Gap Insurance In South Carolina

Guaranteed Asset Protection insurance or Gap insurance in South Carolina is not a legal requirement in the state. However, it is highly recommended for those who finance or lease their vehicles. Let’s explore.
Gap insurance in South Carolina
Gap Insurance In South Carolina
Gap insurance in South Carolina is a financial shield in moments of unexpected challenges, such as when your car faces theft or is deemed a total loss. Read on to know more.
In this article

In South Carolina, where every drive unfolds a unique narrative, the significance of safeguarding your vehicle investment cannot be overstated. While the state faces challenges in healthcare coverage, nearly 180,000 South Carolinians find themselves in the ‘Health Insurance Coverage Gap.’ In this dynamic environment, gap insurance emerges as a crucial ally for car owners. Car insurance in South Carolina is expensive because drivers must have personal injury protection, and some drivers can legally drive uninsured if they pay a fee to the state. Amidst the beauty and unpredictability of the road, gap insurance in South Carolina emerges as a crucial ally for car owners in the Palmetto State.

Gap insurance, an optional coverage, stands apart from the conventional obligations of car insurance. It becomes a financial shield in unexpected challenges, such as when your car faces theft or is deemed a total loss. Picture this: you’re diligently paying for your car loan, and suddenly, an unforeseen event unfolds. After accounting for the deductible, your comprehensive or collision coverage steps in, offering your vehicle’s actual cash value (ACV). This is precisely where gap coverage steps up to play a pivotal role.

What is Gap Insurance?

Gap Insurance coverage acts as the bridge, spanning the gap between the ACV and the outstanding balance of your loan or lease. It ensures that you don’t bear the brunt of the financial aftermath following an unfortunate incident with your car. The cost of gap coverage varies among insurers, allowing car owners to choose a plan that aligns with their specific needs.

As you embark on the car ownership journey in South Carolina, especially when leasing or financing a new vehicle, you learn that lenders often require collision and comprehensive coverage until your vehicle is fully paid off. This is a safety measure because new cars tend to lose value at the start when they hit the road. If you find yourself owing more on your loans or leases than what your car is currently worth due to this initial drop in value, gap insurance becomes a reliable companion, ensuring your finances stay secure on the roads of South Carolina.

Why is Gap insurance in South Carolina Important?

In South Carolina, having gap insurance isn’t a legal requirement, but understanding its importance can significantly protect your finances, especially when owning or leasing a vehicle. Gap insurance, short for guaranteed asset protection insurance, acts as a financial safety net, particularly in situations involving car loans or leases.

When you finance a new car in South Carolina, many lenders often require you to have collision and comprehensive coverage until the vehicle is fully paid off. These coverages are designed to help in scenarios like accidents, theft, or other covered incidents. However, the challenge arises with the rapid depreciation of a new vehicle. A car can lose 20% or more of its value in the first year alone. If an unfortunate event occurs, and your car is declared a total loss, your regular insurance may only cover the vehicle’s current market value, leaving a financial gap.

This is where gap insurance becomes crucial. It is meant to complement your collision or comprehensive coverage. If you have a covered claim, these coverages will pay for your stolen or totaled vehicle up to its depreciated value. Meanwhile, gap insurance covers the difference between this payout and the amount you still owe on your car loan or lease.

Consider a scenario where you bought a new car for $25,000, and due to depreciation, its value is now $20,000. If your car is declared a total loss, your regular insurance may pay out $20,000, leaving you with a remaining $5,000 on your auto loan. Without gap insurance, this $5,000 becomes your responsibility. However, gap insurance helps settle this difference, preventing you from facing unexpected out-of-pocket expenses.

Gap insurance is essential for those who lease vehicles. Leasing often involves agreements where the lessee is responsible for the vehicle’s depreciation during the lease term. Suppose the leased car is totaled or stolen. In that case, gap insurance ensures that the remaining balance on the lease is covered, preventing the lessee from being burdened with a significant financial obligation.

While South Carolina doesn’t mandate gap insurance, your lender may make it a requirement. If you financed your vehicle with a car loan, your lender might insist on loan gap insurance to enhance your existing coverage. For those leasing a vehicle, lease gap insurance may already be included in the overall lease cost. It’s crucial to review your coverage paperwork to understand your specific requirements.

