Dollars and Cents
Pay special attention to the agreed upon value of the vehicle you are going to lease. A person can negotiate to arrive at the agreed upon value, capitalized cost, terms and rates of a lease just as they can negotiate the purchase price, terms and rates when they purchase a vehicle. Don't focus only on the monthly payment amount when negotiating. One lessor's monthly payment may be lower than another lessor's because of several factors. One lease payment may be $199 per month but require a large down payment. Why pay a high down payment amount on a vehicle that is being rented? Cash payment, trade-in equity or manufacturer's rebates may be applied to reduce the gross capitalized cost or may be applied toward the up-front costs, such as the first month's payment or the security deposit.
End of Lease Expenses
Find out who will perform the end of lease inspection. What are the charges for "excessive wear and tear". Be sure you understand the penalties for terminating the lease early because they can be severe. Be careful not to under-estimate the number of miles that you will put on the vehicle. The excess mileage charge can add up. Sometimes a lease contains a "disposal fee". The lessor may charge you more than a monthly payment amount simply for the privilege of returning the vehicle.
Other Expenses If You Choose to
Whether a person purchases a vehicle or leases a vehicle, he will incur expenses other than just the monthly payments. Vehicles will need to be insured and maintained. What insurance is required? Does the contract include life or disability insurance? What is the cost and do you really want or need it? Is a maintenance contract included and if so, will you be charged extra for it? Also, do you really want or need a maintenance contract on a leased vehicle? Consumers should look at both short-term and long-term costs of leasing.
Gap Protection Consideration
Regular automobile insurance normally covers a vehicle if it is stolen or damaged in an accident. Such insurance will normally reimburse you for the vehicle's present market value. This amount may be substantially less than what is still owed on the lease. GAP protection covers the difference. You may be able to have GAP protection included in the lease contract or you may want to purchase it separately.