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When you’re considering leasing a car rather than buying it outright, there are a number of things about your lease contract that you’ll have to consider. It isn’t as simple as deciding whether you go for contract hire or lease purchase leases, it’s all in the detail, and if you don’t read into the detail you could end up paying a lot more than you intended.

A lot of people don’t realise that there are quite a few terms and conditions that are of interest when leasing a car and they’re not all the usual credit agreements etc. Here is a list of the things that you shouldn’t just skip over; take the time to read them as you want to make sure that you’re agreeing to the exact lease that you want.

The first thing that you should look at is your mileage allowance; you’re better off agreeing to an amount that is higher than you’re likely to use, this not only gives you a little leeway but it also saves you from paying a hefty price if you do go over what you expected. Lease contracts usually offer mileage allowances between 6,000 and 100,000 miles. Choosing a lease with a higher mileage allowance gives you peace of mind should you have to make a particularly long journey. It also saves you from the premiums if you go over your mileage allowance – most companies charge between three and ten pence per mile.

Secondly you should look into the length of your lease; most leases are available between one and five years and your monthly payments will change depending on which length you choose. For example, a two year lease would have a higher monthly payment than a five year lease however, you would be able to swap the car after two years if you don’t feel it’s right for you.

Consider your monthly fee. If you lost your job tomorrow would you still be able to pay it? It’s all very well paying a high price for the car of your dreams while you can afford it, but will you be able to afford it in a month or years’ time? In the current economic climate your financial security is something that you have to think about seriously.

What are your options when the lease comes to an end? Many leases give you the option to buy, part exchange or swap the car for another lease. Check which options are available and keep your options open.

How much is the vehicle worth? Make sure that you’re not paying over the odds, especially if you are taking out a lease on a used car. Work out how much you will be paying by the time your lease is over and compare this to the price of the vehicle – a lot of companies will offer to give you free services until the end of your contract so this is something to also take into account. If you’ve agreed to buy the vehicle at the end you could also look at that amount – work out how much you will have paid off during your contract and add that to the balloon payment and ask yourself if it’s a fair amount compared to the price of the car.

There’s a lot to think about when entering into a car lease contract, a lot more than even this list covers, you should really think about whether it’s the best deal out there before you agree to their terms and conditions.

The author of this article is Jack Smith; he has only ever bought a car through car leasing from