New Car Replacement Insurance Coverage

If you're wondering what new car replacement is, you've come to the right place. New car replacement insurance is different from GAP insurance. If you have GAP insurance, it will pay the difference between your car's value and the amount you owe on the car. New car replacement insurance will pay for a new car in the event that your car is totaled regardless of financing. New car replacement insurance will give you enough to pay for a new car (minus deductible) rather than the depreciated value of your vehicle. New car replacement insurance can be expensive, so find out how to save on cheap car insurance by reading on.

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Mar 2, 2021

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Overview

  • If your car is totaled, new car replacement insurance will give you money for a brand new car of the same make and model (minus your deductible) instead of the depreciated value of your totaled car.
  • New car replacement coverage is available only as an add-on to collision and comprehensive insurance and requires a deductible.
  • There are eligibility requirements for new car replacement insurance, like limits on the age and mileage of the car at the time it was totaled.
  • New replacement car insurance is not GAP insurance, which covers you in the event the car you own or lease is stolen or totaled, and the debt on the car is more than the value of the car.

Congratulations on getting a new car. You also made the smart decision to get comprehensive and collision auto insurance coverage if your car ever gets stolen or in an accident. But just how covered are you if you buy a new car and it gets totaled? What if your insurer values the car for less than the purchase price due to depreciation? If you don’t have new car replacement insurance, you may be stuck paying the difference.

To learn about which insurance will pay you for the cost of a new car, continue reading. To get the peace of mind that comes with new car replacement coverage, put your ZIP code into our search tool to talk to an insurance provider in your area.

What is new car replacement insurance?

New cars can lose over 10% of their value just a few months after purchase. New car replacement insurance is add-on coverage that protects you if your new car is totaled but, due to depreciation, you owe more than the value of the car. New car replacement insurance pays you the cost of a brand new car of the same make and model, minus your insurance deductible.

Forbes.com says there are a few key things car buyers should know about new car replacement insurance.

You Need Collision And Comprehensive Coverage

New car replacement coverage is available only if you already have collision and comprehensive car insurance as part of your policy. New car replacement insurance is an add-on to collision and comprehensive coverage.

You Must Meet Eligibility Requirements

Most new car replacement policies have eligibility requirements. A standard requirement is that the vehicle must still be relatively new and not have too many miles. Coverage tends to be limited to cars that are less than a year old and/or have less than 15,000 miles.

New car replacement coverage is only available to the first titleholder. Also, the new car generally must have less than 1,000 miles on the odometer at the time of purchase.

You Must Purchase Replacement Coverage Within A Specified Time

While policy terms vary between insurance companies, typically there will be a time window within which you have to purchase new car replacement coverage. Some companies require that replacement coverage must be purchased within months of a new car purchase, whereas other providers allow replacement coverage to be added at any time so long as it is before your car is totaled.

You Must Pay A Deductible

You will have to pay a deductible with replacement insurance. A deductible is an amount you pay out of pocket before your insurance company will pay the covered loss. For example, if your claim is valued at $30,000 but your policy states that you have a $1,500 deductible, then you must pay $1,500 before your insurance company will pay $28,500.

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What is “better” new car replacement insurance?

Some insurance companies offer what is known as “better” car replacement insurance. This type of new car replacement insurance offers replacement value for “better,” i.e., newer, model of your car depending on how long you’ve had your new car. It also typically extends the qualifying age limit of the car. For example, assuming the age cut-off is two years, then if you’ve owned your car for less than two years, your carrier will reimburse you the cost to replace your totaled car with the newest comparable model year.

What is the difference between GAP insurance and new car replacement?

Now let’s talk about new car replacement insurance versus GAP insurance. GAP insurance is not the same as new car replacement insurance. GAP insurance is coverage protection in the event that a car you own or lease is stolen or totaled and the debt on the car is more than the value of the car. It is important to note that new car replacement insurance may not be combined with GAP insurance.

How GAP Insurance Works

If you have collision and comprehensive coverage, the amount you collect from car insurance after your car is stolen or totaled is generally the value of the car at the time of the accident minus any deductible. 

With GAP insurance, if a car you own or lease is stolen or wrecked and you owe more on the loan or lease than the amount of the claim settlement for the car, then the insurance company pays the difference. Without GAP insurance, you would have to pay the difference between the debt and the car’s value.

GAP Insurance For Leased Vehicles

According to Forbes.com, although consumers pay for GAP insurance, the coverage undoubtedly benefits automobile lenders and leasing companies. Financing institutions find that consumers with GAP insurance are less likely to abandon the car loan or lease after a theft or wreck. Many leasing companies actually require GAP insurance to lease a car. 

Do I get a new car if my car is totaled?

Not automatically. The reality of whether you can afford to get a new car after your car it totaled depends a lot on two variables: the total loss value calculated by your insurer and how much is owed on the car at the time of the theft or wreck.

Calculating Total Loss Value

State laws regulate how insurance companies are allowed to determine the total loss value. During the claim process, you should ask your adjuster about the specific total loss formula (TLF) your provider uses to calculate the total loss value.

Paying Off Car Debt

In the majority of cases, new cars are financed. In those cases, the insurance company’s settlement claim check will be made payable to both the financial lender and car owner. It’s also not uncommon for the insurance’s claim settlement check to be sent directly to the lender instead of the car owner. 

According to Car And Driver, if your lender is the lien holder and insurance is paying them directly, the loan company will first pay off what it is owed according to the financing contracts. Only after the lender is paid in full will any remaining balance be sent to you.

If your car is totaled, before you can get a new car, you’ll need to determine your loan payoff amount and the amount that insurance is expected to pay for the loss. Having that information will help you calculate how much money you will end up having to purchase your next car.

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Get Help

So, is new car replacement insurance worth it? If you just bought a new car, you definitely don’t want to be stuck having to pay the difference between what you owe on the car and the depreciated value if the car ends up getting totaled. 

You can put your ZIP code into our search tool now to talk with an insurance agent in your area about adding new car replacement coverage to your auto insurance policy, or help you with any of your insurance needs.

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