Buying a new vehicle can be very exciting. I remember purchasing my first brand new vehicle. Ahh, that new car smell.
Today the average new car costs about $36,000. According to a recent Edmunds.com report, the average car loan is 69.2 months. That’s almost six years. Data also suggests that 84-month loans have increased significantly over the last several years.
Unfortunately, bigger and longer-term loans don’t have an impact on vehicle depreciation. Carfax.com showed the current depreciation value of new vehicles might drop by more than 20% in the first 12 months of ownership. Trusted Choice indicates some vehicles could depreciate as much as 30% the first year; 11% of that occurs the moment you drive off the lot.
Depreciation can be a major factor if a vehicle is totaled after an accident. And it could leave you stuck with a loan for a vehicle you can no longer drive. This is because most auto policies have “Actual Cash Value” (ACV) coverage. For instance, let’s say that a $36,000 car depreciates 11% the moment you drive off the lot. Now it’s worth only $32,040. If your car is totaled in a loss, insurance will only cover the actual cash value, or $32,040. But if your loan is still $36,000, you’ll have to pay the difference of $3,960 out of your own pocket.
Naturally, people aren’t happy in situations like these; many don’t realize how quickly vehicles depreciate. Fortunately, there’s a way to remedy this situation.
West Bend’s Home and Highway® policy offers “Auto Loan Lease” coverage to fill that gap, as do many dealerships. This is a great product to purchase, especially if you don’t have a big down payment on the new purchase. In addition, companies offer a time threshold in which to purchase this coverage. So, the next time you buy a vehicle and need a loan to do it, think about purchasing Auto Loan Lease or gap coverage. It could be one of the best insurance investments you make.