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If you’re over 60 and have always bought your car outright or with a bank loan, car leasing may not be your radar but it’s certainly worth considering.

Depending on your budget and needs, car leasing may be a better option than buying a new car outright. Seniors on fixed incomes who want to drive a new car with the latest safety features every couple of years or who want a shorter financial commitment on their car could benefit from car leasing. 

So if you are a senior and are confused about how leasing works, Nationwide Vehicle Contracts has put together a list of 10 of the most frequently asked questions by senior citizens regarding car leasing.

1. What are differences between car leasing and buying a car outright?

Unlike a purchase deal where you own the vehicle, car leasing is a long-term vehicle rental agreement. With a lease deal, you pay to ‘rent’ the vehicle for a period of 2, 3 or 4 and then return the car at the end of the agreement without any further obligations, leaving you free to lease or purchase another vehicle.

While car leasing offers many benefits such as a lower initial rental, fixed monthly payments and no depreciation worries, it isn't right for everyone. To help you understand the differences between car buying versus car leasing, it is important to weigh up the pros and cons of both options.

Pros of Car Leasing

  • Low initial rental
  • Fixed rentals for the whole package, making budget planning easier
  • Flexible duration and mileage terms to meet your requirements
  • No worries about depreciation or disposal

Cons of Car Leasing

  • Early termination can be expensive
  • If you exceed your agreed mileage, an excess mileage charge will be payable
  • You must return the vehicle in a well maintained condition or damage charges may apply
  • You will never own the vehicle as there is no option to buy it

Pros of Buying a Car

  • You own the vehicle and can modify as you please
  • No fair wear and tear charges
  • No penalty for driving excess mileage
  • You can sell the car whenever you want

Cons of Buying a Car

  • Higher deposit is generally required
  • Higher monthly payments
  • You are responsible for MOT and maintenance costs once the warranty expires
  • Heavy depreciation

2. How does leasing work?

As we have explained above, car leasing is a long-term rental agreement offering the exclusive use of a car or van for a set period of time at a fixed monthly price. It offers an alternative, and often cheaper, funding solution to buying a new car or van with a bank loan or dealer finance.

At the start of a contract, the customer pays an initial rental usually equivalent to three monthly payments. The customer then makes monthly payments for the duration of the contract term, typically two, three years or four years.

At the end of the contract, the customer simply hands the car back without any further obligations.The customer also doesn’t have to worry about depreciation or selling the car as this job falls to the lease company.

3. What is included in my lease contract?

Lease your new vehicle with Nationwide Vehicle Contracts and take advantage of:  

  • Free UK mainland delivery*
  • Full manufacturer’s warranty
  • Breakdown recovery
  • Road tax

*For some locations a delivery charge will be made, depending on address and vehicle manufacturer

4. Will I pass the credit check?

As long as you have a full UK driving licence, are able to afford the monthly rentals and have a good to excellent credit score, you can apply to lease a vehicle from the age of 18. There is no upper age limit.

It is worth noting that most funders ask for a good to excellent credit score in order to be accepted for vehicle finance. If you are unsure if you are eligible for vehicle finance, you can use our free and interactive Am I Eligible for Personal Vehicle Finance.

5. I need a car with easy access - what do you recommend?

Comfort, safety and accessibility are high on the wish list for most senior drivers when choosing a new car. Here at Nationwide Vehicle Contracts, we have some fantastic lease offers on a wide range of new cars suitable for older drivers. Our friends at Honest John recommend the Volkswagen Golf SV, BMW 2 Series Active Tourer and Mazda CX-5 as car choices for elderly drivers.

6. What happens at the end of the vehicle agreement?

Approximately six months prior to the end of your contract, our renewals team will contact you to discuss your replacement options. Depending on the type of contract taken, you can hand the vehicle back, extend the contract, or purchase the vehicle from the finance company (dependent upon the funder).

For contract hire, personal contract hire, contract purchase or personal contract purchase agreements, the finance company will usually collect the vehicle at the end of the contract unless you are purchasing the vehicle. Once the vehicle has been returned to the finance company, you are free to lease or purchase another vehicle.

7. Can I lease a car with Nationwide Vehicle Contracts on the Motability Scheme?

The Motability Scheme enables disabled people to lease a new car, scooter or powered wheelchair, using their Government funded mobility allowance. Unfortunately, Nationwide Vehicle Contracts is not a Motability Specialist therefore we will be unable to offer a lease agreement using the Motability Scheme. To find a Motability Scheme dealer near you, please check here.

8. Do you offer a part exchange facility where I can trade in my current vehicle?

Unfortunately, we don’t offer a part exchange facility so you will be responsible for selling or disposing of your current vehicle if it is no longer required.

9. How do I know I’m in safe hands with Nationwide Vehicle Contracts?

Nationwide Vehicle Contract is a member of the British Vehicle Rental and Leasing Association (BVRLA). All BVRLA Leasing Broker members must follow the BVRLA code of conduct to ensure they are giving high quality services to its customers.

The code states that Leasing Broker members must:

  • Conduct their business lawfully and comply with all relevant legislation, trading fairly and responsibly.
  • Provide clear quotations, pricing & payment profiles to customers.
  • Ensure that vehicles sourced and offered to customers meet the manufacturers current specifications and standards.
  • Ensure that prior to representing a customer they obtain their consent.
  • Ensure that customers are provided with clear terms of business
  • Offer advice best suited to the customer's stated needs and requirements.
  • Provide clear terms and conditions of an order, including details of any cancellation fees as well as guidance of how to cancel - at the time of order.
  • Operate in a professional manner from an established commercial place of business.
  • Ensure all staff are adequately trained to the required standards
  • Ensure they have a written customer complaint handling process in the event of customer dissatisfaction which adheres to the Financial Ombudsman Service's requirements and BVRLA Conciliation Service.

10. What happens in the event of death of the contract holder?

In the event of the death of the contract holder, the trustee of the estate will need to contact the finance provider ASAP. For agreements where the vehicle is returned at the end of the contract, such as a Contract Hire or Personal Contract Hire, an early termination figure will be requested. For agreements where the vehicle is typically purchased at the end of the contract, such as a Contract Purchase or Personal Contract Purchase, an early termination figure will be requested, along with the balloon payment.

Depending on circumstances, the finance provider may wavier the early termination fee but each decision will be on a case-by-case basis and trustees should speak to the finance provider in the first instance.

Still have questions regarding car leasing? Leave us a comment below or call the Nationwide Vehicle Contracts team on 0345 811 9595 to speak to a specialist.