check your policy’s terms and conditions on your GAP insurance contract. This will ensure your eligibility for a refund. GAP insurance coverage companies may have various terms as well as fees. You could likely get a GAP refund if the contract was canceled within 30 days of getting your coverage, or policy.

Getting a GAP insurance refund comes with some options. Ways to get a refund can include: emailing, phone, letter writing, visiting an office in person, and more. It’s imperative that you verify with your provider about the correct option.

Can I get a GAP insurance refund from a dealership?

You could qualify for a dealership’s GAP insurance refund, however, this depends on the terms of the contract. If you just bought your car a few months ago, chances are that you’ll be able to get a refund. Most dealerships require that the premium for the GAP lease or loan protection is paid at closing ( which may extend for several years).

Getting a GAP insurance refund from your dealer can take some time. First, you’ll need to contact the insurance company that the dealership works with. Also, you’ll probably need to find a replacement GAP lease or loan policy before canceling.

What are the alternatives to dealer GAP insurance?

You are not obligated to buy a GAP insurance policy at the car lot. Many standard car insurers offer their own coverage for newer cars.

Ask about this option, and you can simply add on GAP when you add the car to your policy. The benefit is that when the car is paid off, the coverage can be removed.

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GAP Insurance Refund: The Bottom Line

Auto insurance companies, dealerships, financial institutions such as banks and credit unions, and other third parties provide gap insurance products.

You can often get a prorated refund for GAP insurance, i.e the unused portion of your GAP insurance. If you recently purchased the policy, depending upon your GAP insurance company, you can receive a full refund if you cancel within a certain time period (typically 30 days).

If you want to find car insurance with a supplemental GAP option, you can start comparing quotes.

Editorial Guidelines: We are a free online resource for anyone interested in learning more about auto insurance. Our goal is to be an objective, third-party resource for everything auto insurance related. We update our site regularly, and all content is reviewed by auto insurance experts.

A former insurance producer, Laura understands that education is key when it comes to buying insurance. She has happily dedicated many hours to helping her clients understand how the insurance marketplace works so they can find the best car, home, and life insurance products for their needs.

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Written by Laura Berry
Former Insurance Agent Laura Berry

Joel Ohman is the CEO of a private equity backed digital media company. He is a CERTIFIED FINANCIAL PLANNER™, author, angel investor, and serial entrepreneur who loves creating new things, whether books or businesses. He has also previously served as the founder and resident CFP® of a national insurance agency, Real Time Health Quotes. He has an MBA from the University of South Florida. Jo...

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Reviewed by Joel Ohman
Founder & CFP® Joel Ohman

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