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Lease vs Buy Car Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

Updated On Oct 18, 2023

Car Insurance if You Lease vs. Buy

With the automotive landscape in India rapidly evolving, consumers now have flexible options for acquiring a vehicle, with leasing emerging as a viable alternative to buying. While both avenues come with their distinct set of advantages, the approach to car insurance also differs significantly. In this guide, we'll navigate through the intricacies of car insurance as it applies to leasing versus buying, offering a comprehensive understanding to assist in making an informed decision.

Lease vs Buy Car Insurance: Everything You Need to Know

How Does Car Leasing Work in India?

Car leasing is a financial arrangement where individuals can use a vehicle for a specified period without actually owning it. Here’s how it typically unfolds:

  1. Leasing Agreement: Individuals enter into a contract with a leasing company, which buys the vehicle from the dealer on their behalf. The lessee (individual using the car) agrees to make regular payments for the duration of the lease, which usually ranges between 2 to 5 years.
  2. Monthly Payments: The lessee is required to pay a fixed monthly amount to the leasing company. This payment covers the depreciation of the vehicle during the lease term, along with interest and service charges.
  3. Maintenance and Insurance: Often, leasing agreements include maintenance and insurance costs, providing a hassle-free experience to the lessee. However, this might not always be the case, and terms can vary from one provider to another.
  4. End of Lease: Once the lease term concludes, the individual has the option to buy the vehicle at a predetermined price, renew the lease, or simply return the car and opt for a new one.

Insurance for Leased Cars

Understanding car insurance for leased car: 

Insuring a leased car in India is slightly different from insuring a purchased vehicle due to the unique structure of leasing agreements. Below are crucial points to consider:

  1. Comprehensive Coverage: Leasing companies often require lessees to have comprehensive car insurance policies. This ensures that the vehicle is covered for damages due to accidents, theft, natural disasters, vandalism, and other unforeseen events. Since the leasing company technically owns the car, they want to ensure their asset is fully protected.
  2. Zero Depreciation Add-On: It’s highly recommended to opt for a zero depreciation add-on with the insurance policy for leased vehicles. This add-on ensures that depreciation isn't factored in during claim settlements, leading to higher claim amounts. It’s beneficial for leased cars as leasing companies might require the vehicle to be in excellent condition at the end of the lease term.
  3. Gap Insurance: This is a noteworthy consideration. In case the leased vehicle is totaled (i.e., repair costs are more than the car's value), there might be a ‘gap’ between the insurance payout and the amount you still owe to the leasing company. Gap insurance covers this difference, safeguarding you from out-of-pocket expenses.
  4. Bundled Insurance and Maintenance: Some leasing companies provide bundled packages that include both insurance and maintenance. In such cases, the lessee is free from the hassle of separately insuring the vehicle. However, it’s imperative to scrutinize the coverage details to ensure it meets your expectations and requirements.

Understanding the Fine Print

Lessees should carefully review the insurance clause in the leasing agreement to understand their responsibilities and the extent of coverage provided.

While the leasing company might arrange for the insurance, the lessee is often responsible for the premium payment, either directly or bundled within the monthly lease amount.

Why It Matters

Having appropriate insurance for leased cars is not only a contractual obligation but also a protective measure to shield against substantial financial liabilities in case of damages or accidents.

Since the lessee doesn’t own the vehicle, any negligence in insurance coverage might lead to serious financial repercussions, making it vital to be adequately insured throughout the lease term.

Understanding how insurance for leased cars functions is pivotal for individuals opting for this route to acquire a vehicle. With the right coverage in place, you can enjoy a worry-free driving experience, adhering to contractual obligations while also securing peace of mind on the road.

Additional Add-Ons in Rental Car Insurance

Leasing a car doesn’t just end at paying the monthly lease; you need to ensure that the vehicle is adequately insured to avoid potential financial pitfalls. While comprehensive insurance is the backbone of leased car protection, several add-ons or riders can enhance your coverage:

  1. Zero Depreciation Cover: As discussed, this add-on ensures that the depreciation value of the car is not deducted at the time of a claim. This means you receive the full claim amount, crucial for leased vehicles which need to be returned in excellent condition.
  2. Engine Protection Cover: Leased cars should be maintained meticulously. The engine protection cover is beneficial, especially if you reside in an area prone to waterlogging. It covers damages to the engine due to water ingress or oil leakage.
  3. Return to Invoice Cover: In case of total loss or theft of the leased vehicle, return to invoice add-on cover ensures that the insurance payout corresponds to the car’s invoice value rather than its depreciated value. It's particularly vital for leased cars since the leasing company might calculate the payable amount based on the invoice value.
  4. No Claim Bonus Protection: If you haven’t made any claims during the policy term, you are rewarded with a No Claim Bonus (NCB). With NCB protection, your bonus isn’t entirely lost even if you make a claim.
  5. Roadside Assistance Cover: For leased vehicles, having roadside assistance can be a boon. This service is invaluable in situations where the vehicle breaks down, and you need immediate assistance.

