Leasing a car can be an affordable and hassle-free way to drive a new vehicle. Choosing the right vehicle – one that meets your needs and your budget – and opting for the right provider will result in many miles of happy driving.
- Choose an approved provider
The British Vehicle Rental & Leasing Association (BVRLA) is the national trade association that sets quality standards and regulates the industry to ensure compliance. Check that your identified providers are registered by searching the BVRLA member panel. The list includes direct leasing providers and brokers.
As car leasing is a form of finance, you should also satisfy yourself that the provider you are considering is suitably registered with the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA). This ensures you are dealing with a company that has adopted the FCA’s ‘Treating Customers Fairly Principles’ and such firms are audited frequently to ensure compliance.
- Work out your budget to get the ‘right’ car for you
Knowing how much you can afford to spend each month on a car lease is particularly important in helping you decide which type of car to choose. It can be tempting to stretch how much you will pay each month to gain a better car but that will only lead to financial pressures in the long run. Add in the initial payment price, depending on how you will fund it, plus fuel and insurance expenses. Failing to make a lease payment can have a negative impact on your credit score so it’s important you will not be overburdening yourself each month.
- Meet the eligibility criteria
When looking for car leasing online some companies have a set of eligibility criteria they apply to each application. There will usually be a minimum and maximum age for drivers who will be accepted and there may be a threshold for penalty points gained on your driving licence. An application will show up on your credit report, as leasing is effectively a form of finance, so there’s no point applying for an agreement you will otherwise be excluded from, even if your credit score is healthy.
- Realistically work out your annual mileage
Deciding on what your annual mileage will be is one of the most important parts of the leasing process. Working out how many miles you’ll put on the clock impacts the price of your monthly payments and will be used as part of the final calculation when you return the vehicle at the end of the lease agreement. Providers will include a rate per mile in the monthly cost and will apply extra charges should you have exceeded the monthly cap. It’s best to be honest and realistic to avoid additional expenses but also to ensure you don’t pay too much every month.
- Inspect and choose your maintenance and insurance options for the vehicle
You can expect a lease car to be in tiptop condition when you collect it from a reputable provider, but it’s always worth checking it over before you drive away. Do so well in advance to allow time for any identified repairs to be undertaken. Don’t be afraid to walk away if you’re not happy that the provider is going to supply you with a car in pristine condition. Remember that at the end of the agreement, an inspection will be carried out so you don’t want any issues that you didn’t identify at the outset to come up at that point otherwise you will likely be liable for the cost.
You will be responsible for maintaining the vehicle in line with the lease terms and conditions. It can be worth considering a maintenance package to ensure the upkeep of your new car. This is especially the case if you are taking a lease agreement over a longer period (over three years) or will be putting a high mileage on it (above 30,000 miles). Check what is, and is not, included in the package before you sign up.
Insurance will usually also be your responsibility to arrange unless you’ve opted for a package that includes it. You will be required to take out fully comprehensive insurance. If you can afford it, GAP insurance can be a good idea to ensure that if the vehicle is stolen or written off that the outstanding lease payment finance will be paid off.