Basic personal auto insurance is essential for every driver, covering areas such as property damage, liability, and medical expenses. However, it may not fully address the unique challenges posed by the depreciation of a new vehicle. In the event of an accident or theft, where your car’s value is less than what you owe on your auto loan, gap insurance becomes the extra layer of protection you need.

In conclusion, gap insurance in South Carolina safeguards against potential financial gaps from vehicle depreciation. Whether financing a car or leasing one, having gap insurance ensures you’re not left with unexpected financial burdens in the unfortunate event of a covered loss. It provides peace of mind and financial security, making it a prudent choice for vehicle owners and lessees.

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Overview of insurance regulations in South Carolina

South Carolina’s insurance regulations ensure financial security for drivers. The state mandates minimum coverage limits for bodily injury and property damage and requires uninsured motorist protection. While gap insurance is not legally required, its importance in covering vehicle depreciation is emphasized. Recent regulations effective from December 1 focus on guaranteeing transparency and consumer rights in Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) sales. Consumers now benefit from a 30-day right to cancel and protection against coercion in GAP purchases.

Aligned with industry initiatives, South Carolina’s laws mirror a model act, highlighting a commitment to fair practices and empowering consumers in navigating insurance complexities. Understanding the rules and regulations surrounding Gap Insurance in South Carolina is crucial for anyone looking to protect their investment and financial well-being. Let’s delve into the critical aspects of Gap Insurance, the costs involved, and the recent regulation changes.

Cost of Gap Insurance in South Carolina

Gap insurance in South Carolina comes with varying monthly costs, ranging from $2 to $30. The price depends on where you purchase it – whether from a dealership, a car manufacturer, or an insurance provider. The duration for which you need gap insurance typically spans one to three years or until your vehicle’s value surpasses what you still owe on your loan or lease.

Working Example of Gap Insurance

Consider this scenario to grasp how gap insurance functions. Let’s say you bought a new car for $25,000, secured an auto loan, and owe $20,000 when disaster strikes – the car is totaled in a covered collision. In this unfortunate scenario, your collision coverage steps in, compensating the lender up to the depreciated value of $19,000. Without gap insurance, you’d be left with a $1,000 shortfall to settle your auto loan. Now, consider the invaluable role of gap insurance: it acts as your financial safety net, with the insurer covering that remaining $1,000. This real-life example illustrates how gap insurance bridges the gap between your outstanding loan and the actual cash value, sparing you with unexpected financial burdens.

Recent Changes in Gap Insurance Regulations

Effective December 1, South Carolina introduced new rules for F&I (Finance and Insurance) offices selling Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP). This legislation clarifies the nature and functions of GAP and outlines the circumstances under which this protection can be sold.

The Guaranteed Asset Protection Act in the state mandates that GAP waivers must include a 30-day right to cancel. This provision ensures that consumers have a reasonable window to reconsider their decision. Additionally, dealers and creditors are prohibited from making GAP protection mandatory for obtaining credit or securing better terms. This safeguard protects consumers from being coerced into purchasing GAP.

Consumer Protection Measures

To enhance transparency and protect consumers, the new law requires that consumers receive a written contract disclosing specific terms related to the GAP waiver. This includes information on the price, conditions, and exclusions associated with the waiver, all presented clearly and easily understandable. Such measures empower consumers to make informed decisions regarding their financial protection.

Alignment with Model Act and Industry Initiatives

The recently enacted law in South Carolina mirrors the model act developed by the Guaranteed Asset Protection Alliance. This alliance, managed by the trade group, was established in 2006 by providers of GAP waivers. The alliance initiated discussions with the South Carolina Department of Consumer Affairs in December, aiming to amend state law. The objective was establishing a framework defining GAP waivers and regulating their sale. This collaboration showcases the commitment of industry players to ensure fair and transparent practices in providing GAP protection.

In essence, the regulatory changes in South Carolina seek to protect consumers and align the state with industry best practices. By mandating a 30-day cancellation period, prohibiting coercive tactics, and ensuring clear communication of terms, the state is fostering an environment where consumers can confidently navigate the complexities of Gap Insurance.

