Return to Value GAP Insurance
- If your car gets written off, Return to Value GAP insurance (also known as Agreed Value GAP insurance) will cover the difference between your car insurance payout and the value of your car at the time of taking out the GAP insurance policy
- Consider Return To Value GAP insurance for a vehicle you already own, or are looking to buy from a private seller
- Compare the leading RTV GAP insurance brands and get a quote today
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What is Return to Value GAP insurance?
Return to Value (RTV) GAP insurance, also known as Agreed Value GAP insurance, covers you if your vehicle is stolen or written off. It will pay you the difference between the amount you receive from your motor insurer and the value of your vehicle at the time of taking out the RTV GAP insurance policy.
Agreed Value GAP insurance is available on vehicles bought from a dealer or a private seller. Because it is based on the value of your vehicle when you took out the GAP policy, not how much you paid for it, you won’t need to show an invoice to get your policy, unlike if you choose Return to Invoice GAP insurance (see below).
You can also purchase RTV GAP insurance at any time, unlike other types of GAP insurance, which often require you to buy a policy within a certain number of days after purchasing your vehicle.
How does Return to Value GAP insurance work?
When you take out a Return to Value GAP insurance policy, the provider will independently verify the retail value of your vehicle using Glass’s Guide or a similar industry expert. This will be the maximum amount you can receive in total if your vehicle is stolen or written off.
If the worst should happen and your motor insurer declares your vehicle a total loss, your insurer will pay out the amount that your vehicle is worth at the time of the claim. As your vehicle will have depreciated, this amount will usually be less than the value of your vehicle at the time of taking out GAP insurance.
As long as your motor insurance claim is settled, your RTV GAP insurer should make up the shortfall so you will receive the full amount that your vehicle was worth when you took out the policy.
For example, your car might be worth £10,000 when you take out an RTV GAP insurance policy. If it is written off two years later, it might only be worth £6,000 which is what your car insurer will pay out. Your GAP insurance will then pay the remaining £4,000.
Is Return to Value GAP insurance worth it?
You might want to take out a Return to Value GAP insurance policy if you are worried about your motor insurer paying out less than the amount your vehicle was worth when you bought it. GAP insurance can make up the shortfall, so you wouldn’t need to make up the difference yourself.
To help you decide whether you need a GAP insurance policy, always consider how much your vehicle is likely to depreciate and whether you need to top up your motor insurance payout. Your insurance should cover the cost of replacing your vehicle, so you only need to buy GAP insurance if you want to be covered for the amount your vehicle was worth when you took out the policy.
» MORE: Is GAP insurance worth it?
Should I insure my car with Return to Value insurance?
If you decide that you do want GAP insurance, the next question is whether you should buy Return to Value or another type of GAP policy. RTV policies are typically intended for those who bought their vehicle from a private seller or those who decided they wanted cover after they bought their vehicle.
Return to Value GAP insurance may be one of your only options if you bought your vehicle from a private seller. Other policies such as Return to Invoice and Vehicle Replacement insurance will usually only cover you if you bought your vehicle from a registered dealer but, because the RTV provider will look at the value of your vehicle rather than the amount you paid for it, you can get this cover no matter where you bought your vehicle.
Similarly, if you decide that you want GAP insurance after buying your vehicle, you may only be able to get Return to Value cover as other policies require you to buy cover within a certain number of days after buying your vehicle.
If you bought a brand-new car from a dealer or your vehicle is on finance, other types of GAP insurance may be more suitable.
How can I get a Return to Value policy?
To get a Return to Value GAP policy, you will need to provide the insurer with your personal information as well as details about the vehicle you want to cover.
If you buy your vehicle from a dealer, they may offer you a GAP policy. However, you can also buy GAP insurance online, which would generally be cheaper than the policy offered by a dealer.
When you apply for RTV GAP insurance, the provider will work out the value of your vehicle and, as long as you meet all their requirements, they should give you a quote. Make sure you look at all the terms in your policy documents, so you know what is covered and what exclusions there are.
How does NerdWallet’s Return to Value GAP Insurance comparison work?
You can compare a selection of Return to Value policies on our comparison table above. Here you will be able to see what policies are available and what the requirements of each policy are, including mileage and age limits and the maximum claims limit.
Return to Value GAP Insurance FAQs
What is the difference between Return to Invoice and Return to Value GAP insurance?
Return to Invoice (RTI) insurance will pay the difference between your motor insurance payout and the amount you paid for your vehicle, whereas Return to Value (RTV) insurance will pay up to the value of your vehicle at the time of taking out the policy. With an RTV GAP policy, the insurer only looks at the value of your vehicle, not how much you paid for it.
You can normally only get RTI policies on vehicles bought from a dealer and within a set timeframe, but RTV policies are available on vehicles bought from private sellers too, and can be taken out at any time after purchase.
Are there any restrictions on Return to Value GAP insurance?
Return to Value GAP insurance will come with some restrictions, such as age and mileage limits on the vehicle you want to cover. Your vehicle will also need to be covered by comprehensive insurance to be eligible for GAP insurance. However, unlike some other GAP policies, you can take out RTV insurance on vehicles bought from private sellers as well as dealers.
As with all GAP insurance policies, you will only receive your payout after your motor insurer certifies that your vehicle has been written off or stolen and your standard claim has been successfully settled.
Insurers will set their own individual requirements and restrictions, so check your policy documents for more information.
Who decides the value of my vehicle?
To work out the retail value of your vehicle, the GAP insurance provider will refer to industry expert guidance such as Glass’s Guide. This will help to show them how much your vehicle is worth at the time of buying the policy and will be the figure they use to determine how much you receive in the event of a claim.
Who offers Return to Value GAP insurance?
A number of online providers offer Return to Value GAP insurance. They may also call it Agreed Value GAP insurance. Policy details will vary, so it is worth comparing providers to see if your car is eligible for cover and to decide whether it is the most suitable option for you.
How do I make a claim on my Return to Value cover?
If your vehicle is stolen or written off, you will need to contact your main motor insurer, followed by your GAP insurer. Your GAP insurer will only pay out once your motor insurer declares your vehicle a total loss and your claim is successfully settled. Once your main insurer pays out, you can then claim on your GAP insurance.
You will normally need to contact your GAP provider to make a claim within a certain number of days after your vehicle is written off.
Rhiannon is a financial writer for NerdWallet, with a particular interest in personal finance and insurance guides for consumers. Read more