Having utilised many of the car subscription programs ourselves, we wanted to share some hints and tips on making sure you get the best from the contract and what to look out for in the process of obtaining a car through a subscription.
We hope the following hints and tips will help you.
Read the Contracts
We’re all guilty of flying through the pages of the terms and conditions, but when it comes to a legal document such as a car subscription, it is really important to ensure you know what you’re signing for.
Your vehicle subscription provider should be upfront and clear about the charges from the beginning, this includes joining fee’s or documentation charges, in-contract charges and termination fees.
Choose a term that suits you, not the price as it could cost more in the long run. Some companies such as Care by Volvo have two options listed on their website; 3 Months Rolling and 36 Months. The latter may look more appealing but you may face termination charges if you want to sent the vehicle back earlier.
When you receive the vehicle, brand new or used. Go over the vehicle with a fine-toothed comb. This is your time to spot any defects, chips, scratches on the car. Get on your hands and knees and look under the front and read bumpers, check inside sills and make sure all of the equipment is with the vehicle such as first aid kits, inflation kits and charging cables.
Whilst the drivers might be in a rush to get to his/her next job, if you miss anything, you could get charged for any damage or missing items at the end of your subscription.
Even if the vehicle is brand new damage can still be present.
On top of this check the mileage on the car and the fuel or charge levels, take photos or videos of the readings.
Smartphones have large capacity memory banks nowadays, so take plenty of photos, even general ones of the car from the front and the back, you may have missed some damage that might get picked up at a later date.
Costs and Prices
The most important part of a vehicle subscription for the majority of clients is how much does a car subscription cost per month?
The rate charged will depend on various factors including the make/model, specification, mileage allowance and how long you need the vehicle for.
Many of the subscription companies advertise a headline rate, but this may be with a longer commitment such as 24 or even 36 months – no good if you only need the vehicle for 6 or 12 months.
On top of the monthly charge, there will be other charges that you may not have considered, these include but are not limited to:
- Sign-up Fee
- Delivery Costs
- Collection Costs (At the end of the vehicle subscription)
- Increased Mileage Allowance
- Additional Drivers (Where Insurance is included)
- Fuel Costs
- Costs for administration charges when receiving PCN’s.
- Insurance Excess
See what is applicable to you from the above and take into account these charges when working out the monthly costs. Some companies such as Cocoon and Flexed offer 28 days rates, but when you take into account they’re joining fees, delivery fee’s or documentation fees, it could work out cheaper getting a daily rental car over the same period.
Not all providers include insurance with your car subscription, but for those that do you need to look at the terms and conditions in great detail. This includes the standard excess and who can or cannot drive the vehicle.
Some providers also have restrictions on the number of penalty points on a driving licence or even certain conviction codes.
Just because you have insurance, doesn’t mean that damage will be covered. If you damage your alloy wheels or get stone chips, these aren’t really items that you can claim for and you will be charged at the end of the contract.
If you do have any claims on your insurance, this could have an effect on your personal insurance policy so please do be careful and make sure that you do let your insurance company know, as this could invalidate your policy.
Some of the car subscription providers have an option for you to provide your own fully comprehensive insurance, these include Drive Car Flex and Flexed.
Delays and Deliveries
With most providers, the delivery date/time isn’t set in stone. You will find that many of the subscription providers will be in the hands of dealers or suppliers who may not receive the vehicles in time to be delivered as agreed.
With the majority of the subscription deals in the marketplace the headline rate will include a number of miles that will be suitable for many, but not all. Some offer 800 or 1,000 miles as standard and you will need to add on additional miles to increase your allowance per month.
Choose wisely, work out your daily commute, your weekends out and those staycations in the UK. If you go over the mileage allowance, you may be hit by an excess mileage charge and on the subscription model, these are generally higher than traditional leasing.
If you have taken the vehicle on a low mileage allowance and know that you are exceeding the parameters, speak to your provider, they can usually look at increasing the miles per month and it can work out cheaper than paying the excess mileage charge.
End of your Subscription
When you have finished with your vehicle, each subscription company has its own return process. Again, familiarise yourself with these before you actually take the vehicle out.
Some require 5 days notice, some require 1 months notice others it is much longer.
Some companies charge for collection, so bear this in mind. Others have de-fleet centres that you can take the vehicle back to.
When the car is returned, the vehicles will be checked by vehicle appraisers. You will find this process much longer than the original handover, so ensure you have around 45-60 minutes. Most vehicles will be checked again for any missed poor previous repairs or damage that isn’t visible.
Each company will have its own return standards, this is the agreement between yourself and the supplier on how the vehicle should be returned and the damage that is acceptable.
Usually, car subscriptions do not need to adhere to the BVRLA’s Fair, Wear and Tear guide so read the return standards in detail. Many providers openly advertise this on their websites, others don’t.
If you have any damage to the car, this may be charged by the vehicle supplier on to yourself for paying. So when the inspection is carried out, go around the vehicle with your phone and take plenty of photos.
Ask the drivers to point out any damage. Just remember though that not all drivers are there to inspect the vehicle and a 2nd inspection may be carried out by the supplier, this latter report is the one they will use to determine if anything should be charged on.
Compare car subscriptions
We try and cover as much as we can when it comes to the car subscriptions listed on our website, so it’s equally important that you can easily compare the services and charged offered by these companies.
Use our website to easily compare these providers and get in touch with each one to ask any questions.