What to know about short-term car leases Advertiser Disclosure Advertiser Disclosure We are an independent, advertising-supported comparison service. Our mission is to help you make smarter financial decisions by providing you with interactive tools and financial calculators that provide objective and original content. This allows you to conduct research and analyze information for no cost to help you make informed financial decisions. Bankrate has agreements with issuers including, but not limited to American Express, Bank of America, Capital One, Chase, Citi and Discover. How We Make Money The deals that are displayed on this site come from companies that compensate us. This compensation can affect the way and where products appear on the site, such as such things as the order in which they appear in the listing categories in the event that they are not permitted by law for our loan products, such as mortgages and home equity, or other home lending products. This compensation, however, does not influence the content we publish or the reviews that appear on this website. We do not include the vast array of companies or financial offers that may be open to you. Share: Smederevac/Getty Images
3 min read Published June 27, 2022
Writer: Josephine Nesbit Written by Josephine Nesbit is a former contributor to Bankrate. Written by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been writing and editing for Bankrate since the end of 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain confidence to take control of their finances by providing precise, well-researched and well-written information that breaks down otherwise complex topics into manageable bites. The Bankrate promise
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We are compensated in exchange for placement of sponsored products and services or by you clicking on certain hyperlinks on our site. Therefore, this compensation may affect the way, location and when products are listed and categories, unless it is prohibited by law for our mortgage, home equity and other home lending products. Other factors, like our own proprietary website rules and whether a product is offered in your region or within your personal credit score could also affect how and where products appear on this site. While we strive to provide a wide range offers, Bankrate does not include details about every credit or financial products or services. Car leases are one type of auto financing that allows the user to drive a vehicle, truck or SUV for a set period of time as well as a certain number of miles. The majority of leases last for 3 or more years, a shorter-term lease allows consumers to lease a vehicle for a few months as long as two years. These kinds of leases are less common but can be a good alternative if you require an automobile for a short time. What a short-term car lease is much like a typical car lease, but it is a shorter term. Although there’s no regulation that specifies the exact duration of a short-term car lease generally speaking, experts recommend 24-months or less. The typical car lease is a three-year, or four-year lease. For some, the traditional car lease is longer than they want for committing to a specific car, which makes a short-term lease an option. It is for instance, if you have a temporary need like traveling out of town for work, or you just want to try out the car for a brief period of time. Since the lease is less than a traditional lease and the payments per month are generally higher with this type of contract. And even though it is short-term, they usually require sales taxes and fees in many states. Three short-term lease options for cars There are a variety of short-term lease options for cars to choose from, all with their own advantages and drawbacks. 1. Takeover someone else’s lease You can do this for few months. Most auto manufacturers will permit a third party to take over the initial lessee to get out of their lease. While this transaction can be made between two parties but it’s more convenient to utilize an outside party such as SwapALease or LeaseTrader, because they specialize in pairing current lessees and those who are looking for a short-term lease. The short-term lease you can get through leasing transfers will allow you to not have to make a down payment. The monthly lease payments would be the same as the original lessee negotiated for when they signed their lease term. 2. Consider a long-term lease Many rental car rental companies also offer long-term rentals, which are effectively short-term or sometimes known as “mini leases.” This option comes with advantages and disadvantages to be considered. Flexible: Since they are not car rentals but leases, you’re not bound into a lease and are able to return the car anytime. No mileage limits usually. time: Unlike when choosing to lease a vehicle generally, there are no limitations on mileage when opting for a long-term rental. However, this may not be the norm particularly when it comes to special vehicles. Change cars at will Car rental firms typically permit renters to swap cars throughout the duration of their lease which gives you the option to drive more than one vehicle. Costlier In the end although the costs are lower than a typical car rental rate for a few days or one week, long-term rentals are typically more expensive than a lease-takeover. 3. Traditional lease You can also sign a traditional car lease but for a much shorter term. The shorter the car lease, the more difficult it will be to locate, and you might have to look with several dealers. Car leases with longer terms generally have more lease deals from automakers. When vehicles aren’t selling well or have reached close to the finish line of product cycles, automakers try to boost sales with special lease deals with lower costs. There are a lot more leases with 36 months than there are 24-month deals. If you choose traditional leases that has a shorter duration like two years, the monthly payments will be more expensive because you’re dispersing the cost of the contract over a shorter period. The bottom line: A short-term lease on a car can be an appealing option for those who aren’t looking to commit to one kind of vehicle for long periods of time or require a temporary car. Keep in mind, however that shorter terms often are more expensive. Before you decide on a short-term car lease choose the most cost-effective agreement and compare prices with long-term rental alternatives as well. Discover more SHARE:
The writer, Josephine Nesbit is a former contributor to Bankrate. The article was edited by Rhys Subitch Edited by Auto loans editor Rhys has been editing and writing for Bankrate since late 2021. They are passionate about helping readers gain the confidence to take control of their finances by providing precise, well-researched and well-researched facts that break down complex topics into manageable bites.
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