Do You Get a Car Title When You Lease? Explained

June 17, 2024

Leasing a car can be an attractive option for many individuals and businesses. It allows you to use a vehicle for a specified period without committing to full ownership. But what exactly does it mean to lease a car, and what are your responsibilities and options? One commonly asked question is, do you get a car title when you lease?

Understanding Car Leasing

When you lease a car, you are essentially renting it from the lessor for a set period. This period can range from a couple of years to longer, depending on the lease agreement. The monthly lease payments you make typically cover the depreciation of the car's value during the lease term. However, do you get a car title when you lease? The answer is no. The title remains with the owner of the vehicle, usually the leasing company or car dealership.

Your Responsibilities During the Lease

Leasing a car comes with specific responsibilities. You'll need to maintain the vehicle, cover any repairs, and stick within the mileage limits specified in the lease agreement. Comprehensive insurance that meets state laws and the lease terms is also mandatory. You should be aware that failing to comply with these responsibilities can result in termination fees and potentially more costs.

What Happens at the End of the Lease?

At the end of your lease term, you have a few options. You can return the car, purchase it by buying out the lease, or sometimes even sell the car for a profit. The decision can be influenced by the car's residual value, which is the estimated value of the car at the end of the lease.

Leasing for Business Growth

Leasing a vehicle can be particularly beneficial for businesses. Companies like Wilmar handle the registration, title, and maintenance of leased vehicles, making it easier for small business owners to manage their fleet. Fleet management allows business owners to concentrate on growing their operations rather than dealing with the logistics of vehicle ownership.

Special Cases: Leasing in Different States

In certain states, like Michigan, the procedure for handling leased car titles can differ. For example, Carvana approved a vehicle for a drop-off but clarified that the car title was held by the lienholder and not required for the appointment. This might differ from other states, so always check local regulations regarding leased vehicles.

Leasing vs. Buying

If you're weighing whether to lease or buy, there are several factors to consider, such as the difference in monthly payments. Leasing may offer lower monthly payments but comes with restrictions on usage and mileage. On the other hand, buying a car means paying the full amount but grants you ownership and the title.

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