In order to calculate your monthly payment amount, the dealer will analyze the value of the new car versus its residual value (what it should be worth when your lease expires). If you drive a leased car, you should pay for gap insurance. Use an auto lease calculator​ to figure out whether leasing or buying a car will save you more money over the long haul.

Our goal is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators, publishing original and objective content, by enabling you to conduct research and compare information for free – so that you can make financial decisions with confidence. We follow strict guidelines to ensure that our editorial content is not influenced by advertisers. The definition of normal use can vary from dealer to dealer. Regardless, the coverage is well worth the small investment.

A car lease is a way to “borrow” a car instead of buying a new or used car. Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that our content is honest and accurate. Warranties vary from manufacturer to manufacturer, but they typically last up to three years or 36,000 miles, whichever comes first. If you’re ready to lease a car, follow these steps: “If the driver owns the car, he’d have to pay for the car and pay for maintenance, but then he could continue to drive it for several years without having to worry about a required monthly lease payment,” Terry says. We continually strive to provide consumers with the expert advice and tools needed to succeed throughout life’s financial journey.

It’s similar to renting an apartment instead of buying a house. Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions. If you do plan to lease a car for an extended time, it’s probably better to buy it, says Barbara Terry, a Texas-based automobile expert and columnist.

The “gap” refers to the difference in what you still owe on your lease and the value of the car. Let’s say your contract states that at the end of the lease, you have the option of buying the car for $13,000. If you lease a car, make sure that the lease period either matches or is shorter than the car’s warranty period.

It’s common for leasing contracts to have annual mileage limits of 10,000, 12,000 or 15,000 miles. While we adhere to strict editorial integrity , this post may contain references to products from our partners. The information on this site does not modify any insurance policy terms in any way.

Therefore, this compensation may impact how, where and in what order products appear within listing categories. Other factors, such as our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your area or at your self-selected credit score range can also impact how and where products appear on this site. Bankrate’s editorial team writes on behalf of YOU – the reader. If the car is wrecked or stolen within the first few months, your insurance company would reimburse the leasing company for the value of the car, but the money you paid in advance likely would not be refunded to you. Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that we’re putting your interests first.

If the leasing company considers the damage excessive, it can charge additional fees. The monthly cost of leasing a car is often lower than buying it with an auto loan. Don’t assume that your inspector will be lenient. For example, if you lease a $30,000 new vehicle and the dealer estimates that it will be worth $18,000 in three years, you’ll pay $333 a month to cover the depreciation. But do your homework, shop around and pay close attention to the terms and conditions to make sure that you get a lease that fits your driving habits and your budget.

All of our content is authored by highly qualified professionals and edited by subject matter experts, who ensure everything we publish is objective, accurate and trustworthy. The gap coverage will cover the difference. Choosing to lease instead of buying a car can be a great way to drive a newer car with the latest technology and features for less money per month.

However, there are a number of downsides to be aware of. Leasing a car gives you a vehicle to drive for a fixed number of miles and months. At the end of the lease, you’ll have a few options. That money covers a portion of the lease in advance. You can either turn in your car to the dealer, purchase the car or lease a new car.

Before leasing a car, ask about the guidelines on the lease-end condition. Your lessor will inspect the car before you turn it in and look for dents and scrapes on the body and wheels, damage to the windshield and windows, excessive wear on the tires and tears or stains in the interior upholstery. If you total the car before the lease expires, your insurance company will determine the current market value of the car and pay that amount to the dealership, which owns the vehicle. The dealer may offer to sell you gap insurance, but you may find a cheaper policy option with a traditional insurance company. is an independent, advertising-supported publisher and comparison service. If you keep the car for longer than the warranty period, you may have to consider an extended warranty. If your car has damage that goes beyond normal wear and tear, you could be on the hook for additional fees when it’s time to return it to the dealer. You’ll pay finance charges, too.

Our award-winning editors and reporters create honest and accurate content to help you make the right financial decisions Share this page We are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored products and, services, or by you clicking on certain links posted on our site. Here’s how car leasing works and mistakes you should avoid.

You’d be out of a car, and that upfront money you handed over to the leasing company would essentially disappear. Otherwise, you could be responsible for maintenance and repair costs for a car you don’t own while still making monthly lease payments. Our mission is to provide readers with accurate and unbiased information, and we have editorial standards in place to ensure that happens. We value your trust. You have money questions.

