Leasing

How to Lease a Car in 2023

With tons of leasing options on the market, leasing a new car for the first time can be challenging. With this step-by-step guide on how to lease a car, you will be well prepared to get your dream car.

Read time

4 min

Date

02.23.2023

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But first, what is car leasing?

Car leasing is a method that involves renting a car long term from a dealership or third party. Leases are set for a fixed amount of time and/or mileage - agreed upon at the beginning within a contract. They are set up easily for everyday owners who want a simple one-off monthly payment plan. In exchange, you get a car to drive and can use it for the duration of the lease.

How is car leasing different from car renting?

You are more committed when leasing a car. As a lease differs from rentals in three main ways: longer term contracts, how you receive the car, and the auto insurance coverage.


  • Long term contracts - Leasing is typically anywhere from 6 months to a few years. Rental cars often have a limit of 1-3 months.
  • Receiving the car – Dealerships or third-party suppliers are the main contact and way you receive a lease vehicle. Whereas a rental is picked up from a rental car company.
  • Auto insurance – Rental cars will often be covered under your typical Auto Insurance plan. Whereas lease vehicles require you to sign up to a new plan, covering your state’s requirements at a minimum. Some leasing firms may require additional coverage for their services too. 


Luckily at FINN, everything is laid out in one monthly subscription fee. This includes insurance, maintenance, registration, free delivery and roadside assistance.

7 steps to lease a car

1. Research the right type of car for you 

(1-2 weeks)

First, make sure you have decided on the type of vehicle you are looking to lease. If you are unsure then research online the different makes and models and what features they have. For example, if you are a couple with kids then having a two-seater convertible is hardly useful. Then be sure that leasing is right for you. Remember - you will never own the vehicle, but instead have the right to use it and hand it back at the end of the lease. 


2. Create your lease deal 

(3-4 days)

At FINN, we have set contracts, and everything is bundled into one price. A normal leasing process requires you to check for insurance, length of lease and more before committing. 


Leasing deals are not recommended to be longer than 3 years as you may need to fork out on expensive repairs on cars that go beyond 4-5 years old. Not ideal when the car is not owned by you.


Mileage is another factor. As lease deals can come with 10-12,000 miles as standard. Any more than this will incur a fee from 15-40 cents per mile. Be sure you read the mileage plan before taking out a lease, especially if you drive a lot.


Down payments are also required (as I said earlier, we do it differently here at FINN). They are sometimes known as ‘cap reduction payments’. But these payments can sometimes be high and disguises the overall cost of leasing.


You may want to use an insurance agent to get a quote for your lease vehicle. As the greater coverage needed for a lease vehicle will be more expensive to insure. Don’t assume it will be the same price as owning a vehicle.


3. Set a budget and look for deals 

(3-4 days)

Include all aspects of car ownership in your lease (even if you don’t own the car). As unexpected payments need to be accounted for. Note down: Insurance, monthly lease fee, down payment and of course fuel costs. You may have a better car for the same monthly payment when leasing (over ownership), but the average monthly lease price has increased from $464/month in 2020 to $528 / month in 2022 for a prime vehicle. With it likely to hit $600 a month this year – without any insurance or other costs.


Then it’s important to shop around for the best deals. If a dealer has a special deal it may be filled with hidden fees, therefore check the fine print when shopping around and find out if the price includes sales tax and fees. Drive-off fees may also be high, add all of this up when budgeting. 


4. Choose your car and note prices 

(1-2 days)

Once you have shopped around and have more of an idea of price, it’s vital to get the car that suits your needs. Finalizing features such as color, tech, equipment, and trim level with various websites will allow you to see the full lease price. Note this down as it is ideal when negotiating your best deal from dealerships.


5. Pro tip: Use the internet sales department trick 

(2-3 days)

Pro tip: This involves you heading to the dealer with your ideal car in mind and heading to the receptionist and asking for the internet sales department. Here you can get special deals with the salesperson, instead of taking the online price as final. Make sure the in-person price includes all the same terms of the online price - including mileage and length of lease.


6. Negotiate and read the salesperson 

(1-2 days)

It’s important to shop around and call or approach different leasing companies and dealerships to get the best deal. But what’s also important is to check if you are comfortable with the way the dealer salesperson handles your inquiries. Making sure they answer your questions in a timely way. You can check online reviews on the specific dealership if you are unsure.


Negotiations can be a daunting task for anyone that is not experienced. Make sure you are ready with a list of quotes from different dealerships for your ideal lease. When you receive a ‘best offer’ it is worth contacting other dealerships to see if they can beat it. 


This is where the internet sales department comes in. If you visit in person, then take all of your quotes and payment plans in to show what you have been offered. If their prices are higher you can use these quotes as evidence to lower your price (ensuring they have the same terms).


Let the salesperson do the work by having them show all the fees and terms of the deal. This will ensure all items are included, as you do not want to miss on sales tax payments on your full monthly price. 


Taking one further step, you can request the car to be delivered to your home. This is better as visiting the dealership means they may use sales tactics to offer you additional products.


7. Inspect the terms and sign the documents 

(1 day)

It’s important to prepare and bring all your own documents when signing a lease. They include:


  • Current driver’s license
  • Insurance card
  • Two months of recent Pay Stubs to prove your income (bring multiple if you have more than one job)
  • Proof of address (items such as a utility bill or bank statement that shows your address)
  • References – not from someone at the same address 


The main documents you need to inspect, and sign is the Lease Deal Contract. Make sure all the numbers, terms and pre-agreed fees are included and correct within the contract wording. Also make sure the contract comes with gap insurance too, as it covers the cost if your lease is robbed or written off during an incident.

How FINN does car leasing differently

1. Choose your perfect car

Pick your next car and select the term and mileage package that’s right for you.


2. Get approved in a few clicks

Submit your information and get the green light in under five minutes.


3. Enjoy free delivery to your home

FINN delivers your new car right to your door so you can focus on the road ahead.


4. Just hit the road and swap when you’re done

All that’s left to do is drive. When your term is over, you can return the car and pick out something new, or simply walk away.

How FINN does car leasing differently
How FINN does car leasing differently

How FINN does car leasing differently

1. Choose your perfect car

Pick your next car and select the term and mileage package that’s right for you.


2. Get approved in a few clicks

Submit your information and get the green light in under five minutes.


3. Enjoy free delivery to your home

FINN delivers your new car right to your door so you can focus on the road ahead.


4. Just hit the road and swap when you’re done

All that’s left to do is drive. When your term is over, you can return the car and pick out something new, or simply walk away.