Car Leasing FAQ

Get the answers to all your car leasing questions in our car leasing FAQ. You’ll find simple and quick answers to the top questions asked on personal and business leasing.

What does a maintenance package cover, and what are the benefits?

As a general rule, maintenance covers all of your servicing costs, maintenance costs and replacement tyres (in some cases this even includes punctures). If your chosen contract is longer than 36 months in duration, the maintenance agreement would also cover your MOT costs to make sure that the vehicle is safe and road legal for you.

Just book your vehicle in with your local main dealer and let them know that has a full maintenance agreement. When the vehicle is serviced the invoice will be passed onto the leasing company for payment.

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Is it possible to keep my car at the end of the contract?

If you decide that you'd like to keep your car at the end of your contract, we will try our best to make this happen. Unfortunately, we cannot guarantee that we will be able to.

It will ultimately depend on the finance company, who determine if the car can be bought.

It's best to establish if you'd like ownership of the vehicle before choosing your contract type.

Can I end my lease early?

If you are in a lease but need to end the agreement before the official end date, this is called an early termination.

There will be a charge if you want to terminate your lease early. This is typically 50% of your outstanding rentals, but the leasing company can charge you whatever the rate is in their terms and conditions.

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Are lease cars all brand new?

Lease cars will be brand new as standard, unless stated otherwise.

Who pays the road tax on a lease vehicle?

If you are in a contract hire agreement, your finance company are responsible for taxing the car or van. They will send you a notification through the post, letting you know that it has been done.

The cost of road tax is included in your monthly rental, which reflects the price of road tax when the contract was agreed. If the cost of road tax increases, you will be sent an invoice for the difference. This works the other way as well; if the cost of road tax goes down, you will receive a cheque for the difference.

Do car leases include car insurance?

Car leasing costs do not include insurance, although they do include road tax. You need to be fully insured in order to drive a lease car, and you will need to make those arrangements yourself. Driving a lease car without an insurance policy is illegal.

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What does 'fair wear and tear' mean?

At the end of your contract hire agreement, the vehicle will be returned to the funder. A few scratches and bumps are expected, and as such finance companies allow for a certain amount of imperfection, called 'fair wear and tear'.

The BVRLA fair wear and tear guidelines are used to assess your vehicle. If there is any damage that falls outside of the guidelines, you will be asked to pay for repairs.

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My lease car has been stolen - what do I do?

With leasing, you never actually own the vehicle - the finance company do. Therefore it's important to take the right steps in the case your lease vehicle gets stolen:

1. Call the police - You should call the police and report the theft, providing them with all the details of your lease car, such as model, colour and vehicle registration. The police will provide you with a crime reference number and proceed to investigate the crime.

2. Call your insurance company - Your insurance provider will be paying out if the vehicle is not recovered, so they need to be informed if your vehicle has been stolen. Every contract hire vehicle must be covered with fully comprehensive motor insurance. If your lease car is confirmed as stolen, non-recoverable or declared a write-off, your insurance provider will liaise with the finance company to discuss the settlement figure. As long as the insurance company pay out covers the amount required by the finance company to settle the agreement, you should be free to start a new contract. You need to maintain your lease rental payments in the interim up until the point that the agreement is settled.

3. Call your finance company - As the finance company own the vehicle, it's crucial they are aware it has been stolen. They will continue to charge you the monthly rental until the issue is resolved; where the finance company and insurance provider come together to discuss a settlement figure. If they fail to agree on a settlement figure, where the insurance company's figure falls short, you will be legally responsible for paying the difference between the amount paid by the insurance company and the amount to end the contract.

Before you enter into a contract, you can take advantage of a GAP insurance policy (Guaranteed Asset Protection) - this will protect you from any shortfalls between your insurance and the cost to end your contract.

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Who is the legal owner of a lease vehicle?

In a contract hire agreement, you will never own the vehicle. The finance company that is funding your lease will be the owners, and as such will have the V5 registered to them.

With a purchase agreement, there is an option to own the vehicle at the end of the contract. You may get the V5 at the start of the contract, but it depends on the finance company and 

What are excess mileage charges?

