Car Lease shopping could be a less intimating experience or may even be a fun experience if you know what things to watch for and what questions to ask in order to get you the best possible car lease deals. Here are some tips for car lease shopping.
Before going to the dealer...
While shopping car lease at the dealer...
- Be familiar with the options and the model of the car lease deals offer.
- Get quotes from auto insurance company for your future leased car, so there is no surprise how much you will be paying for your newly leased vehicle.
- If you have valid auto insurance, ask your insurance company if your package covers the future leased car for a temporary period until you get its own insurance. Dealers won't let you drive the car off the lot if you don't have insurance.
- Research and compare lease prices of the car you want to lease from multiple dealers.
- Shop leases using sites like leasecompare.com to gain better ground to negotiate with the dealer.
- While comparing car lease deals, pay attention to monthly payment, lease length, down payment, mileage limit and cost per mile after the mileage limit.
- Normal mileage limit is around 10,000 miles to 12,000 miles per year. You could pay a little more in advance to get a higher limit to 15,000 miles per year. But if you already know will be driving a lot of miles, car lease may not be a good idea for you.
- When comparing down payment, pay attention to what it includes: 1st month payment, capitalized cost reduction, acquisition fee, security deposit.
- Know your credit score, good credit score could be a requirement to qualify some good lease deals. Or it could be a strong tool to negotiate a better lease deal.
After leasing the car...
- Ask about warranty: what it covers, how long it lasts.
MINI and BMW offer warranty which covers annual maintenance, brakes replacement.
- If it comes with warranty, do not lease the vehicle for longer than the warranty period because you would want to take the full advantage of not paying for maintenance of your leased vehicle.
- Check the Return Fee in the lease. Some lease contracts require a return fee when the lease is up.
- Dealers offer many plans or program such as paint protection, tire protection, body damages or security system like lo-jack or Phantom, etc and claim to protect the value of your leased car. Some plans do provide good values; it is up to you to decide if they suit you. But if the lease contract requires a return fee, do check with the dealer to see if it covers any of the body damage/dent so you would not have to pay additional for those plans/services.
- If you decide to purchase additional plans or programs, it is advised that you pay them off by including in your down payment. Otherwise, the dealers will add them to the total lease amount and increase your monthly payment (you will end up paying more than what it would cost you if you pay them up front.)
- Buy GAP insurance. GAP stands for Guaranteed Auto Protection. The cost is relatively low for what it covers. It insures you for the difference between your loan amount on the car and the actual market value of the car; if you totaled your car in an accident and you would receive market value of your car which was generally 20-30% lower than the loan of your leased vehicle. In another word, you lost your newly leased car and you would still be paying your monthly payment until you pay it off. GAP insurance will solve that problem.
- Take good care of your car to avoid additional charges when return the lease vehicle.
Good luck on the hunt of your next car lease.