Benefits of Gap Insurance in South Carolina

Imagine you’re driving your dream car, and suddenly, it’s stolen or declared a total loss in an accident. Regular car insurance may not cover the entire amount you owe on your car loan, leaving you with a financial gap. This is where Gap Insurance, or Guaranteed Asset Protection, steps in. It covers the difference, or ‘gap,’ between what your regular insurance pays and the actual value of your car.

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Covers the Gap

The primary benefit is in the name itself – Gap Insurance covers the gap. If your car is totaled or stolen, it pays the remaining balance on your car loan or lease after your regular insurance pays out the actual cash value. This means you’re not stuck with a hefty bill for a car you no longer have.

Financial Safety Net

South Carolina is a beautiful state, but accidents and theft can happen anywhere. Gap Insurance acts as a financial safety net, providing peace of mind knowing you won’t be financially burdened if the unexpected occurs.

No Impact on Credit Score

If you owe more on your car loan than your insurance pays, it could affect your credit score if you struggle to cover the remaining amount. Gap Insurance prevents this situation, ensuring your credit remains untarnished.

Helps With Outstanding Loan Balances

When you finance a car, you might owe more than its current value, especially in the loan’s early years. If an accident happens during this time, Gap Insurance helps cover the outstanding loan balance, preventing you from being underwater on your loan.

Useful for Leased Cars

If you’re leasing a car, Gap Insurance is particularly beneficial. It covers the difference between the car’s actual value and what you still owe on the lease. This ensures you’re not stuck with unexpected costs at the end of the lease term.

No Extra Financial Stress

Dealing with a stolen or totaled car is stressful enough. Gap Insurance eliminates the additional stress of figuring out how to pay the remaining loan balance. You can focus on getting back on the road without worrying about your finances.

Gap Insurance in South Carolina operates similarly to the rest of the United States. After a liability, comprehensive, or collision policy pays out the actual cash value of your totaled vehicle, Gap Insurance steps in to cover the remaining loan or lease balance. It’s like a financial safety net tailored to the specific circumstances of South Carolina drivers.

gap insurance in South Carolina

Coverage Criteria for Gap Insurance in South Carolina

Regarding car insurance in South Carolina, it’s more than just a legal requirement – it’s your shield against unexpected bumps on the road. Understanding the coverage criteria, including the need for Gap Insurance, can be the key to financial security. Let’s break down the essential coverage criteria step by step.

Minimum Car Insurance Coverage Limits

South Carolina has set minimum car insurance coverage limits to ensure that drivers are adequately protected in case of an accident. These limits are like safety nets, and you must meet the following requirements:

  • $25,000 for bodily injury liability or death for one person
  • $50,000 for bodily injury liability or death of two or more people
  • $25,000 for property damage liability per accident

These limits define the minimum amount of insurance you must have to cover injuries and damages resulting from an accident where you’re at fault.

Uninsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UM-BI) Coverage

In South Carolina, you’re required to carry uninsured motorist coverage. This coverage steps in when you’re involved in an accident caused by a driver who doesn’t have car insurance. Here’s how UM-BI coverage helps:

  • It assists in paying for expenses related to injuries you suffer in an accident where the at-fault driver doesn’t have insurance.
  • This coverage is a safety net, ensuring you’re not left with hefty medical bills if the other driver is uninsured.

Uninsured Motorist Property Damage (UM-PD) Coverage

Similar to UM-BI, you’re also required to carry uninsured motorist property damage coverage in South Carolina. This coverage is designed to help pay for repairs to your vehicle or other property if an at-fault, uninsured driver damages it. UM-PD coverage covers your repair costs when the responsible driver doesn’t have insurance.

Underinsured Motorist Bodily Injury (UIM-BI) Coverage

Many drivers may technically have insurance, but sometimes, it’s not enough to cover all expenses if they’re at fault in an accident. That’s where underinsured motorist bodily injury (UIM-BI) coverage becomes crucial. In South Carolina, auto insurance providers must add UIM-BI coverage to your policy, but you can reject it in writing. Here’s why UIM-BI coverage matters:

  • It protects you from paying out of pocket for injuries you suffer in an accident where the at-fault driver is underinsured.
  • This coverage is a safety net, ensuring you won’t be left with unexpected medical expenses even if the other driver has insurance.

