According to Statista, nearly 30% of all vehicles in the US were leased at the end of 2017. Leasing has climbed in popularity since 2009. An Edmunds study shows that in 2016 there were 4.3 million leased vehicles in the US. Low payments attract consumers but they could be leaving substantial sums on the table if they have not protected more than the car.
Remember, when you lease a car you are renting the vehicle but you own the loan. You need to take steps to protect your finances from significant loss in the event of a car accident.
Many people do not realize that the person leasing a car is liable for the remaining lease payments and the difference between an insurance settlement and the car’s value in the lease, even when the car is rendered unusable. That means that in the event of an accident that totals the car, you could find yourself paying for a vehicle you can no longer drive.
That is where gap insurance comes in. Let me give you a recent example:
A client's car was in an accident. There was no bodily injury (his daughter was driving) and very little damage to the other car, but his car was totaled. The car had 8 months left on a 36 month lease. The insurance payout on the car was $21,000 whereas the buyout value is $22,500.
The client could have been facing the $1500 difference between the payout and value plus the remaining 8 months of lease payments. Luckily in this case, the client had elected gap coverage on his insurance policy. That means his policy covers the price difference and additional payments. Otherwise it could have been a very expensive situation.
Bear in mind that the vehicle is no longer driveable so he will need to access another vehicle, likely with its own lease payments. Fortunately gap insurance exists to relieve this very type of unexpected expense. The premiums you pay towards the gap policy are small compared to the risk of a large gap.
Gap coverage helps protect you from losses on a leased vehicle exceeding the insurance payout and also eliminates the additional monthly payments. It bridges the gap.
If you need more information or specifics on how you might benefit from adding gap insurance our team is here to help.
Photo: David Long
Edmunds: Lease Market Report