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Icon CheckLast updated: December 8, 2022

The Best Gap Insurance

The coverage you need before you drive off the lot.

Best Overall
Nationwide logo

Nationwide is one of the world’s largest insurance and financial services companies. It boasts comprehensive coverage and a range of discounts, including good student and multipolicy, and safe driving benefits.

Best for Electric Vehicle Owners
Travelers Insurance Logo

Travelers provides new car replacement coverage and a specific discount for electric and hybrid vehicles. If your new vehicle is electric, consider switching to Travelers or adding gap coverage to your Travelers auto insurance policy.

Congratulations, you ’re taking home a brand-new car! While gap insurance coverage is not the most thrilling part of owning or leasing a vehicle, you should purchase it before you drive off the lot. Some lenders require gap insurance, but you may want to buy it even if your lender does not require it. New car owners should carefully consider which auto insurance company they select if they need gap insurance.

Here are the best insurance companies that offer gap insurance, whether you have a car loan or not. Compare quotes from multiple providers to see which can give you the best coverage in the event of a total loss.

The Best Gap Insurance

  1. 1.

    Best Overall: Nationwide

  2. 2.

    Best for Electric Vehicles: Travelers

  3. 3.

    Best for International Drivers: Kemper

  4. 4.

    Best for Drivers in the Military: Clearcover

  5. 5.

    Best for Safe Drivers: Safeco

Comparison of the Best Gap Insurance of 2023

Provider What it’s best for Year founded Customer satisfaction rating (out of 1,000) (J.D. Power)1 Discounts available Average annual cost of insurance Review
#1. Nationwide Overall 1925 850 Multipolicy, SmartRide, SmartMiles, accident-free, good student, driver training, anti-theft, auto pay $2,484 Nationwide review
#2. Travelers Electric vehicles 1853 860 Driver training, good student, hybrid/electric auto, multipolicy, student away $2,256 Travelers review
#3. Kemper International drivers 1990 748 Advance quote, prior insurance, paid-in-full, multicar, driver training, good student, military, homeowner $1,872 Coming soon
#4. Clearcover Military 2016 Not ranked Good driver, safety features, paid-in-full, multicar, new vehicle, continuous insurance, driver training, military, deployed driver $2,580 Clearcover review
#5. Safeco Safe drivers 1923 829 Bundles, safety features, multicar, safe driver $2,712 Coming soon

CheckCHECKLIST:

Consider buying gap insurance for your new vehicle if you make a down payment of less than 20 percent, finance your vehicle for over 60 months, or roll over negative equity.

Detailed List of the Best Gap Insurance of 2023

1. Best Overall - Nationwide

What We Like Most:

  • Discounts for taking a defensive driver course
  • Network of local agents
  • Usage-based insurance program for low-mileage drivers

Nationwide offers auto insurance policies with a customizable mix of liability, personal injury protection, medical payments, uninsured/underinsured motorist, collision, comprehensive, and gap coverages, among others. It boasts an impressive list of discounts and benefits. For example, people who bundle home and auto insurance save an average of $646. Nationwide isn’t a Fortune 100 company by accident; its size and financial strength are two of the reasons we chose Nationwide as the best overall gap insurance provider of 2023.

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    People who want to bundle home and auto insurance
  • pro
    Drivers ages 16 to 24 who maintain a B average or better
  • pro
    People who prefer to set up automatic payments (a one-time discount is available)
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    Drivers looking for the cheapest gap coverage
  • con
    People who want to work with a local company
  • con
    Drivers in Alaska, Louisiana, and Massachusetts (no coverage is available there)

Nationwide SmartMiles Program

Nationwide’s SmartMiles program provides car insurance for low-mileage drivers. Nationwide determines your monthly rate by adding a variable rate based on your monthly mileage to a set base rate. If you drive less than the average driver, whether because you work from home or because you drive your new car for special occasions only, SmartMiles may save you money. This program is unavailable in Alaska, Hawaii, Louisiana, North Carolina, and New York.

Nationwide Gap Insurance

Here is a breakdown of what Nationwide’s gap insurance does and does not cover. It covers the below circumstances:

  • Damage to your vehicle
  • Theft in the event your car is stolen and not recovered
  • Negative equity, or the gap between what you owe on your auto loan and the car’s actual cash value (ACV)

Nationwide’s gap insurance does not cover any of the following:

  • Property or bodily injury
  • Deductible costs
  • Engine failure or other mechanical repairs
  • Lost wages, medical expenses, or funeral costs

Nationwide Financial Health

AM Best, a credit rating agency specializing in insurance companies, gave Nationwide a financial strength rating of A+.2 This score recognizes Nationwide’s ability to meet its ongoing financial obligations, including policies and contracts. Nationwide’s financial stability and sustainability enable it to meet its financial obligations to clients.