Underinsured Motorist Property Damage (UIM-PD) Coverage

Like UIM-BI, your car insurance provider must add underinsured motorist property damage (UIM-PD) coverage to your policy. However, like UIM-BI, you can reject it in writing. This coverage steps in to help pay for damage to your property caused by an underinsured driver. Here’s why UIM-PD coverage matters:

  • It ensures that even if the at-fault driver has insurance, you won’t be left covering repair costs out of your pocket.
  • This coverage acts as a safety net, protecting your finances if the other driver’s insurance falls short.

Understanding these coverage criteria is essential for responsible driving in South Carolina. While meeting the minimum insurance requirements is mandatory, considering additional coverage options, like Gap Insurance, can provide an extra layer of financial protection. 

Obtaining Gap Insurance in South Carolina

Driving in South Carolina comes with its own set of adventures, and it’s essential to equip yourself with the right tools for the journey. One such tool is Gap Insurance – a safeguard against the unexpected twists and turns on the road. Let’s delve into the world of obtaining Gap Insurance, unraveling the complexities in simple terms.

Here’s how to Obtain Gap Insurance in South Carolina:

Explore Your Options

Gap Insurance can be obtained through various channels. Your journey starts by exploring your options and understanding where you can secure this financial safety net. Begin by checking with your current auto insurance provider. Many insurance companies offer Gap Insurance as an add-on to your policy, making it convenient to have all your coverage bundled together.

Dealership Offerings

Car dealerships often provide Gap Insurance when you purchase a new or used vehicle. While getting everything sorted in one place might seem easy, remember that dealership offerings can sometimes be pricier than other options.

Standalone Providers

Some companies specialize in providing Gap Insurance. Shopping around and comparing quotes from these standalone providers can help you find the best deal. Remember, having Gap Insurance doesn’t mean you can’t explore the market for competitive rates.

Check Your Driving Habits

Consider your driving habits and the areas you frequent. If you often find yourself in high-risk zones for accidents or theft, having Gap Insurance might bring you peace of mind.

Obtaining Gap Insurance in South Carolina is a proactive step towards securing your financial well-being on the road. Whether you choose to get it from your existing insurance provider, the dealership, or a standalone provider, understanding the options available is critical.

Filing a Gap Insurance Claim in South Carolina

Filing a gap insurance claim in South Carolina can be manageable if you follow these simple steps and ensure you have the necessary documentation ready. Let’s delve into the details to make the process smoother for you:

Contact Your Provider

In the unfortunate event of a stolen or totaled car, the first step is to contact your car insurance company or gap insurance provider. Depending on your preference, this can be done in person, over the phone, or online. Professionals from your provider are there to guide you through the necessary steps.

Understand the Basics

Your gap insurance provider steps in once your comprehensive car insurance or auto collision coverage claim is approved. They cover the amount owed to your lienholder under your gap insurance policy. Gap insurance is a safety net to ensure you’re not left with a financial gap after a significant loss.

Document Requirements

To file a gap insurance claim, you’ll need specific documents to demonstrate the difference between what you owe on your loan or lease and the actual value of your car. Here’s a checklist to guide you:

  • Insurance Settlement Statement: This document outlines the vehicle’s actual cash value and the reimbursement amount from your insurance company.
  • Settlement Check: Provide a copy of the check issued to the lienholder/lessor by your insurance company, indicating the settlement amount.
  • Loan or Lease Contract: Retrieve the original contract outlining the financing terms of your loan or lease.
  • Loan History: Present a comprehensive list of charges and payments to your account, including the current outstanding balance.
  • Police Report: Include a copy of the police report explaining the circumstances surrounding the loss of your car.
  • Sales Agreement: Retrieve the original sales agreement from the dealer, indicating the initial purchase price of your vehicle.

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Simplifying the Process

The claims process may be more straightforward if your gap insurance is from the same provider as your comprehensive and collision coverage. They likely have access to some of these documents, streamlining your process.

Track Your Claim

After filing your car insurance claim, keep tabs on the gap insurance claims process. Many providers offer ways to track progress, keeping you informed until the matter is resolved.

