What is “GAP” insurance, and why would the Trump Administration seek to allow car dealers to gouge our nation’s military heroes and their families when they buy cars, by selling them high-priced “GAP” insurance that is often worthless?
According to car dealers, the purpose of GAP, or “Guaranteed Asset Protection” insurance, is to cover you if your car is stolen or totaled before you pay off the loan. The “GAP” is the difference between the amount of the loan and the worth of the car.
Anyway, that’s the shtick. But in reality, the main purpose of “GAP” — when it is sold at car dealerships, and added into the price of a car loan — is to line the pockets of greedy car dealers. You can actually get a much better deal if you simply buy GAP protection from your own insurance company. Regular insurers usually charge as little as $20 or $30 to add GAP coverage to your existing policy.
However, car dealers often charge $1,000 or more. Plus when it is added into your loan, it can cost you far more than that, in added interest that goes to the lender, for the entire life of the loan. Making matters worse, some dealers pocket the money for GAP and never even activate the policies. So if your car is stolen or totaled, you could be in for a rude awakening. Some dealers have scammed many customers this way, then left the state and declared bankruptcy, evading any legal liability.
It’s bad enough when car dealers cheat civilians this way. But according to National Public Radio (NPR), as reported by VOX,
“the Trump administration has also proposed changes that could open up service members to predatory practices when they buy cars. The administration has proposed easing restrictions on “gap insurance,” an add-on to car insurance that covers the difference between the amount a car owner owes on the car and the car’s actual cash value.
Gap insurance is typically available from regular insurance companies for a very low price, as little as $20 to $30 a year, but car dealers often mark it up by hundreds of dollars. Current rules effectively block auto dealers from tacking on overpriced gap insurance to military service members, but the administration has sent a proposal to the Defense Department looking to revise the rules. (If the proposal does eventually make it out of the Defense Department, it will ultimately require the approval of the Office of Management and Budget, which [Trump appointee Mick] Mulvaney also heads.”
As Americans, we all have a stake in protecting our military Servicemembers from scams like this. Among other reasons — when they are cheated in this way, it increases the risk they may lose their security clearance, and their ability to perform their vitally important mission, of protecting our nation from enemies foreign and domestic.
Especially at a time when our nation faces unprecedented threats from enemies abroad and cyber-attacks from enemies who have penetrated our power grid and are messing with our elections, we cannot afford to lose the services of highly-trained military personnel, who are desperately needed to protect our nation.
Our nation’s military should not have to fight on this front, simply to preserve the protections they already have. They deserve a Commander in Chief who has their back, not one who is stabbing them in the back.
This is an update of a prior post, “Avoid GAP insurance rip-offs”