Making the Right Choice

While selecting add-ons, consider the usage, geography, and specific requirements of your leased vehicle. Not every add-on is necessary, so choose the ones that align with your needs and contractual obligations.

It’s also wise to understand the cost implications of these add-ons. While they offer enhanced protection, they also increase the premium. Strike a balance between cost and coverage to arrive at a plan that offers robust protection without being economically burdensome.

Car Insurance Lease vs Buy

Understanding the differences between insurance for leased and bought cars is essential. Below is a table illustrating the key distinctions:


Insurance for Leased Car

Insurance for Bought Car


Insurance is often in the name of the leasing company as they are the technical owners.

Insurance is in the name of the individual or entity that owns the car.

Policy Type Required

Typically requires comprehensive or full coverage policy due to the leasing company’s stipulations.

Owners have the flexibility to choose between third-party and comprehensive coverage based on their preferences and needs.

Premium Costs

Tends to be higher as it usually includes additional covers and add-ons mandated by the leasing company.

Can be lower if the owner opts for minimum coverage or skips on certain add-ons.

Policy Management

The leasing company might manage the policy, though the lessee is responsible for the cost.

The owner is responsible for purchasing, renewing, and managing the policy.


Leasing companies might require specific add-ons, leading to limited flexibility for the lessee.

Owners have the freedom to select add-ons based on their unique needs and concerns.

Claim Process

The lessee might need to coordinate with the leasing company during the claim process.

Owners directly deal with the insurance company for claims.

Things to Note when Buying Leased Car Insurance:

When you're in the market purchasing insurance for a leased car, attention to detail is crucial. Below are key points to consider:

  1. Leasing Company’s Requirements: Understand the insurance requirements stipulated by the leasing company. These firms usually have minimum coverage requirements, and adhering to these is non-negotiable.
  2. Understand Your Responsibilities: Scrutinize the lease agreement to know your responsibilities regarding insurance. It’s essential to know what aspects you need to cover personally and what falls under the purview of the leasing company.
  3. Review Coverage Options: Even within the parameters set by the leasing company, you might have options. Review these carefully to ensure you're not underinsured or overpaying.
  4. Compare Quotes: Premiums can vary between providers. Obtain quotes from different insurance companies and compare the coverage, premiums, and terms and conditions.
  5. Consider Additional Covers: Based on how you intend to use the vehicle, consider relevant add-ons for comprehensive protection.
  6. Stay Informed: Insurance terms can be confusing. If there are aspects you don't understand, seek clarification. Staying informed helps in making the best decision and also aids in smooth claim processing when required.

Final Thoughts

Insuring a leased car isn't daunting but does require careful consideration and understanding of the terms laid out by the leasing company. With careful planning and thoughtful consideration, you can secure an insurance policy that not only meets the mandatory requirements but also provides ample protection for you and the vehicle during the lease period.


  1. What type of insurance is required for leased cars?

   - Leased cars usually require comprehensive insurance coverage, as mandated by the leasing company, to protect their assets fully.

  1. Can I choose my own insurance for a leased car?

   - Yes, you can choose your insurance provider for a leased car, but the coverage must meet the leasing company's minimum requirements.

  1. Is insurance more expensive for leased cars?

   - Insurance for leased cars can be more expensive as it often requires comprehensive coverage and specific add-ons as stipulated by the leasing company.

  1. Do I need gap insurance for my leased car?

   - Gap insurance is advisable for leased cars as it covers the difference between the insurance payout and the amount still owed to the leasing company in case of total loss.

  1. Who pays for the insurance on a leased car?

   - The lessee (individual leasing the car) is responsible for paying the insurance premiums, either directly or as part of the monthly lease payment.

  1. What happens if my leased car is damaged?

   - In case of damage, you should report it to both the insurance company and the leasing company. After assessment, the insurance company will cover the repair costs as per your policy.

  1. Can I transfer my existing insurance to a leased car?

   - Insurance policies are vehicle-specific. While you can't transfer an existing policy, you can certainly cancel one and purchase a new policy for the leased vehicle.

  1. What add-ons should I consider for leased car insurance?

   - Consider add-ons like zero depreciation cover, engine protection, return to invoice, and No Claim Bonus protection for leased car insurance, depending on your needs and the vehicle’s usage.

  1. Do I need to renew insurance for the leased car myself?

   - Renewal responsibilities depend on your leasing agreement. Some leases include insurance, managed by the leasing company, while others require the lessee to handle renewals.

  1. What happens if I don’t adhere to the leasing company’s insurance requirements?

   - Failing to adhere to insurance requirements can result in penalties as outlined in your leasing agreement, and you may be liable for damages in case of inadequate coverage. Always ensure compliance with your lease's insurance stipulations.


This article is issued in the general public interest and meant for general information purposes only. Readers are advised not to rely on the contents of the article as conclusive in nature and should research further or consult an expert in this regard.
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