If you drive more miles than agreed in your contract, you will have to pay an excess mileage charge.

The charge varies but depends on things such as: which vehicle you are leasing, and whether you have taken out a maintenance package. It can range from 2p upwards for each mile you've travelled over your contract.

Before you enter into a leasing contract, your Account Manager will help you figure out how many miles you will travel over a year. This will help you to avoid going over your limit and reduce the possibility for an unexpected charge at the end of your contract.

The charge per excess mile will be stated in your quote and leasing contract, so you will be aware of the cost before taking delivery of a vehicle.

Can I add options onto my chosen car or van?

Yes. Any factory fitted options can be added onto your quotation at a cost. We are happy to provide a tailored quote, which includes your chosen options, colour and specification.

What is an initial rental, and what does 6+35 mean?

Before you lease a vehicle, you're asked to decide on an initial rental. This is the amount you will pay upfront on the first month of your leasing contract, and it is typically 1, 3, 6 or 9 times the monthly rental. The higher the initial rental, the lower the monthly rentals.

6+35 is a 3-year contract, with 6 months initial rental. This means that you will pay 6 times the monthly rental in the first month, and then 35 monthly payments thereafter.

The initial rental is not a deposit and is not returned at the end of your lease.

What are admin, processing or documentation fees?

Many brokers will charge a hidden fee, usually labelled as 'administration fees', 'processing fees', or documentation fees'. This is a way that they create an additional income while advertising a slightly lower monthly rental.

At Rivervale, we believe in transparency, so the price you are quoted is the price you pay, with no extra charges.

It's easy to forget about these fees, so if you are quoted elsewhere where they charge an admin fee, it's important to consider the entire cost of the vehicle, including the charges.

What does personal contract hire mean?

A Personal Contract Hire (PCH) agreement is an option you can use to fund a lease vehicle. You're asked to decide on how long you'd like to lease the vehicle for, called the contract length, which can range from 24-60 months. You also choose your annual mileage, which is how many miles you will be driving each year. You decide on how much money you'd like to pay in the first month of your contract; called an initial rental. This is typically 3, 6 or 9 times the monthly rental, but can also be customised to suit you. The higher the initial rental, the lower your subsequent monthly rentals will be. The initial rental goes towards the total cost of the contract, and as such is not a deposit and won't be returned at the end of the agreement.

At the end of your contract, the collection is arranged and the vehicle is taken back.

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Do electric vehicles have to pay congestion charge?

Full electric vehicles comply with London’s Ultra Low Emission Zone and therefore are exempt from any Congestion charges.

What is the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS)?

The Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS) is a government scheme for electric vehicles offered by the Office for Low Emission Vehicles (OLEV).

  • The WCS reduces the purchase and installation cost of a new workplace charging unit by 75% (capped at £350 per socket).

  • A single business can claim for up to a maximum of 40 chargepoints.

  • Unfortunately, you are unable to backdate a claim for existing chargepoints on your premises.


What does depreciation mean?

As a new vehicle is driven, it's value decreases. When you lease a vehicle, the monthly rentals are based on how much the vehicle depreciates in value. For example, driving a vehicle 8000 miles a year will uphold it's value more than driving a vehicle 20000 miles a year. As such, increasing your annual mileage will increase the monthly rental.

There are other factors that can affect how much a vehicle depreciates, such as contract length and whether or not the vehicle is maintained by the funder.

How do I qualify for the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS)?

The WCS is available to any business, charity or public authority, with some stipulations including:

  • You must have sufficient off-street parking.

  • While you do not need to currently have electric vehicles as part of your fleet, you will need to express an existing or future need for the business.

  • You must have the charging station installed by an OLEV-approved workplace charging station installer.


How do I apply for the Workplace Charging Scheme (WCS)?

The WCS is a voucher-based system.

You will need to complete an online application.

If successful, you will be emailed a voucher code which you can then present to your OLEV-approved installer which your installer will then use to claim the grant after the installation is complete. The voucher code is valid for 120 days from the date of issue.

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