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Can you lease a car for a month?

There are times when you may want to explore short-term lease options. Maybe you’ve booked a trip and need a car for an extended period. Or maybe you want to try a car out before committing to a purchase. But can you lease a car for a month? Let’s find out.

What does it mean to lease a car?

When you lease a car, you pay for its use over a period of time. You do not own the car. Instead, an entity such as a bank owns the car and you are paying to use it, based on a financial agreement over a fixed period of time. If you want to own a leased car, you can often arrange to purchase it during, or at the end of, the lease agreement.

What is the shortest lease term for a car?

The shortest lease term is typically 12 months. So, if you want to lease a car for a month, this is not really an option. Instead, you would want to take a look at a long-term rental. Rental companies will often quote the cost per month, rather than a day rate. The cost of a monthly rental will likely be much more than a standard monthly lease payment, but at the end of the rental period, you return the car and have no further responsibility for it. 

Range of options

There are essentially five ways to pay to use a car without purchasing it: Standard rental, long-term rental, short-term lease, standard lease and long-term lease. Here are the typical timelines of each:

  • A standard rental can last from one day to one week.
  • A long-term rental is greater than one week and less than one year.
  • A short-term lease is from 12 months up to 24 months.
  • A standard lease can last from 24 to 48 months.
  • A long-term lease is greater than 48 months and can be up to 96 months.

Long-term car rental options

While leasing a car for a month is not viable, a long term rental may be the closest alternative.  There are car share apps that provide the opportunity to use a car for a month, or other periods of time. The final cost may be a little less than the equivalent rental at one of the big rental companies, but still more than a typical lease payment.  On the plus side, renting allows you to try out cars before making a long-term commitment, whether leasing or purchasing.