Congratulations, you just bought a new (or new to you) car! You were able to afford a down payment and now you are the proud owner of a new car and a monthly car payment. But, what happens if your car becomes involved in an accident and you owe more than your car is worth?
Imagine this scenario: While out enjoying your new car, you hydroplane and hit a guardrail damaging your new vehicle beyond repair. The insurance company is telling you that your new car is a total loss. While you may not be able to drive the vehicle, you are still responsible for the loan associated with vehicle. If you have a gap insurance policy in Anchorage, Alaska, you may be only responsible for your deductible.
How gap insurance in Alaska works:
What is depreciation: Vehicles, especially new vehicles, begin to depreciate as soon as you drive them off the dealer lot. Depreciation can be quite surprising and is not necessarily tied to the base cost of the vehicle. Due to wear-and-tear, fluctuating market conditions and a number of other factors, depreciation in the first year is the steepest. Even with proper care and maintenance and no accidents, a vehicle will continue to depreciate. Even though the value of the vehicle will go down each year, the amount you owe on the vehicle will not. Depreciation will vary between make and model but here is a baseline comparison:
|Year||Vehicle||Style||Base price||Depreciation year one|
|2013||Subaru Legacy||2.5i sedan||$21,295||$3,069|
|2013||Honda Civic||Base sedan||$22,715||$4,406|
*Figures courtesy of automobilemag.com
Why a gap insurance policy: In the unfortunate event that your vehicle is totaled, and it is an event covered under your current auto insurance policy, your insurer may pay the actual cash value of the vehicle, which may be significantly less than the outstanding vehicle loan. In that case, you would still be responsible for the remaining balance between the loan and the insurance payout, which could be thousands of dollars. If you choose to purchase gap insurance in Alaska, your insurance company would cover the remaining balance between the actual cash value of the vehicle and the remaining loan balance, typically up to 25 percent, potentially saving you thousands of dollars.
Options for a gap insurance policy: There are two options for purchasing gap insurance in Alaska. It can be purchased from the dealership or through an insurance agent. If you choose to purchase gap insurance through the dealership you purchase your vehicle from, the gap insurance will be built into your loan. The average price for gap insurance from a dealership is around $1,000, but add interest and taxes and it can add up to much more. If you choose to purchase gap insurance from an insurance agent, on average it would add less than $10 per month to a policy! There may be certain stipulations associated with a gap insurance policy:
- The loan may need to be through a financial institution rather than an individual
- Your current auto insurance policy may need to include Collision and Comprehensive coverage
- Your claim may need to be a covered Collision and Comprehensive coverage event
- Your vehicle may need to be determined as a total loss
Before you purchase a new vehicle, make sure to check with your licensed insurance agent in Alaska to see how you can add gap insurance to your new vehicle policy. The local, independent agents at J.C. Morris Insurance in Anchorage, AK can assist you with adding or amending an existing policy or setting you up with a new policy. Their years of insurance experience can save you a bundle. You can also visit their insurance website 24/7 to learn more about auto insurance or the other insurance products they offer like classic car or home insurance.