Making Sense Of GAP Insurance - How To Mind Your GAP

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Making Sense of GAPInsurance – How ToMind Your GAPCustomer Fact Sheet– Guaranteed Asset ProtectionJune 2012

MAKING SENSE OF GAP INSURANCE – HOW TO MIND YOUR GAP 3What is GAP insurance?If you’re thinking about buying a vehicle, you may want to consider purchasingGuaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) insurance too.The moment you buy a vehicle, its value starts to decrease. Different vehiclesdepreciate at different rates, but whichever make and model you choose, nomatter how old the vehicle is, depreciation is likely to knock off a proportion ofthe original price, particularly during the first few years1.If you are in an accident or your vehicle is stolen, and your motor insurer deemsyour vehicle a write off, they will compensate you to the amount that your vehiclewas worth at the time of the loss – also known as ‘market value’. Because ofdepreciation, this will be lower than the price you paid. GAP insurance can coveryou against this, more or less filling the ‘gap’ between the vehicle’s market value(what it would cost if put on the market just before the accident) and the vehicle’svalue when you purchased it, as well as any outstanding finance debts, if applicable.Where can I buy GAP insurance?When you buy your vehicle, you will probably be offered GAP insurance with it.However, because cover differs between policies and providers, it is important toshop around to make sure the policy you purchase is the most appropriate one foryour needs. GAP insurance is available from a variety of sources, including: The vehicle retailer Insurance companies Insurance brokers (including online comparison websites) Finance and leasing companies Banks.To sell GAP Insurance they must be authorised and regulated by the FinancialServices Authority (FSA). You can check the FSA register of authorised companiesat http://www.fsa.gov.uk/register/.How do I choose the right GAP policyfor me?GAP insurance is available for new, used, leased, business-owned or privatelypurchased vehicles. There are several different types of policies, the main being RTICombined (also known as Return to Invoice/Financial Shortfall combined product)and Return to Invoice (also known as Invoice Price Protection) GAP. Other types ofGAP include Finance GAP, Return to Value GAP and Equivalent Value/ReplacementGAP. Make sure that you buy the type of policy that best suits your tion/.

4 MAKING SENSE OF GAP INSURANCE – HOW TO MIND YOUR GAPGAP policies are only normally available if the vehicle is insured under a fullycomprehensive insurance policy. They will come into play once your motor insurerdeclares your vehicle a total loss due to being involved in an accident or stolen.Some GAP policies may even cover up to a certain level of excess on your motorinsurance policy.Irrespective of which cover you choose, if you have paid for your vehicle ininstalments, both your GAP insurer and your comprehensive motor insurer arelikely to pay the finance company first. You will usually receive any extra afteryour loan has been paid back.RTI Combined GAP insuranceRTI Combined pays the difference between the vehicle’s market value at time ofloss and the amount you initially paid for the vehicle (the invoice amount), whichcould cover any outstanding finance you have left to pay. The Return to Invoiceelement of the cover is usually provided for up to 3 years and the Finance elementfor 5 years.Written offat 6 monthsWritten offat 30monthsWritten offat 42monthsThe original price you paid2 10,000 10,000 10,000Example market value at timeof loss 8,000 4,950 2,500Outstanding Finance at timeof loss 9,200 5,250 3,300Motor insurer’s settlementamount (market value minusexcess e.g. 250)3 7,750 4,700 2,250Total shortfall paid by theGAP insurer (differencebetween original price andmarket value at time of loss) 2,000 5,050 800Shortfall paid to financecompany (difference betweenoutstanding finance andmarket value at time of loss) 1,200 300 8004Shortfall paid to you 800 4750 0The Car Purchase Price excludes any payments you have made for things such as warranties, VAT, accessories etc.You can find more information under “What is excluded under a GAP insurance policy?”.3These figures apply where the customer is required to pay a motor insurer’s excess of 250. Some GAP insuranceproviders will pay an amount towards this excess. Please check your GAP insurance policy for details.4After 3 years’ cover, only the finance element will be paid.2

