Easy 5-Step Guide to Leasing a Car

When you lease a car, day-to-day it’s no different to owning a car. It’s also usually not any more difficult to get your lease set up in the first place. The same goes when it’s time to say farewell to the car. If anything, getting a car lease can be a simpler process than other options. But it does work differently.


Step 1: Find a car and lease deal that work for you

You can find the best car lease for you in one of two ways:

  • Start by deciding on the car that fits your needs, then go hunting for a lease company that either has that car in stock or can get it for you. Most lease companies can get their hands on more or less any car you have in mind.


  • Start by shopping around for a lease company offering the best terms and service and then work with them to source a car. Again, you should have a huge selection of cars to choose from with most lease providers.

If you’re shopping around car lease companies, consider getting quotes from a few companies to see how their costs compare. Make sure you look at the total cost of the lease based on the lengthy of the lease term and not just the monthly payment.

You should also factor in the range of vehicles lease providers have access to, the level of service you’ll get and any option extras they can include in your lease to make your life easier.

Step 2: Make an application with the lease provider

Applying to get a car lease is usually not as complicated as getting a car loan, but you’ll still need to pass a credit check and demonstrate that you can afford the payments.

You’ll need to show:

  • Proof of ID (Driving Licence or Passport)

  • Proof of address

  • Proof of income/employment (payslips)

  • Bank statements

If you’re leasing a car as a business owner, the application process will be different. You’ll need to provide information about the business, its trading history and revenue.

Make sure you meet the eligibility requirements before applying for your lease and that you can easily afford the payments. If your application is declined it could impact your credit score. And if you end up not being able to keep up the payments, cancelling the lease could be expensive as there are break costs.


Step 3: Tailor your lease agreement

Once you’re approved, you’ll have the opportunity to tailor the lease so that the final agreement is a good fit.

Here are some of the decisions you’ll have:

  • How much will your initial rental be? This is the higher-than-usual payment you make in the first month of your lease as a deposit. Usually you have the flexibility to set this payment at a level that works for you. Anywhere between 3-9 months worth of monthly payments is typical but it is usually also possible to get a car lease with no deposit.

  • What will the mileage limit on the lease be? Getting this right is important as if you exceed it, you’ll be charged an excess mileage fee.

  • Do you want to make any modifications to the car before it’s delivered to you?

  • Do you want maintenance (servicing) included in your lease payment?

Once the finer details of the contract are agreed, you’ll sign some paperwork and the lease company will order the vehicle for you.

Step 4: Get insured

It will be a requirement of your lease that the vehicle is comprehensively insured and it’s your responsibility to take care of this in time for your car being delivered. You’ll also need to cover the cost.

Some providers offer the option to package insurance with your lease, or you can source it yourself separately.

Step 5: Keep the car until the lease is up

Once your car is delivered to you, it’s just like having a car that you own outright or financed with a car loan. It will be your responsibility to keep the car in good condition and to cover ongoing costs (fuel, parking, maintenance, tolls, fines etc).

Obviously you’ll also need to make the regular payment, but this will happen by direct debit once a month and the amount will be fixed for the lease term.

Once you have the vehicle, the main difference with a car lease compared to buying is you’re restricted from modifying the vehicle without the lease provider’s permission. You’ll also need to keep an eye on your mileage to make sure you’re within the lease limit.

When the lease is up, you’ll return the vehicle to the provider (ideally in good condition). The last step is one of the benefits of leasing a car, because it's more straightforward than a car loan at the end of the finance term. You don’t own the vehicle, so you won’t need to sell it.

Alternatively, you may have the option to extend the lease for another term if you’re still happy with the car.

Bear in mind if the car is damaged when you return it, or you’ve exceeded the mileage limit, fees will apply.

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