2. Best for Electric Vehicles - Travelers

What We Like Most:

  • High financial strength rating from AM Best
  • Great customer service reviews
  • Discounts for safe drivers, homeowners, electric vehicle owners, and more

Travelers is one of the largest property and casualty insurance product providers. It offers a new car discount when you purchase or own a car that is less than three years old. In addition, the new car replacement coverage extends for the first five years of your vehicle’s life. Consider Travelers if you are looking for new car auto insurance with extensive gap coverage.

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    Hybrid and electric vehicle owners
  • pro
    Good payers
  • pro
    Homeowners (even if your home insurance policy is not with Travelers)
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    Drivers in Wyoming, West Virginia, South Dakota, North Dakota, Louisiana, Hawaii, and Alaska (no coverage is available there)
  • con
    Rideshare drivers outside of Illinois and Colorado

Premier New Car Replacement Coverage

Gap insurance is most important for new car owners and lessees. Travelers caters to new car owners with car replacement coverage. This coverage package replaces a new vehicle with a brand new vehicle of the same make and model if you total yours in the first five years of ownership. The new car replacement coverage covers the cost of a new car minus the applicable deductibles if you total your car in a covered loss.

This coverage excludes fire, theft, larceny, and flood losses. Travelers may also apply a lower glass deductible in place of your comprehensive deductible for a glass-only loss of your windshield, windows, and exterior lights or mirrors.

Electric Vehicle Discount

Plug-in vehicle sales increased by 38 percent between 2021 and 2022.3 As electric and hybrid vehicles become more popular, it helps to pair standard and gap coverage with discounts that cater to electric vehicle owners. Travelers provides a specific discount for hybrid and electric car drivers. If you own or lease a hybrid car, you may be eligible for the hybrid car insurance discount from Travelers.

Gap Coverage from Travelers

Travelers’ gap coverage pays the unpaid balance on your loan or lease if you experience a covered loss under your comprehensive or collision insurance. Its loan/lease gap coverage does not cover carryover balances, lease penalties, overdue payments, or extended warranties. To qualify for Travelers’ gap coverage, you must be the original owner of a financed or leased vehicle purchased from a new car dealer, not from a previous owner.

3. Best for International Drivers - Kemper
Kemper Logo

What We Like Most:

  • Low average rates
  • Policies available for people with international licenses
  • SR-22s policies available

Kemper services 6.2 million affordable insurance policies. The company specializes in personal auto insurance for drivers who have difficulty obtaining or maintaining insurance coverage. Working with 34,500 agents and brokers across all 50 states and the District of Columbia, Kemper services over 6 million policies. Kemper calls its gap insurance product auto loan/lease coverage, which pays the difference between your car’s ACV and the outstanding value on your loan or lease.

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    International drivers living in the U.S.
  • pro
    Drivers with suspended licenses who need SR-22 coverage
  • pro
    Active duty military and National Guard members
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    Federal employees (no discount is available)
  • con
    Drivers who prefer using a mobile app (the Kemper app has low ratings in the App Store4 and the Google Play Store5)

Kemper Total for New Cars

Kemper offers customizable coverages, deductibles, and limits. Its auto policies include the following options:

  • Kemper Prime Auto Enhanced: Auto Enhanced combines popular policies, including a waiver of the first accident or minor violation, a diminishing deductible for safe driving, a waiver of deductible when someone hits your parked car, personal property protection, trip interruption expenses, and key replacement.
  • Kemper Total: Kemper markets Kemper Total to new car owners. This coverage pays above the ACV for repairs or the purchase of a new car, if necessary. Kemper’s gap coverage pays the difference between the ACV and the outstanding amount on your loan or lease.

Auto Insurance for International Licenses

Kemper specializes in personal auto insurance options for unusual circumstances, like a driver who uses an international license. Depending on your home country, the U.S. may accept your foreign license. If not, apply for an international driving permit.

Kemper’s policy options apply to those who only have state IDs or Matricula Consular (ID cards issued by the Government of Mexico), as well as those with licenses from other countries. If you’re moving to the U.S. from Canada, learn how to handle car insurance in your new country.

