Car Insurance for a Leased Vehicle

Between gap and liability insurance, is your leased vehicle properly covered?

Car insurance for a leased vehicle

Leasing a vehicle, rather than buying it, is similar to renting an apartment. You enjoy a lower down payment, your warranty covers many of the repairs, and you can get a new car every few years. However, if you lease a vehicle, you’re not earning equity. When your lease is over, you have no stake in the vehicle and cannot sell it. Even though you don’t technically own a leased vehicle, you still need your own insurance for it. And there are some considerations specific to car insurance for leased vehicles worth remembering. Let’s explore.

  1. Leasing a car: pros and cons
  2. What coverage do you need?
  3. Gap insurance for a leased car
  4. What to do after your lease ends
  5. Ways to save on insurance for a leased vehicle

 

Why lease a vehicle?

The decision to finance or lease a car is a personal decision. Let’s review the benefits and downsides of leasing a vehicle.

 

Pro: Lower monthly payments than a financed vehicle

If the loan terms are the same, a lease may lead to lower monthly bills than a financing agreement. In addition to a more affordable downpayment, lease payments usually factor in depreciation of the vehicle.

 

Con: Lost equity

While monthly payments and fees due are lower, financing — and eventually owning — a vehicle is an investment. If it takes you four years to own your vehicle, you could still end up owning a fairly valuable vehicle with which you’re able to do whatever you want. With a lease agreement, you earn nothing towards the vehicle you made payments on.

 

Pro: More economical for low mileage drivers

Leasing a vehicle is great if you’re a low-mileage and low-maintenance driver. Because most leases have mileage restrictions and require vehicles be kept in good condition, many people find leases too constraining. But if you don't drive too frequently, leasing could be a good decision.

 

Con: Maintenance of vehicle

Your lease contract will specify the condition in which the vehicle should be returned. You may be responsible for any property damage to the vehicle, however small. As you’re not the owner of the vehicle, you are responsible for returning it in the pre-specified condition.

 

Pro: Warranties and new vehicle alternatives

The last major benefit of leasing a vehicle is that you can choose a new car every few years. Although you may be responsible for minor maintenance occurrences such as oil changes and tire rotations, major mechanical issues will be dealt with through the warranty.

 


 

Lease car insurance requirements

Because you'll need to return your leased vehicle in the same condition you received it, you should remain properly insured for the duration of your lease agreement. See below common insurance coverage options for a leased car.

Carrying only liability coverage could leave you in violation of your lease agreement, as it would offer no physical protection in the event of an at-fault accident. In addition to these coverages, you may need:

Gap insurance is sometimes required for leased and financed vehicles. Gap insurance covers the difference between the market value of the car — accounting for depreciation — and what is still owed on the lease. In the event a leased vehicle is totaled, the driver would be responsible for the difference between the amount owed on the lease and what the insurance company pays out on a claim.

For a car insurance policy, the claim payout would account for the vehicle's actual cash value.

 


 

Is gap insurance required? 

Gap insurance comes with a few considerations. Confirm with your leasing company that this coverage is required. Some lease contracts include a Gap Waiver Provision. This forgives the difference between the amount owed on the lease and the amount paid out by the insurance company in the event of a major claim.

Not every insurance company sells gap insurance. For example, GEICO currently does not offer gap insurance.

You can purchase gap insurance from an insurance provider or the dealer through which you acquire your lease. Because the dealership’s coverage might be a little more expensive, it's always worth comparing prices. 

 


 

What to do with insurance after a lease ends

While there's a lot to say about what your next steps are after your lease ends in terms of getting another vehicle, it's much more straight-forward when it comes to insurance.

  • If you’re extending the lease: keep your insurance
  • If you're trading in the vehicle for a new one: update your insurance with new vehicle information
  • If you're buying the vehicle: remove the leasing company from the insurance and update your policy, if necessary
  • Walking away: if you’re going car-free, just cancel your insurance! You might want to invest in non-owners insurance.

 


 

Ways to save on insurance

If you're already contributing to a monthly lease payment, you'd want to make sure your insurance premium is as low as possible as well. Let's break down our top ways to save on auto insurance at every stage of car ownership.

 

Pay Smart

If you have the ability to the entirety of your premium up front, you can save some money on your auto insurance. In 2018, the average driver lowered their premium by 5% — or $34 per standard six-month policy.

Payment Type
6-Month Premium
Installments
$735
Paid-in-full
$701

Because you cut out the cost of transaction fees and pay the premium up front, you could receive a lower premium.

 

Bundle

Bundling insurance policies earns you a multi-policy discount and reduces the number of insurers you have to deal with.

bunlding

Telematics

Telematics can be a great option for saving money while leasing a vehicle because of how they work. Telematics devices plug into your car and help your insurance company monitor the way you drive to generate a more accurate premium. Driving carefully and less often can result in a lower premium. Because a leased vehicle has mileage restrictions and you need to take care of the vehicle, this might be a good way for you to save. While this program isn't available in every state, here are some major insurers and corresponding usage-based savings.

Company

Estimated Savings

Progressive SnapShot

Average of $130

Allstate Drivewise

Average of 10-25%

State Farm Drive Safe & Save

Up to 15%

Esurance DriveSense

Varies

Nationwide SmartRide

Up to 40%

Liberty Mutual RightTrack

Average of 5-30%

Root Car Insurance

Varies

Metromile Car Insurance

Varies

For more information related to telematics, see here.

 

Shop around

No matter what stage of owning a car you're in, it's always a good idea to look to see what other companies would be charging you for auto insurance. Use The Zebra to compare rates and see if you could be getting a better rate elsewhere. 

 

Compare over 200 insurance companies at once!

 

Related content

If you’re looking for more information on car insurance for a leased vehicle, see our related content below:

 


Recent Questions:

Car Insurance for a Leased Vehicle

If I am leasing a car and die before the end of the lease term, can I buy insurance to cover that?

Feb 03, 2019
Cleveland Heights, OH

For example, I have a 2-year lease on a 2019 car, If I die and my spouse is left with ...

What can I expect to pay for first time car insurance?

Sep 13, 2018
Queens, NY

I’m 29 years old, I will be 30 in 2 months. I’ve had my license for 4 years. I’m looking ...

I was billed for forced car insurance even though I already had it

Jun 08, 2018
Glendale, AZ

I read your article on forced auto insurance. I got a loan for a car in 12/17 and showed ...

Will the insurer research to see if my car is financed?

May 14, 2018
Pittsburgh, PA

Is it standard for an agent to inquire about the financing of an auto? Will they review the application to ...

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