Gap insurance is a stand-alone policy designed to bridge the ‘gap’ between the amount you paid for your car, and the amount your insurer would pay out in the event of a claim.
Insurers only pay the market value if your car is written off or stolen, meaning you could be left out of pocket. This type of policy is most commonly bought for brand-new cars because of how fast they depreciate.
Gap insurance ensures you don’t end up losing money. The actual amount of cover you get will depend on the level you choose when taking out a policy.
There are three types of policies to choose from when you get a quote:
1. Vehicle replacement insurance (VRI) is suitable for second-hand cars, it covers the difference between the insurance pay-out and the cost of replacing your car to the same specification as when it was bought.
2. Return to invoice (RTI) is suitable for cars that were bought brand new. It pays the difference between the insurance pay-out and the original value of the car. If your car is declared a total loss, the difference between your insurer’s payment and the cost of your vehicle when you bought it is covered, including any outstanding finance.
3. Finance, lease & contract hire protects you in the event of your vehicle being declared a total loss. It’s suitable for HP, PCP, lease and contract hire vehicles. This type of gap insurance will pay the difference between the outstanding finance balance and the motor insurer’s settlement.
New cars depreciate quickly. Sadly, from the moment they leave the shop their value drops. Generally, a new car depreciates a staggering 20% per year on average.
For example, if you purchased a car for £20,000, by year three it’ll be worth about £10,000 at market value, based on approximately 20% annual depreciation.
If your car is declared a total loss, your insurer will only pay out the market valuation of £10,000. It’s unlikely that this’ll be enough to buy a newer equivalent model, leaving you to fork out for the £10,000 shortfall or settle for an older car.
Having gap insurance in place would mean you would get £20,000 in the event of a claim, £10,000 from your insurer and £10,000 from gap insurance. So you’d be able to get a new replacement without having to dip into your own pocket*.
Gap insurance could be worth considering if you’re worried about not getting the price you paid for your car back if it was written off or stolen. Or if you’re likely to be in negative equity if something was to happen your car.
*Return to invoice or vehicle replacement policies only.
Gap insurance can be bought for new or second-hand cars up to 10 years old. It’s a common misconception that gap insurance is only used for financed cars. As gap insurance is an additional cost on top of your standard policy, it’s important to understand it so you can decide whether you really need it.
Reasons why you should consider gap insurance:
- Your car is on finance. This is because your pay-out may not be enough to clear the debt, which could leave you paying for a car that you no longer have.
- You want a newer car if yours is written off or stolen. Gap insurance will cover the difference between what you originally paid for the car, and the current market value.
- You’d like to guarantee you get the same amount that you originally paid, in the event of a total loss.
You’re happy to replace your car with a similar make and model rather than a brand-new car, if it is written off or stolen.
You have a used car and you can afford to replace it with the market value paid by the insurer and using your own funds to add to the costs if needed.
You have a fully comprehensive policy with ‘new for old’ included on your policy, and your car is less than 12 months old. Your insurer should offer ‘new car replacement’ in this case, which means you don’t need gap insurance.
You have third party or third party, fire and theft insurance as having gap insurance only works with fully comprehensive cover.
You use your vehicle as a race car on a track or in a rally. Gap insurance will only cover you for road driving.
We’ve partnered with Direct Gap who can provide you with a quote in less than a minute. All you’ll need to get a quote is:
- The value of your car when you bought it, excluding modifications added after purchase
- How many years cover you need, ranging from 1 to 5 years
You’ll then be given a quote for 3 different types of policies on offer. Choose the option that’s right for you and buy to start your cover.
The cost of gap insurance depends on the type of policy you choose, the length of policy, and the purchase price of your car.
The table below gives you an average cost for each policy type based on a 3-year policy. Information is from Direct Gap.
|Policy type||Average cost of 3-year policy||Average cost of vehicle|
|Finance Gap insurance||£126||£10k - £30k|
|Return to invoice||£159||£10k - £30k|
|Vehicle replacement||£199||£10k - £30k|
We don’t offer a comparison for gap insurance, we have a chosen provider who offer cover which is powered by Direct Gap.
There are also a range of specialist providers who offer cover, so if you want to shop around and compare prices, you’ll need to visit them separately.
Most car dealers will offer gap insurance policies when you buy a car, but independent research shows it’s 50% cheaper to buy direct from an insurer, compared to a car dealership.With Direct Gap you get:
- No fees for paying by credit card, with monthly payment options available over 12 instalments (subject to status)
- A quick resolution - they aim to settle any claim within 10 days
- No charge for amending your policy with new registration number or address details
- Cover for all named drivers on your policy
- £250 towards your motor insurance excess
In order to qualify for gap insurance, the age, mileage and price of the car must fall within a certain range and the car must feature in Glass’ Guide.
Most gap insurance cannot insure:
- Cars with a purchase price of over £75,000 (unless they have an approved tracking device)
- Vehicles over 10 years old
- Vehicles that have driven more than 100,000 miles when the policy is purchased
You should also note that gap insurance doesn’t cover taxis, private hire vehicles, cars and vans used for any other type of ‘hire and reward’, or vehicles used for racing, rallying or any other competitive event.