Car subscriptions are like short-term leases. You choose a vehicle, go through an ID and driving license checking procedure (and sometimes a credit check), then take delivery of your vehicle. You have the option of a rolling contract, with returns, switches, upgrades and cancellations available at short notice.
Do car subscriptions include insurance?
Not all car subscriptions include insurance, but an increasing number do. Quite often, companies will tie you into insurance details, and you should read the fine print carefully, because these can often interfere with your existing No Claims Bonus. Some companies, however, either don’t offer insurance at all, or have it as an option that you can either take or leave.
What about maintenance?
A car subscription includes vehicle maintenance. It is important that if any warning lights come on indicating that your car needs checking for a problem, that you speak to your subscription company straight away. Some companies will impose fines on you for not reporting issues straight away.
How often can I swap my car?
This varies from company to company. Typical minimum terms are a month, so you could drive a different vehicle every 4 weeks with some subscription contracts, although some prefer to tie you in for 3 or 6 months to avoid high administration volumes.
At the other end of the spectrum, it is possible to keep the same car on a rolling contract for up to a year with some companies, although it is common for them to ask you to return the car and swap it after around 12 months so that they can carry out routine inspections and repairs before offering the vehicle back out.
What if I have problems with a car?
If you have any problems, phone the company. As servicing and breakdown cover are included, they will sort this out at no extra cost. Exceptions typically include windscreens and tyre rims, which can incur extra charges.
How many miles can I drive?
Typical mileage packages range from 1,000-1,500 miles per month. Some companies offer more on a per-mile cost basis, which can be expensive, but companies that specialise in providing vehicles to companies for business use will have rates you can negotiate. There are also a few companies that impose strict caps on mileage and will bar you from renewing a subscription if you persistently exceed this amount.
Do I need to pay for anything other than petrol?
If you have a car subscription that includes insurance, then your only extra costs will be petrol and any parking charges or speeding fines you incur while in possession of the vehicle. Some companies will charge admin or joining fees, but these are one-offs.
What are the requirements to join?
Age restrictions vary from 18 to 30, but most car subscription companies in the UK won’t allow you to sign a contract if you have a recent criminal conviction, or more than 6 points on your license. There will typically be a soft credit check, but these are not difficult to pass, and several companies offer affordability analyses to ensure that they can get your custom responsibly.
Are subscriptions only for new cars?
No. Typically, you won’t be guaranteed a brand-new vehicle as they are used specifically for subscription and/or leasing purposes. However, it is likely that your vehicle will be under 3 years old, without significant mileage on the clock. Some companies do also offer new vehicles for subscriptions.
Can I take my car abroad?
This depends on your contract. You may find that you can drive your vehicle for up to 90 days abroad, or there may be a restriction on this. Check out our site reviews for more information, and don’t forget to read the terms of your contract and ask your customer service representative if you have any questions.