MAKING SENSE OF GAP INSURANCE – HOW TO MIND YOUR GAP 5If you have bought your vehicle on finance, you may want to consider buying Returnto Value Combined GAP Insurance. In the event of a total loss you would have themoney to buy a new car, and you would have no outstanding finance payable.Return to Invoice (or Invoice Price Protection)GAP insuranceReturn to Invoice GAP insurance pays the difference between the vehicle’s marketvalue at time of loss and the amount you initially paid for the vehicle (the invoiceamount). Cover is usually provided for 3 years.Written offat 6 monthsWritten offat 30 monthsThe original price you paid5 10,000 10,000Example market value at time of loss 8,000 4,950Motor insurance settlement amount (marketvalue minus excess e.g. 250)6 7,750 4,700Shortfall paid by the GAP insurer to you(difference between original price and marketvalue at time of loss) 2,000 5,050If you have bought your vehicle in one payment, or if you have paid a large depositon your finance agreement, you may want to consider buying Return to InvoiceGAP. In the event of a total loss you would have the money to buy a new car.The Car Purchase Price excludes any payments you have made for things such as warranties, VAT, accessories etc. Youcan find more information under “What is excluded under a GAP insurance policy?”.6These figures apply where the customer is required to pay a motor insurer’s excess of 250. Some GAP insuranceproviders will pay an amount towards this excess. Please check your GAP insurance policy for details.5

6 MAKING SENSE OF GAP INSURANCE – HOW TO MIND YOUR GAPFinance GAP insuranceYou can buy Finance GAP insurance for vehicles bought under a finance agreement7.It pays the difference between the vehicle’s market value at time of loss, and theamount outstanding on your finance agreement. The shortfall amount will often bepaid directly by the insurer to your finance company.Written offat 6 monthsWritten offat 30 monthsThe original price you paid8 10,000 10,000Example market value at time of loss 8,000 4,950Motor insurance settlement amount (marketvalue minus excess of e.g. 250)9 7,750 4,700Outstanding Finance at time of loss 9,200 5,250Shortfall paid by the GAP insurer to you(difference between outstanding financeand market value at time of loss) 1,200 300If you bought your vehicle on finance, and you paid a very small or no deposit, youmay want to consider buying Finance GAP. In the event of a total loss you wouldhave no outstanding finance payable.Return to Value GAP insuranceReturn to Value GAP insurance pays the difference between the vehicle’s marketvalue at time of loss and the market value of your vehicle at the time you took outthe policy (instead of the invoice price).If you bought your vehicle privately, second-hand, or if you have already ownedyour vehicle for several months, you may wish to consider purchasing Return toValue GAP.The finance agreement can include hire purchase, lease purchase, conditional sale, or personal contract purchase.The Car Purchase Price excludes any payments you have made for things such as warranties, VAT, accessories etc.You canfind more information under “What is excluded under a GAP insurance policy?”.9These figures apply where the customer is required to pay a motor insurer’s excess of 250. Some GAP insuranceproviders will pay an amount towards this excess. Please check your GAP insurance policy for details.78

MAKING SENSE OF GAP INSURANCE – HOW TO MIND YOUR GAP 7Equivalent Vehicle/Replacement GAP insuranceReplacement GAP insurance covers the cost of replacing your vehicle with exactlythe same make/model or equivalent as you originally bought. This can normallyonly be bought for new or ex-demo vehicles. The GAP insurer will pay the shortfalleither to you or directly to the vehicle dealer, depending on whether you boughtthe policy with your vehicle or separately.If the same model is no longer available, the insurer will base the settlement figureon an equivalent vehicle.Lease GAPLease GAP is available for vehicles on any form of contract hire, personal contracthire or lease agreement where the title of the vehicle does not transfer to thecustomer. Lease GAP pays the difference between the market value at time of lossand the balance outstanding to the lease company (the Early Termination charge).Cover is available for periods up to 5 years, and can sometimes be included undera Finance GAP policy but it is important to check the terms and conditions.If you have bought your vehicle on a lease arrangement of more than 1 year youmay want to consider buying Return to Invoice GAP.Other types of GAP insuranceSome policies offer you a mixture of different GAP insurances described above,or can provide additional cover such as for increases in Value Added Tax ormanufacturers’ price increases. Make sure you are clear what type of GAP policyis best for you.What should I ask when thinking aboutbuying GAP insurance?Before buying any insurance policy, you should always read the policy summary toensure you understand exactly what it does and does not cover. Questions to askthe retailer might be: When will the policy start and how long it will last? Is there a time limit within which I have to make a claim after a total loss?See section entitled “How do I make a claim?”. What is excluded from cover?See section entitled “What is excluded under a GAP insurance policy?”. What is the market or retail value of my vehicle?Many GAP insurance policies refer to ‘market value’ when calculating claimpayments, so it is important to understand what this means.