Anti-Theft Technology Discount

Kemper offers a discount if your car has an active or passive device that disables the car. Passive devices arm themselves automatically when you turn the vehicle off or remove the key from the ignition, including automatic locking doors. Active devices require an independent action, like pushing a button.6 Take advantage of the latest anti-theft technology installed in your new vehicle with this discount.

4. Best for Drivers in the Military - Clearcover
Clearcover Logo

What We Like Most:

  • One of the lowest-cost auto insurance providers on average
  • Schedule repairs through the app
  • Discounts for active-duty members of the military

Clearcover is a relatively new insurance company founded in 2016. Available in 21 states, Clearcover uses InsurTech, a series of technologies including software and proprietary algorithms, to provide cheap auto insurance. Clearcover is one of our top five least expensive auto insurance carriers, a distinction even more enticing for active duty military who can receive a special discount.

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    Active duty military members
  • pro
    Drivers who are deployed overseas due to civilian occupational requirements
  • pro
  • pro
    Drivers who need SR-22 coverage
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    Drivers outside Clearcover’s coverage area, which includes Alaska, Arkansas, Colorado, Connecticut, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Iowa, Kansas, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Mississippi, Montana, New Hampshire, New Jersey, New Mexico, New York, North Dakota, Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Vermont, Washington, and Wyoming
  • con
    Drivers looking to bundle auto with other types of insurance policies

Active Military Discount

Active military members and veterans in any state where Clearcover provides insurance products can get a 15 percent discount on their policy premiums with Clearcover. Clearcover discounts apply to active duty, junior, or senior cadets at a military academy, retired members of the Armed Forces of the U.S., and members of the National Guard/Reserves. In Louisiana, this discount increases to 25 percent and expands eligibility to children of active military members. No wonder Clearcover is one of the best car insurance companies for the military.

Deployed Driver Discount

If you work overseas due to civilian occupational requirements or military service, you may not drive your new car very often. If so, you can combine Clearcover’s gap coverage with a deployed driver discount, which decreases your premium and covers you in the event of an unexpected accident when you drive your vehicle stateside.

Alternate Transportation

Clearcover provides a flexible alternative transportation feature for covered accidents. If you’re waiting for your car to be replaced or repaired, Clearcover will provide money for alternate transportation in whichever form you prefer, such as rental coverage, a rideshare pass or Uber credits.

5. Best for Safe Drivers - Safeco
Safeco Logo

What We Like Most:

  • Average rates are half the national average
  • Customizable coverages and add-ons
  • Backed by Liberty Mutual, ensuring its financial stability

Safeco is a Liberty Mutual Insurance company, which means Liberty Mutual backs Safeco with the financial strength of a Fortune 100 U.S. corporation. Safeco sells insurance products exclusively through independent agents.

ProsWho It's Best For
  • pro
    Safe drivers
  • pro
    Drivers who wish to bundle home and auto policies
  • pro
    Drivers looking to pay bills online or via a mobile app
ConsWho It's Not Best For
  • con
    Young drivers (no discounts are available)
  • con
    People who want to get a quote online

Safe Driving Benefits

It’s right there in the name: Safeco is best for safe drivers. The company provides accident forgiveness, which waives the first accident on your policy after a few years without an at-fault accident or violation. Other benefits to safe drivers include an automatic reduction to your policy premium and a diminishing deductible.

Safeco will automatically mail you a check for 2.5 percent of your policy premium (up to 5 percent each year) if you are claims-free in a six-month review period. Safeco’s collision deductible will decrease at every renewal if you do not file claims against your policy. The deductible will decrease for up to five years or until you reach the $500 maximum.

Safeco’s safe driving rewards continue with RightTrack. This program recognizes your safe choices, tracking braking, acceleration, nighttime driving, and mileage. Safeco guarantees a discount for participating, and you could save up to $513 per year for the life of your policy.

Safeco New Vehicle Replacement

Safeco’s gap insurance, or new vehicle replacement coverage, will pay the value of a comparable new car if yours is totaled or stolen. Your vehicle is eligible if you’re the original owner, it is less than one year old, and has fewer than 15,000 miles on it. This coverage is optional, as is Safeco’s rental car reimbursement. Safeco will help cover rental car costs as you wait for your replacement car.

Customer Service

Safeco provides customer service online, on its mobile app, or through its network of agents. Its mobile app earned 4.8 out of five stars on the App Store and 4.1 stars from users on the Google Play store. You can log in to pay your bill, get policy documents and file a claim.