A car lease typically comes with a three-year or four-year contract. This compensation may impact how and where products appear on this site, including, for example, the order in which they may appear within the listing categories. We do not include the universe of companies or financial offers that may be available to you.

To avoid extra charges, know your driving habits before leasing a car. Bankrate has answers. But this compensation does not influence the information we publish, or the reviews that you see on this site.

If you exceed those mileage limits, you could be charged up to 30 cents per additional mile at the end of the lease. The content created by our editorial staff is objective, factual, and not influenced by our advertisers. Our editorial team does not receive direct compensation from our advertisers. If you’re comparing leasing versus buying a car, there are pros and cons to each approach.

Consider your daily commute and how often you take long trips. Leasing can lower your payments, but it can wind up being very costly if you don’t pay attention to the fine print. Some common lease terms and definitions you might encounter when leasing a car include:

Leasing a car: How to do it and mistakes to avoid


p>1 Before you decide to lease a car, consider your priorities: You&#x2019;ll also have to pay a small amount of money before you drive off the lot to cover taxes and a range of fees. The offers that appear on this site are from companies that compensate us. Bankrate has partnerships with issuers including, but not limited to, American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover.

Drivers save an average of $113 per monthly payment, according to Experian&#x2019;s State of the Automotive Finance Market report. In some cases, it may make sense to put nothing down and roll all of your fee costs into the monthly lease payment. Pros of leasing: If the car is significantly damaged, drivers can expect to be charged full market prices for repairs. Cons of leasing: This content is powered by, a licensed insurance producer (NPN: 8781838) and a corporate affiliate of These guidelines specify the types of damage you would have to pay for before you return your car.

Our editors and reporters thoroughly fact-check editorial content to ensure the information you’re reading is accurate. Avoid these five common mistakes if you decide to lease your next vehicle. If the insurance company says that the market value is only $9,000, you&#x2019;ll probably have to pay $4,000 out of pocket to cover the difference between the lease contract&#x2019;s residual value and the true market value &#x2014; unless you have gap insurance. Bankrate follows a strict editorial policy, so you can trust that we’re putting your interests first. If a car has a scratch but the mark is less than the size of a driver&#x2019;s license or business card, many companies may consider it normal use and probably won&#x2019;t charge a penalty.

All insurance products are governed by the terms in the applicable insurance policy, and all related decisions (such as approval for coverage, premiums, commissions and fees) and policy obligations are the sole responsibility of the underwriting insurer. We’re transparent about how we are able to bring quality content, competitive rates, and useful tools to you by explaining how we make money. However, that will probably increase your monthly payment, because additional miles will result in greater depreciation. Our experts have been helping you master your money for over four decades.

Our goal is to give you the best advice to help you make smart personal finance decisions. There is less long-term commitment involved, but you still have to pay for it. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include information about every financial or credit product or service. If something happens to the vehicle before the end of the term, at least the leasing company doesn&#x2019;t have a big chunk of your cash.

Our loans reporters and editors focus on the points consumers care about most — the different types of lending options, the best rates, the best lenders, how to pay off debt and more — so you can feel confident when investing your money. LLC services are only available in states were it is licensed and insurance coverage through may not be available in all states. For example, if you exceed the mileage limit by 5,000 miles, you could end up owing an extra $1,500 (at 30 cents per mile) when you turn the car in at the end of the lease.

Car dealers advertise low monthly lease payments on new vehicles, but you may have to pay several thousand dollars upfront to get that affordable payment. If you know that you&#x2019;ll probably drive more miles than the agreement allows, you could ask for a higher mileage limit. Many leases include gap insurance.

We’ve maintained this reputation for over four decades by demystifying the financial decision-making process and giving people confidence in which actions to take next. Our editorial team receives no direct compensation from advertisers, and our content is thoroughly fact-checked to ensure accuracy. If you want to lock in lower monthly payments throughout the lease, you can consider putting additional money down.

We maintain a firewall between our advertisers and our editorial team. It&#x2019;s recommended you spend no more than about $2,000 upfront when you lease a car. So, whether you’re reading an article or a review, you can trust that you’re getting credible and dependable information.

Here’s an explanation for how we make money . Like with any purchase involving a loan, the higher your credit score, the lower your interest rate. Founded in 1976, Bankrate has a long track record of helping people make smart financial choices. We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service.