Back to list
Is there such a thing as a one-year car lease?
by Canvas • May 28, 2019


Do One-Year Car Leases Exist?

Maybe you don’t like committing to a vehicle long term.

Or maybe you just like upgrading to the latest and greatest things as soon as they come out.

Whatever the case, you might have a simple question: Is there such a thing as a one-year car lease? After all, that would be pretty great. Score the latest model of your favorite car, drive it around town for a year, and then return it just in time to sign another one-year car lease for the next model update.

You’d never have to worry about wear and tear or routine maintenance because you’ll always have a new car at your fingertips. Not to mention you’d also get all the latest technology and gadgets without having to clear out your savings account for a huge down payment.

Unfortunately, one-year car leases just aren’t a thing. Most dealers aren’t willing to loan you a car for such a short period of time because they won’t make enough money off it. That being said, there are a few short-term lease alternatives that can help you find the car you want for as short or as long as you’d like.

How Long Are Car Leases?

In most cases, a standard car lease is 36 or 39 months. This three-year term often offers the most affordability for the customer as well as the biggest profit for the dealer. However, car leases can be as short as two years and as long as five years. The length of the lease all depends on how often you want to switch up your car as well as what you can afford.

How Much Do Car Leases Cost?

After an initial down payment, you’ll pay a monthly sum for the right to drive the car for the specified term. Usually, this monthly payment is less than the monthly payment for purchasing the car outright. In most cases, the shorter the lease, the higher the payment. In many cases, the high cost of a short-term lease is what makes these yearly leases so rare — it’s just not affordable.

However, the monthly payment is just the tip of the iceberg. You’ll also need to factor in other associated costs. For example, car leases aren’t offered with insurance, so you’ll need to get your own plan. While liability coverage is a must, you’ll also need collision and comprehensive coverage so you won’t be held responsible for the bill if you damage the car.

Alternatives to a One-Year Car Lease

All of this said, there are a few ways you can drive a car for only a year without buying one outright. In fact, there are three main alternatives to consider: taking over someone else’s lease, getting a long-term car rental, or choosing a car subscription service like Canvas.

Taking Over Another Lease

If you can’t get a one-year lease right from the dealer, why not try finding one from an individual? In many cases, people who sign three-year leases don’t want to finish out the term. Maybe they are moving to a new location, can’t afford the monthly payments, or just really aren’t a fan of the car they’ve chosen. Whatever the case, you can take advantage of their woes by transferring their lease to your name.

This is actually a great option because it allows you to skip the original down payment. However, you’ll have to pay whatever the monthly payment was they originally negotiated — so if it was too high for them, it might also be too high for you. Additionally, since most leased cars have a limit of 12,000 miles per year, if the previous driver went above that, you could end up being charged for their overage. Most leases stipulate a charge of $0.15 per mile that’s over the limit, which can quickly add up.

Getting a Long-Term Rental

Another option to is getting a long-term car rental. While the prices are cheaper than what you’d pay for a daily or weekly car rental, they can still be quite pricey in the long run.

Two of the only advantages of this option are that you might not have any mileage restrictions and you may be able to switch out your car at some point during your rental. You’ll definitely pay for these perks with a higher monthly cost.

Getting a Car Subscription From Canvas

Sure, taking over a lease or getting a long-term rental are fine options, but they have their downsides. If you want a solution that won’t break the bank or come with surprise charges, consider the car rental alternative with Canvas.

Canvas is a car service with insurance that allows you to control the terms of your lease. As a car subscription service, Canvas lets you make monthly payments for your car that differ depending on the term length you stipulate. Term lengths vary from three months to one year, and the longer your term is, the cheaper your payment. You also get 500 miles free every month, but you can upgrade to higher mileage plans if you’re a real road warrior.

The best part of Canvas is that everything you need is included in that one monthly sum. You won’t need to carry a separate insurance policy or sign up for a roadside assistance plan, as your subscription will cover it all. It truly takes the hassle out of driving a car.

While One-Year Car Leases Don’t Exist, You Have Plenty of Alternatives

We’ve settled the fact that one-year car leases are pretty rare, but now you know that there are plenty of alternative options out there for you to choose from. While taking over another person’s lease or getting a long-term car rental might work, your best bet is to try out a car subscription from Canvas.

Want to learn more about the advantages of Canvas? Peruse our massive selection of cars or check out our FAQ section to get the answers to your most pressing questions.