Gap Insurance for your Car


If you have a car loan, it’s advised that you purchase gap insurance coverage in the event your vehicle is totaled in an accident or stolen.  While your standard auto insurance policy will pay out for the amount the car is valued at, they will not pay out for money owed on the car loan. The amount valued will be determined by the actual cash value (ACV), which is equal to the cost of the car when it was new, minus depreciation, which factors in age, mileage, physical condition, etc.

Gap insurance essentially insures the remaining payments on your auto loan if your car is totaled. When purchasing a car at a dealership, if financing the purchase , it’s not uncommon for the dealer themselves to offer gap coverage.  While it is required in the state of Florida to obtain auto insurance, gap insurance is not required by the state; however, the financial institution you secure your auto loan with is permitted to require the purchase of gap coverage.

If you purchase gap insurance coverage through an automobile dealership, it’s likely you will be paying  more than if you were to add the gap coverage to your existing auto insurance policy.

Without gap insurance individuals can be left with no car, and a big bill to pay.  After just a year, the ACV of your car can be thousands of dollars less than what you paid for it, leaving you with an expensive loan balance.

For example:          

If the balance on your loan is $20,000 and the actual cash value of your car is $15,000, your insurance company will pay out $15,000 (minus your deductible), if your car is totaled or stolen.  This leaves you with an additional $5,000 owed for your car loan. The total payout with gap coverage would be the full amount owed on the car ($20,000) rather than the actual cash value.

5 Ways to Save on Florida Auto Insurance

Looking to save money on your auto insurance? Although not all companies offer the same discounts, here are some opportunities to save that may be worth inquiring about next time you speak with your insurance provider.

1) Homeowners discount: Some companies may offer the option to bundle your home and auto insurance, but because the Florida home insurance market is more limited and there are less companies that offer both home and auto coverage, bundling is not always an option. However, even if your home and auto insurance are with different companies, many auto insurers will offer a small discount if you are a home owner.

2) Multi-vehicle discount: If you and your spouse or children share a policy that has multiple vehicles on it, you may qualify for a discount with your insurance provider.

3) Good student: Depending on the criteria of your auto insurance company, if you are a licensed driver on the policy and can provide proof of a minimum GPA requirement (as determined by the company), you may be eligible for a discount.

4) Safe driver: If you have gone multiple years without a moving violation or an at fault accident, you may be eligible for a discount. The number of years required to qualify for the discount may differ depending on the company.

5) Occasional use: If you have a vehicle insured that you utilize infrequently and put a limited amount of miles on it per year, you may be able to decrease your premium cost for that particular car. The minimum annual mileage requirement may differ by company.

While these items may save you a little here and there, and may not qualify with all companies, we highly recommend you talk to your insurance agent to find out what other discounts are available. Some companies offer discounts based on your driving habits, which can be monitored with a device, and others offer savings for choosing an electronic policy rather than paper, in an effort to go green. Whatever discounts you qualify for, and no matter what company we choose. We recommend you contact your agent to find out more.


Do I need to file a police report in order to file a claim with my auto insurance company?

Picture this, you are rear ended by another driver and they are at fault. You get out of your vehicles, the at fault driver is very apologetic, gives you his or her information and you go on your way with the intent of following up with the person and/or their insurance company. It’s not an uncommon scenario, especially if the damage is minimal.

Although the accident may not be substantial, we still recommend contacting the police. At the very least, contacting the police allows for you and the other driver’s details of the accident to be documented by a third party, authority figure.

Although it is not necessary to have a documented police report in order to file an auto insurance claim, it is helpful to have a documented account of the accident, in the event that the at fault driver tries to change their story.


I hit a deer. Is the damage to my car covered by auto insurance?

It’s more common than you would expect to inadvertently hit a deer while driving your car.  The damage caused by hitting a deer with your automobile can be extensive and costly.

If you have comprehensive coverage included in your auto insurance policy, it would apply in the event that your automobile is damaged as a result of hitting a deer, or other type of animal. Comprehensive coverage is not required in the state of Florida so many people do not carry it or remove it as their vehicle ages and loses value. However, if you do not own your car out right, your lender will likely require you to possess comprehensive coverage.

If you do not have comprehensive coverage, the damage to your car resulting from contact made with a deer (or other animal) would not be covered by your insurance, and would be your financial responsibility to repair the car, if you chose to do so.

Keep in mind, claims filed under comprehensive coverage do not put points on your license or increase your insurance premium.

Other items covered under comprehensive coverage include events other than a collision, such as:  damages from fire, theft, windstorm, flood, falling objects, vandalism, or if your vehicle is stolen.


Classic Car Insurance

If there is one thing we know about classic cars, it’s that the people who collect them are passionate about it! When you’ve found your one true love (Yea…forget about your spouse, your kids and your dog), we’re talking about the 4 wheeled beauty parked in your garage, it’s important you protect it properly.

Classic car insurance policies are quite a bit different than your standard auto insurance policies though. Classic cars are a unique, and sometimes costly, investment. For that reason, it’s important that your automobile be insured for the proper amount.

Unlike a standard auto insurance policy, classic cars are insured for an “agreed value” determined by the insured and the insurer at the time the policy is issued. There are also some other factors that are considered when insuring a collector car, for example the amount a mileage that is put on the car. Some collector cars are only driven on the weekend – if that, others are driven cross country to collector car shows and some aren’t driven at all.

Another item to consider when purchasing an insurance policy for your collector car(s) are any limitations that may apply regarding repair shops in the event that your pride and joy needs some work done. Just as you would do the proper research of auto body shops before getting your car repaired, it’s important you do your research when it comes to insurance too. Companies that may be great for insuring your everyday car may not be the best option for your collector car. We advise contacting your insurance agent to find out what companies they recommend for your particular car and type of usage.