WSVN — Did you know that many cars are worth less than the money owed on the loan? It’s common, which is also why gap insurance is common to protect the car owner, but what happens when the gap won’t cover the gap? It’s why one woman called Help Me Howard with Patrick Fraser.

When Krystal drove by and saw the car, she knew she had to have it.

Krystal Cordo: “It was a black Dodge Charger. I just liked the car. Nothing major about it; I just liked the car.”

A brand-new, sporty Dodge Charger just like this.

Krystal Cordo: “It wasn’t as fast as some of them are, but it was cool. Yeah, it was fast enough for me.”

Krystal is realistic and knew when you drive a new car off the lot, it’s soon worth less than you owe on the loan. So she protected herself.

Krystal Cordo: “So they encourage you to purchase the gap insurance on the new vehicle, which I went ahead and purchased.”

Howard, want to explain gap insurance?

Howard Finkelstein: “‘Gap’ stands for ‘guaranteed auto protection,’ and simply put, when your car is totaled or stolen, the insurance company will only pay the current value of the car. If you owe more than that on your loan, gap insurance will pay it.”

Good thing Krystal got gap insurance to go with her regular car insurance, because a year and a half after buying the Charger, it was stolen.

Krystal Cordo: “And the car was just gone. To this day, it has not been recovered.”

Her car insurance paid the bank over $16,000, what they considered the market value of the car that day. The gap insurance paid nearly $4,400, but that left another $1,800 on the loan, so Krystal contacted her gap insurance company again to get them to pay that.

Krystal Cordo: “They told me I need to call my primary insurance and get them to pay out more money, and when I called my primary insurance company, they told me, ‘No, gap is there to cover the gap. You need to call gap.'”

Back and forth, and with that $1,800 still left on the loan, Krystal is stuck in the middle.

Krystal Cordo: “It’s very stressful, because now I still have the vehicle sitting on my credit. It’s still sitting there. It’s accruing finance charges because it hasn’t been paid.”

Well, Howard, when you buy a new car, if it’s totaled or stolen, the gap insurance is supposed to cover you. But what do you do if they don’t?

Howard Finkelstein: “First, you find out why they won’t pay. If they are blaming the primary insurance company, get them to explain why they won’t pay more. If neither will pay, contact the dealer. Sometimes they will cover the difference. If not, go to court and let a judge sort it out.”

But this won’t have to go anywhere. It’s now resolved. We contacted the gap insurance company. A representative told us they would look into this, but they didn’t pay it. We spoke to the owner of Arrigo Dodge, which sold Krystal the car. John Arrigo told us, even though he’s not responsible for paying the money, to make everyone happy, including their customer Krystal, he would pay the $1,800 still owed on the loan.

Krystal Cordo: “I’m very happy I contacted Help Me Howard.”

Krystal got that $1,800 paid off, and she got something else: a valuable lesson.

Krystal Cordo: “Do your research, do your research. Ask questions before purchasing a product.”

Nice of Arrigo Dodge to do that, and Krystal said, do your research. In other words, read the insurance policy, whether it’s your primary policy or the gap insurance policy. Consider getting them both from the same company. That way, they work together instead of pointing the finger at each other.

A gap opened in reaching a solution to your problems? Wanna get full coverage? Contact us. We can’t insure we will solve it, but I can assure you we will try.

With this Help Me Howard, I’m Patrick Fraser, 7News.

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