Do I even need gap?
And if so, will the bank that is financing me force me to get it at signing?
Can I just wait till after I buy it to ensure the dealer has one less way to finagle money out of me?
I would get it
unfortunately I have had to use it twice in my lifetime
when I was 19, I bought a brand new car. And was hit head on 2 weeks later (their fault, charged)
total write off. I would have lost approx $2k in 2 weeks, and wouldn’t have been able to replace it with the same model ( I was stretched to buy the model I got).
May 2018 I bought a 2015 off a lease. In Feb of this year the lithium battery smoldered and totaled the car. That would have been a $5k loss at least. Possibly more. Instead I walked away without a car or any remaining payments.
So I had motorbikes and Cars in between where I paid for GAP and “lost” money. But overall I am ahead
also, if you pay the vehicle off early, you get a refund on the gap. I have done this 3 times.
Plan for the worst, hope for the best
@ando35 I would say that unless you're putting a substantial amount of money down and plan to either aggressively pay your vehicle off AND keep it in relatively nice condition then GAP is a must. It's cheap enough and with the way cars depreciate you don't want to ever find yourself needing it and not having it.
There are many things I would skip at the dealership but GAP isn't one of them and I'm a former F&I Manager that worked at a very large auto network here in the midwest. Nothing worse than having to buy a new car while paying off the balance of another....and that's even if you can get approved for technically a second auto loan.
GAP doesn't usually tend to cost more than $599 (if so, haggle with the F&I guy) and it'll be the best money you ever spend in the event of a total loss.
The bank can't force you to buy GAP. I recommend it if:
As others have said, if you're getting your loan from a credit union, they often sell GAP at cost (around $300).