Remember, if you feel uncertain or have questions, your insurance company or gap insurance provider is just a call away. They are there to assist you through this process and ensure you receive the coverage you deserve.

For example, let’s consider a scenario where a South Carolina resident faces the unfortunate event of their car being stolen after diligently making payments on their car loan. Upon contacting their gap insurance provider, they provide the necessary documents, including the insurance settlement statement, settlement check, loan contract, loan history, police report, and sales agreement. The gap insurance steps in to cover the remaining balance on the loan, preventing the car owner from facing unexpected financial burdens. When approached systematically, this example illustrates how the filing process can offer a financial safety net in challenging situations.


In conclusion, embracing gap insurance in South Carolina is a strategic move beyond mere protection – it’s a commitment to your financial peace of mind on unpredictable roads. Choosing Gap Insurance in South Carolina is more than a precaution; it’s a pledge to secure financial stability amidst uncertainties. Gap insurance for vehicles is a discretionary form of coverage designed to bridge the financial “gap” between the outstanding amount on your car and its actual cash value (ACV) in the event of theft or total loss. Although it’s not obligatory, there are instances where your loan or lease agreement might necessitate having gap insurance.

It’s important to note that this coverage does not extend to damages, accidents, or repairs incurred during a sale or trade-off. Instead, its scope is tailored explicitly for new cars or models less than a year old that are stolen or declared totaled. Whether opting for coverage through your current insurance provider, the dealership, or an independent channel, comprehending the available avenues is pivotal. 

The roadmap to filing a Gap Insurance claim becomes clearer with a structured plan and essential documents, transforming potential challenges into manageable steps. Remember, this journey is not solitary – your insurance providers are your reliable partners, steering you toward financial security and confidence as you navigate the diverse landscapes ahead. So, fasten your seatbelt, cruise with assurance, and let Gap Insurance be the trusted ally, ensuring a smooth ride to financial tranquility.

Remember, Beem auto insurance combines affordability, transparency, and user-friendly tools to make finding the right coverage a seamless experience. Drive confidently with Beem’s commitment to making car insurance accessible and tailored to your needs.


Why is South Carolina car insurance so high?

Car insurance in South Carolina tends to be relatively expensive due to several factors. The state requires drivers to have personal injury protection, and some individuals can legally drive uninsured by paying a fee to the state. Additionally, South Carolina has not expanded Medicaid coverage, leaving a significant portion of the population without health insurance. This contributes to the high number of individuals falling into the ‘Health Insurance Coverage Gap.’ The unpredictability of the road and the mandatory insurance requirements make car insurance costs higher in the state.

Does South Carolina have gap insurance?

Yes, South Carolina offers gap insurance, an optional coverage for vehicle owners. Gap insurance, short for guaranteed asset protection insurance, is not a legal requirement in the state. However, it is highly recommended for those who finance or lease their vehicles. Gap insurance acts as a financial safety net, covering the “gap” between a car’s actual cash value (ACV) and the outstanding balance on a loan or lease in case of theft or total loss.

Does insurance follow the car or driver in South Carolina?

In South Carolina, auto insurance typically follows the car rather than the driver. This means that the insurance coverage on a specific vehicle applies regardless of who is driving it. However, insurance policies may vary, and it’s essential to review your specific policy terms to understand the extent of coverage and any exceptions.

Is car insurance cheap in South Carolina?

Car insurance costs in South Carolina are generally not considered cheap. The state’s mandatory insurance requirements, including personal injury protection, contribute to the overall expense. Additionally, factors such as the high number of uninsured drivers and the unique challenges of the road can impact insurance premiums. While car insurance costs vary based on individual factors, South Carolina is often associated with higher-than-average insurance rates.

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Picture of Aniket Kulkarni

Aniket Kulkarni

A seasoned Product Manager specializing in car insurance content, Aniket has a passion for simplifying complex insurance concepts. His strategic approach to content development reflects years of experience in the product development industry, coupled with a commitment to providing accurate, reliable information.


This page is purely informational. Beem does not provide financial, legal or accounting advice. This article has been prepared for informational purposes only. It is not intended to provide financial, legal or accounting advice and should not be relied on for the same. Please consult your own financial, legal and accounting advisors before engaging in any transactions.

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