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If you’ve never leased a car before, you might not be sure how the process works. Here are the top 5 leasing questions answered. 

What does leasing mean? Is it better than buying?

Leasing – or Personal Contract Hire as it’s sometimes known – is essentially a long-term rental or hire of a car. Leasing allows you to get behind the wheel of a brand-new car without having to make any large upfront payments, and helps you to spread the cost over a period of time. 

Many people consider leasing better than buying a car – particularly those that like to always be behind the wheel of a new, or nearly-new, car. With leasing, you don't have the time-consuming hassle of sorting out servicing, maintenance, road tax and repairs. And with AA Smart Lease that includes insurance as well. You don’t, however, own your leased car, so if you like knowing a vehicle's in your name and can be sold at any time, buying might be preferable. 

Can I negotiate the price of a car lease?

No, the price of a car lease is usually not negotiable.

The monthly price will vary depending on a number of factors – the car model, the mileage limit and the length of the contract, usually ranging from 24 to 48 months. 

The monthly payments are usually fixed, too, which means you won’t suddenly be charged more, providing you keep your car in good condition and don’t exceed your mileage limit. 

Do I have to pay for maintenance & wear and tear?

In a typical car lease, you'd be expected to pay for any maintenance, but AA Smart Lease is different as maintenance is included in your monthly fee. Road tax, MOTs and servicing are also included. 

Similar benefits also apply when it comes to wear and tear. In a typical car lease, you’d be charged for any light damage to your car – scratches, scuffs, kerbed wheels, etc – but AA Smart Lease includes a generous end-of-contract damage waiver, up to the value of £500.

What leasing jargon should I know?

Here are the key terms to be aware of…

Personal Contract Hire (PCH): Another way of describing a car lease, but only for private buyers and not businesses. 

Term length: How long you’ll keep your leased car for.

Life-event break clause: A clause that allows you to end your contract early if a major change occurs in your life – being made redundant, for example. 

Wear and tear: Fair wear and tear includes any light marks and scratches that you’d expect the car to have on it with normal use – including light stone chips. It doesn't include any damage caused by you, such as dents and excessively kerbed wheels. 

What happens at the end of the lease? Can I buy the car?

With car leasing, you don’t own the car but you can request a quote to buy it at the end of your lease term. 

At the end of your lease, you should have the car professionally cleaned in readiness for it to be inspected. All Smart Lease cars will be checked over using the British Vehicle Rental Leasing Association Fair Wear and Tear guidelines. If you think there's damage that's outside of ‘wear and tear’, you should call us beforehand. Also remember our generous damage waiver, too. 

On collection day, you should have all documentation and keys ready, and providing the car is in good condition and doesn’t have any mileage over the dictated limit, it really is as simple as handing the car back. 

If you’d like another new AA Smart Lease, speak to us before the end of your lease to arrange an upgrade so you can seamlessly swap from one vehicle to the next. 

See our Fair Wear and Tear Guide

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