If you look at the flurry of GAP-related state-level legislative bills proposed so far in 2022, you could surmise that this consumer protection tool is under fire. According to American Financial Services Association Senior Vice President Danielle Arlowe, the organization has counted 30 pieces of legislation in 2022, compared to 14 bills between 2019 – 2021. These new legislative efforts join existing statutes on the books in 11 states which require the lender to refund a consumer who cancels financed GAP coverage.
At the federal level, officials have again raised the issue that bundled GAP coverage renders the auto loan to be under the purview of the Military Lending Act (MLA). The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, Department of Defense, and Department of Justice recently argued in the class-action lawsuit Davidson vs. United Auto Credit that loans containing a nonexempt product such as GAP would not be exempt from MLA.
These developments put retail automotive lenders in a difficult position. For example, the California Assembly Bill AB 2311 requires that customers be notified that GAP insurance is an option and requires that lenders automatically refund any GAP balances if the loan is paid early. Other components of the bill stipulate a cap on the price of the GAP insurance as well as banning its sale under certain criteria related to the amount financed. Arlowe believes the industry is at a turning point with GAP insurance and the relationship between creditor, dealer, and administrator.