8 MAKING SENSE OF GAP INSURANCE – HOW TO MIND YOUR GAP If I sell my vehicle, can I transfer my policy to the new car? Can I cancel my GAP policy?See section entitled “Can I cancel my GAP policy?”. Have the GAP insurer and retailer adopted the ABI’s voluntary good practice guide?The ABI’s voluntary good practice guidance for GAP insurers and retailersexplains how to treat customers fairly. It includes suggestions on providing clearinformation, offering cancellation rights, dealing with complaints fairly, andother details.You may also wish to check your motor insurance policy document for the following:What does my motor insurance policysay about replacing my vehicle?Some motor insurance policies will replace your vehicle in the event of total loss,but only within the first one or two years, and this may also be conditional onfactors such as where and to whom the vehicle was first registered, the mileage atthe time of write-off/theft, and the age and condition of the vehicle. Some GAPpolicies commence after the replacement vehicle benefit expires. You should beaware that if you refuse an offer from your motor insurer to replace your vehicleafter a total loss, this may affect any claims you wish to make on your GAPinsurance policy.How does my motor insurer calculate‘market value’ when my vehicle iswritten off?It is important to be aware that your motor and GAP insurer may come to adifferent conclusion as to what your vehicle was worth before being declared atotal loss. GAP insurers usually reserve the right not to pay the full difference ifyou accept your motor insurer’s offer without checking with your GAP insurer first,because sometimes the GAP insurer will consider the motor insurer’s offer to betoo low. A GAP insurer will normally ask you for permission to contact your motorinsurer on your behalf in order to reach an agreement that eliminates, or at leastsignificantly reduces, any shortfall.

MAKING SENSE OF GAP INSURANCE – HOW TO MIND YOUR GAP 9What is excluded under a GAP insurancepolicy?Cover will vary between different types of GAP policies, and different providers,so make sure you always read the policy summary carefully. Some commonexclusions are: dealer-fitted accessories or options (as they may not have any value at time of loss) warranty costs fuel paintwork protection applications insurance premiums road fund licence or road tax charges for excess mileage arrears other additional amounts included in the invoice.What are my responsibilities?It is essential that you read the policy document and make sure you understandthe cover that is being provided, including any details about cancellation charges,valuation methods, any exclusions, and any instructions on what you need to do inorder to claim.Can I cancel my GAP insurance policy?When you buy a GAP insurance policy, you will be granted a ‘cooling off’ periodof at least 14 days, which means that if you cancel your policy during that time,and haven’t made any claims, you will get a refund (though this refund could bereduced by reasonable administration charges). Once the cooling off period hasexpired, some providers may not provide a refund.However, insurers and providers who fully support the ABI Good Practice Guide forGAP insurance should provide you with a refund (minus administration charges) forpolicies sold after 30 June 2012. You can find a list of these insurers on the ABI’swebsite: l/GAP insurance.aspx.

10 MAKING SENSE OF GAP INSURANCE – HOW TO MIND YOUR GAPHow do I claim on my GAP policy?A GAP Insurance claim is dependent on your motor insurer declaring your vehiclea total loss, whether written off or stolen. There is usually a time limit indicatedin your GAP policy document within which you need to claim. This is particularlyimportant to note if you have bought a finance GAP policy with your finance leaseagreement on your vehicle, as the GAP policy will not automatically pay off anyoutstanding finance you still owe on the vehicle unless you make a claim, evenif you bought the GAP policy at the same time as making your finance or leasingarrangement. Most GAP insurers would strongly encourage contacting thembefore accepting a claim payment from your motor insurer.How can I complain?If you have a complaint, first contact your GAP or motor insurer, and if you are stillnot satisfied with the way your complaint has been handled, you can contact theFinancial Ombudsman Service (FOS). The FOS is the official independent expertin settling complaints between customers and businesses who provide financialservices. It is a free service for customers to use, and while its rulings are notbinding on customers, financial services firms are legally obliged to follow them.Where can I get more information?For details of member insurance companies:Association of British InsurersTel: 020 7216 7455www.abi.org.ukFor complaints about your insurance company’s complaints process:The Financial Ombudsman ServiceTel: 0800 0 234 567www.financial-ombudsman.org.uk

For more information, contact:Association of British Insurers51 Gresham StreetLondon EC2V 7HQ020 7600 3333www.abi.org.uk

find more information under "What is excluded under a GAP insurance policy?". 9 These figures apply where the customer is required to pay a motor insurer's excess of 250. Some GAP insurance providers will pay an amount towards this excess. Please check your GAP insurance policy for details. Written off at 6 months Written off at 30 months

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