Consumer warning: Gap insurance coverage -

Consumer warning: Gap insurance coverage

If your car is a total loss or stolen, gap protection pays the difference between your insurance settlement and the outstanding loan balance.

However, that isn't always the case when it comes down to it.

One consumer thought he was buying peace of mind when he bought a car for his son and shelled out an additional $800 to fill the gap. Something bad happened, and he got a big surprise.

When a car fire totaled his son's 2004 Pontiac Grand Prix, Brad Bradley expected much more from his "easy care gap gold plan."

"The gap should have paid about $986," Brad said.

Brad got just enough to make him angry, he says: $16.34.

"I feel like I've been screwed," he added.

The car loan balance was $8,500, minus the insurance company's $7,572 dollar settlement leaves a $928 gap that Bradley says he had to pay.

"Gap is supposed to pay the difference. That's how they sell it," he explained.

Here's what we learned. APCO's gap plan crunched the numbers using an $8,906.44 loan balance minus a higher car value of $8,572.50, minus the unused gap coverage, and got $16.34.

The company says it adjusted the claim based on the contract terms. Brad believes he was misled and ill informed.

"We never got a copy of it. We got one line on our contract that says 'gap,'" Brad said.

The company says they signed the contract. While Brad vows to never buy gap again, his son, Jacob bought it for his new ride.

"I know when I get in this car, if someone hits me, I'm not totally up the creek without a paddle," Jacob said.

He did, however, get his policy through a different dealership and a different gap company.

"That was the main reason I bought it. Trust in the dealership. Trust in the product," Jacob said.

APCO easy care gap says it looks at what the insurance company pays, and the car's value given by the National Auto Dealer's Association, and it chooses the higher value.

They say it's all written on the back of the contract. Remember, read the contract and understand it, before you buy it. 

Copyright 2012 America Now. All rights reserved.

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