Can you end a car lease early? The answer might surprise you…

So, you’re thinking about leasing a car, but you’re worried that you could be stuck in something long-term? It’s a pretty common concern! The last thing you need is to be paying out for something that you either no longer need, or can no longer justify or want. Particularly with the world we live in now, the future can feel a little unpredictable. Your situation could change at any time, and whether that’s for better or for worse, being tied into a long-term contract that you don’t need or want can be extremely frustrating (and expensive). Unfortunately, with traditional leasing methods you’re usually left to deal with these obligations, either running your car lease up until your contract ends, or dealing with a large fee for early termination.

Cancelling a standard lease contract

When it comes to ending or terminating a standard long-term lease contract (the most common form of car lease), you do have a few options. Depending on the lease and finance providers, you may have the option to terminate your lease early, but as we said above, that can often lead to a large fee to pay off any remaining costs that you were contractually obliged to cover when you took out the contract. It is heavily dependent on the contract you originally took out as to what your commitments and options are. There may also be additional fees for any unauthorised additional mileage, as well as potential damage that falls outside of the provider’s fair wear and tear guidelines.

Is there an option with more freedom?

If you’ve not taken out your lease contract yet, or you’re looking to move from a standard lease contract to something with a little more flexibility, then yes, you have a pretty valuable option that gives you the same capabilities as a conventional car lease, plus a bunch of extra benefits. This includes the option to take out a contract on your own terms without the long-term commitments!

What’s the solution?

There’s actually two solutions that could be just what you’re looking for. They might sound too good to be true, but both of these options give you the freedom to get yourself behind the wheel of a car without being tied into a long-term contract. In fact, they’ll typically enable you to cancel your contract whenever you want to without a penalty or any frustration. So, what are they?

1.     Short-term leasing

Conventional leasing typically involves taking out a contract for a vehicle that you’re committed to for a long period of time, usually 2 years or more. For some of the reasons we mentioned above (amongst others), this isn’t always a convenient choice. You end up tied into contracts and get stuck paying for a vehicle that you may not necessarily want or need at certain points. But there’s a more flexible form of leasing that takes all of that away -- short-term leasing.

Short-term lease durations can vary between contracts and providers, but usually, these types of leases start at just 28 days of commitment, all the way up to 12 months with various different options in between. How long you take out your lease for is entirely down to you -- if you only need it for a month or two, a 28 day/1-month option is a great choice, as these short-term contracts are generally pretty easy to renew for a second month. You could even lease your car for longer if you chose this option, giving you the benefits of a slightly longer lease but with the flexibility to lease a car for a more suitable duration for you. Because of the way they work, you’re only committed for that month too, meaning cancelling doesn’t bring with it the same complications or charges that a traditional longer-term lease would.

All in all, a short-term lease is a fantastic way to get behind the wheel of a car for the time that you need it without the hassle of long-term contracts and obligations. But there is another option, too…

2.     Car subscriptions

You may or may not have heard of them already, but car subscriptions are taking the automotive world by storm. And for good reason.

A car subscription works in a similar way to a short-term lease. You don’t have the long-term commitments of a standard lease contract, and you get to choose how long you have your vehicle for. Car subscriptions typically run on a month-by-month basis, like the 28-day/1-month short-term leases we mentioned earlier. You simply pay a monthly subscription fee to the car subscription provider, and you get use of the vehicle and a bunch of added benefits in return -- similar to how you pay for your favourite media streaming services.

These subscriptions usually give you everything you need to drive, plus a lot more. You’ll usually find that most providers include things like a maintenance package that keeps your car in good condition (including servicing and tyres, aside from some exceptions), recovery services and emergency assistance in case anything goes wrong, country-specific taxes such as road tax in the UK, manufacturer warranties that cover you and the vehicle for any faults, a generous pro-rata annual mileage allowance, and even insurance. And all of that is covered by just one single monthly payment.

On the subject of cancellations, a car subscription is one of the most flexible options you can get. Most providers run their subscriptions on a rolling monthly basis, so like we said above, you just pay your monthly subscription fee, and you’re free to drive and take advantage of the subscription benefits for that monthly period. You’re usually able to change your car on a regular basis too, so you can always keep up with the latest models and technology. When you’re done with the subscription, simply return your vehicle and complete the provider’s processes, and that’s it. It’s generally pretty easy to start your subscription back up again when you need a car too.

So there you have it -- whilst cancelling or ending a conventional long-term lease can sometimes be a little tricky and/or costly, you do have other options that give you the freedom of flexibility so you can drive on your own terms.