What Happens If I Damage My Lease Car?

While most of us tend to avoid accidents when driving, whether they are scrapes on a high curb to a bump with another vehicle, they do happen from time to time. 

Bumps and scrapes can happen, they are a part of motoring but there are extra implications when you damage a leased car or van. 

While Vehicle leasing companies expect you to return your car in the best condition at the end of your vehicle lease contract, they aren’t unrealistic in their expectations. Most accept that your lease car will incur some general wear and tear during the period of your contracted lease period. 

How Is Lease Vehicle Damage Classed? 

Damage to lease vehicles is usually fit into two categories, acceptable and unacceptable. Acceptable damage includes general wear and tear that can be expected from driving, unacceptable damage includes things like more severe impact damage. 

While BVRLA is the industry standard for what is considered wear and tear, some vehicle lease dealerships may have their own standards of what they consider wear and tear. These are usually stipulated at the start of the contract or can be found in the terms and conditions of the lease deal. 

Below is a list of things that are considered general wear and tear and unacceptable damage to a lease vehicle. Please confirm these with your lease provider.

Acceptable Damage To A Leased Vehicle

  • Scratches up to 25mm are acceptable (except where primer or bare metal is showing)
  • A scratch that does not interfere with the driver’s line of sight
  • Scuffs up to 25mm on alloy wheels
  • Tyres must meet UK legal requirements
  • Light staining to the driver seat area
  • Damage to the lens but has not broken the glass (and there’s also no water ingress)

Unacceptable Damage To A Leased Vehicle

  • Unrepaired impact damage
  • A dirty interior/exterior (otherwise they can’t inspect)
  • Adhesive residue
  • Windscreen chip
  • Wheel damage – due to kerbing
  • Abrasions longer than 25mm
  • Scratches over 25mm

While these are generally a rule of thumb, what is considered acceptable and unacceptable damage to a leased vehicle can differ from provider to provider, so it’s always important to check the terms and conditions of your lease contract.

What Should You Do If Your Leased Car gets Damaged?

In the event of an accident and your lease vehicle is damaged, there are a few things to remember for you what you should and shouldn’t do.

If you are involved in an accident in your lease vehicle you should immediately contact your insurer to report the incident, even if you’re not making a claim. When you contact your insurer, make sure you have the following information from other driver involved in the accident:

  • The driver’s full name
  • Contact details like a phone number and email address
  • The other driver’s insurance company and policy number
  • Details of the other vehicle such as the make, model and registration plate
  • Collect a clear record of details of the accident like time, location, number of cars involved, the number of passengers.
  • Details of the damage caused. Take pictures of the damage as you may be asked to send to your insurer when you report your incident

Unless the damage is severe that the car is written off, your insurer will advise you on the next steps of getting the damage repairs

Do not attempt to repair the damage yourself, you could potentially invalidate your insurance and potentially incur a penalty fee because you’re not considered an approved mechanic by your insurer.

What Are The Charges For Damaging A Leased Vehicle?

If you are the driver who is at fault for the accident, then you will be responsible for paying for the damage to your lease vehicle.

Depending on the extent of the damage caused to the lease vehicle you will have to pay different amounts. If the damage is minor or isn’t substantial enough to write the vehicle off, then you’ll have to claim through your insurer and may have to pay the excess as outlined in your policy.

What happens if your lease car is written off

If the damage caused in an accident is substantial enough that the car is written off then you will have to pay the outstanding finance charges in your lease contract. Your insurer will pay out the remaining value of the car to you, which will likely go back to your finance company to cover the remainder of your lease agreement. The problem is that often the amount paid out by your insurer is based on the current value of the vehicle and might not cover the entirety of your finance agreement. If you have taken out a GAP insurance policy, this can be helpful with covering that cost.