GAP INSURANCE CAN HELP FOR CAR ACCIDENT IF VEHICLE TOTALED
Our Minnesota auto accident lawyers have represented hundreds of people injured in car crash cases over the last 25 years. One issue that comes up frequently has to do with valuing our client’s car that has been totaled in the crash. Most people know that a car depreciates pretty quickly. Many people have heard the saying “your car is worth 10% less as soon as you drive it off the lot.” That is a bit of an exaggeration of course, but our attorneys have had many car accident cases where the client has purchased the car fairly recently and then when the vehicle is declared a total loss after the crash – they are often surprised and disappointed by the offer from the insurance company. In particular, it is hard to accept that you can owe money on your car when it was the other driver’s fault.
However, our lawyers have also worked on quite a few car accident cases where our client has what is called “gap insurance” that they purchased from the car dealer. Gap insurance most commonly will make up the difference between the value of the vehicle and the amount owed if the vehicle is totaled in an accident. The need for gap insurance arises because people finance their cars and extend the payments to five years or more. Therefore, if the car is totaled in the first few years, the amount owed on the can be more than the amount the car is worth at the time – because the car depreciates faster than the loan is paid off. It is that difference that is commonly covered by gap insurance.
Our lawyers have helped our car accident injury clients with their gap insurance claims many times because there can be a lot of paperwork to fill out. After your car is totaled in a crash, the gap insurance company will at least need to see the purchase agreement for the vehicle, loan documentation, police report, appraisal of the damaged car, and a copy of the check from the auto insurance company. Sometimes the gap insurance requires even more information than that. It is important to read the policy before you buy gap insurance so you understand your coverage, and then read it again after your vehicle is totaled in the accident so that you will know what the insurance company requires before making payment.
If you or a loved one have been injured in a car accident in MN and have questions about insurance coverage and your rights, please call us and speak with a lawyer for a free consultation.