Here is a breakdown of Safeco’s customer service offerings:

Action Available online? Available via mobile? Available via agent?
Pay your bill Yes Yes Yes
Get policy documents Yes Yes Yes
File claims Yes No Yes
Obtain ID cards Yes Yes Yes
Get roadside assistance Yes Yes Yes
Address change No No Yes
Contact Safeco agent No Yes Yes
Manage drivers and vehicles Yes No Yes
Update deductible No No Yes
Check billing history Yes Yes Yes
Change billing information Yes No Yes
Update personal information Yes No Yes
Track claims Yes Yes Yes
Update home loan provider Yes No Yes
Update auto loan provider Yes No Yes

Another Safeco customer satisfaction rating comes from J.D. Power. Safeco’s Overall Customer Satisfaction Index Ranking is 829 out of 1,000.7 In the Central region, Safeco’s ranking is below the regional average of 841, but it  rates higher than Travelers and Nationwide in the same region.

Methodology

We chose the best gap insurance providers using a three-pronged approach:

  • Company information: We analyze data about each auto insurance company and the gap insurance it provides. Our research includes standard coverages, discounts, and third-party customer satisfaction and financial strength ratings for a 360-degree view of auto insurance for new or leased vehicles. In addition to information from the company itself, we check AM Best, the Better Business Bureau, J.D. Powder, Moody’s, the National Association of Insurance Commissioners, and Standard and Poor’s.
  • Proprietary data: AutoInsurance.com connects people to car insurance providers. Across 20 years of experience, we have collected millions of data points surrounding policy transactions to identify which customers had the most success with which companies. We specify each company’s demographic to save you time considering companies that won’t provide the best gap insurance for your specific circumstances.
  • Institutional knowledge: We’ve amassed two decades of institutional knowledge regarding each provider’s strengths and weaknesses. We consult with Paul Ford, the President of Insurance at Centerfield, AutoInsurance.com’s parent company. Paul’s three decades of experience in the insurance industry includes tenures at Canadian Access, Inslogic, Capital One Insurance Services, NetQuote, Bankrate, and Datalot. We leverage Paul’s extensive knowledge about car insurance to help customers find the right gap insurance for their auto insurance policy.

Gap Insurance FAQs

What is gap insurance?

Gap insurance is a type of car insurance coverage that pays the unpaid balance on your loan or lease if you total your new vehicle due to a covered loss under your comprehensive or collision insurance.

What does gap insurance cover?

Gap insurance covers the difference between what a vehicle is worth (the ACV of the vehicle) and the amount you owe on it based on your financing.

Is gap insurance worth it?

Gap insurance is worthwhile if you are leasing a car, or if you owe more on a loan than the car’s actual cash value. Gap insurance pays the difference between the value of your car and the amount left on your loan or lease.

How much is gap insurance?

How much you pay for gap insurance depends on where you purchase coverage. Purchasing through your auto insurer is the least expensive option, averaging about $20 per year. Adding gap insurance to your auto loan or purchasing gap insurance from the car dealership will be more expensive.

Where do I buy gap insurance?

You can purchase gap insurance at the car dealership or from your auto insurance provider. Gap insurance will be most expensive from the car dealership, so do your research before you purchase a new car to ensure your auto insurance company can add gap coverage to your policy before you drive your car off the lot.

Citations

  1. Usage-Based Auto Insurance Takes Center Stage as Satisfaction Flatlines, J.D. Power Finds. J.D Power. (2022).
    https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2022-us-auto-insurance-study

  2. AM Best Affirms Credit Ratings of Nationwide Mutual Insurance Company and Its Key Operating Subsidiaries. AM Best. (2021).
    https://news.ambest.com/PressContent.aspx?altsrc=2&refnum=31610

  3. Light Duty Electric Drive Vehicles Monthly Sales Updates. Argonne. (2022).
    https://www.anl.gov/esia/light-duty-electric-drive-vehicles-monthly-sales-updates

  4. Kemper Auto Insurance. App Store. (2022).
    https://apps.apple.com/us/app/id1521530912

  5. Kemper Auto Insurance. Google Play. (2022).
    https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=com.kemper.auto&pli=1

  6. Theft Prevention. Arizona Department of Insurance and Finacial Institutions. (2022).
    https://difi.az.gov/theft-prevention/passive-and-active-anti-theft-systems-0

  7. Auto Insurance Customer Satisfaction Stalls Despite $18 Billion in Premium Relief, J.D. Power Finds. J.D Power. (2021).
    https://www.jdpower.com/business/press-releases/2021-us-auto-insurance-study