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Storm Arwen highlights the value of GAP insurance

No matter how carefully you look after your car, it can still be written off and leave you in a difficult financial position

GAP insurance advice at The Car Expert, brought to you by

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Pictures showing cars crushed by fallen trees, flooded by high tides and even pummeled by falling piles of bricks have been making a strong case for motorists taking out GAP insurance, in the wake of the devastation of Storm Arwen.

Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) insurance is typically described as a product that protects your wallet in the event of your car being stolen or written off in a car accident. As such, some conscientious car owners have argued that they don’t need GAP as their car is stored securely, or they drive carefully or have low annual mileages so are unlikely to get involved in a car crash.

But the events of Storm Arwen showed that even the most fastidious owners can’t protect against every circumstance. There will always be some situations that could easily result in your car being declared a Total Loss – even if it’s parked securely in your own garage. In cases where your house is damaged and you may be without power for several days, do you really want the added hassle of worrying about the value of your car insuance payout?

GAP insurance is an addition layer of cover on top of your normal car insurance. Since the price you paid for your car is likely to be different from the vehicle’s value at the time of the Total Loss, GAP insurance offers to bridge the difference so you’re not facing a situation where you have outstanding finance on a car you can’t afford to replace it like-for-like.

Add an outstanding finance agreement to that, which the payout from the primary insurer is unlikely to fully cover, and you could find yourself overwhelmed with an unexpected debt, no means of getting back to ‘normal’ life and no deposit or savings to put towards a replacement motor.

GAP insurance tends to be offered at a dealership at a vastly overpriced rate, at which points drivers are already spending a good chunk of money. There is a mandatory two-day wait required between a dealer selling a car and offering you GAP insurance, with legislation brought in to enable drivers to shop around for better prices on their GAP insurance. Unfortunately, many drivers (although obviously not our readers!) don’t always use this opportunity.

Obviously events like Storm Arwen won’t come along very often, but if you’re taking finance over three or four years (or more), that’s a long time to be without financial protection to fully cover your debt to the finance company. So even if you look after your car and drive it carefully, it might still be worth getting a GAP insurance quote to protect your investment.

Cat Dow
Cat Dow
Cat is a former contributor to The Car Expert and The Van Expert. She now writes for Top Gear.