Leasing a Car Online

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You can shop for everything else from the comfort of home—so why not also shop for the perfect lease on a shiny new car?

If you've already narrowed down the type of vehicle you want, shopping online for a car lease can be easy and hassle free, as long as you know what you're doing.

Finding Online Lease Specials

Car manufacturers and car dealers often offer pre-packaged lease deals online. If you know what car you want to lease, start by visiting the manufacturer's website and look for “lease specials" or “special offers."

Keep in mind that lease specials may have the following restrictions:

  • Only applicable to a specific model and/or body style.
  • Open only to buyers with the highest-tier credit score.

Negotiating Your Lease Online

Contrary to popular belief, you don't necessarily have to negotiate your leasing details in person at the dealership—you can start that process online.

There are several steps to take when you're before and during the process of negotiating your lease online.

  • Choose a dealer and get a price quote.
    • Reach out via e-mail to several dealerships that offer the car you want to find the best price.
  • Check your credit score.
    • You can do this directly through any of the three major credit agencies. This will give you an idea of whether your lease will require some money down to offset a poor credit score.
  • Calculate your payments.
  • Ask questions and negotiate variables.
    • Even if you've chosen your car and the dealer has given you a price quote, there's always room to negotiate. Make sure to discuss any variables such as:
      • Annual mileage cap.
      • Length of the lease.
      • Warranties.

Finalizing a Car Lease Online

Once you've negotiated your price and payments, the next step is the paperwork and delivery of your vehicle. Again, this can all be done from the comfort of your home.

Here are the general steps to securing a lease online; remember, your particular dealership or lender may have different steps and requirements.

1. Apply for the Lease

If you've chosen your car, dealership and price, it's time to apply for your lease. There might be an application on your dealer's website, or you can ask your online sales representative to send one to you via e-mail.

2. Sign and Return the Documents

Once your online lease negotiations are complete and you've been approved, the dealership or bank will send your lease documents, usually overnight. Make sure you read every single line, especially the details regarding the return of your vehicle and early lease termination.

If you have any questions, contact the dealer or lender immediately. Once you've signed on the dotted line, send everything back to the dealer.

3. Secure Auto Insurance

If you don't have insurance already, you'll need to apply for it before your car rolls off the lot. Be sure to ask your lender if there are any coverage minimums you need to adhere to in your auto policy.

Ask your friends or shop around online for a reputable insurance company, or reach out to your existing car insurance company and give them the VIN number of the vehicle you are leasing to get a price quote for the coverage you need. A dealer will not release your vehicle without proof of insurance, so ask your insurance carrier to e-mail you a document you can share with the bank or dealership.

4. Arrange for Delivery

The last step is getting your new leased car to your home. Start with your asking your dealer—they may have a delivery service they work with. You can also search online for companies that do car shipping and compare costs to find the best deal.

Be sure to do your research to ensure the vehicle shipping company is legitimate, reputable, and reliable—you can start by checking online reviews and the Better Business Bureau.