A person driving a leased car with the sun shining through the windshield.

At what age can you lease a car?

Age restrictions in car leasing.
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  • In the UK, individuals can legally start driving at 17, but must be at least 18 to lease a car, as car lease is a legally binding credit agreement.
  • There is no upper age limit for leasing a car in the UK, but applicants must meet certain criteria and provide necessary documentation.
  • Age restrictions for car subscriptions typically start at 25 years, and providers usually require a driving license held for at least three years.
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If you're considering leasing a car, you might wonder how your age influences the process. Whether you're a young driver at 17 or a seasoned motorist at 70, it's natural to have questions about your eligibility.

At what age can you start leasing a car?

In the UK, while you can legally get behind the wheel at 17, you must be at least 18 to lease a car. This is because a car lease is a legally binding credit agreement. 

Since 1969, the legal age for entering into such contracts in the UK has been 18. Those under 18 are considered minors and are generally prohibited from signing legally binding contracts unless deemed 'necessary', such as those related to apprenticeships, employment, education, and services that benefit the minor.

Once you reach 18, other criteria come into play for leasing a car. These include holding a full UK driving licence (provisional licences are not accepted), having a good to excellent credit score, and demonstrating a steady income that can cover the monthly lease payments.

Share of full car driving license holders among all adults in England in between 1975 and 2019, by age
Statista: Share of full car driving license holders among all adults in England by age (1975-2019)

Is there an upper age limit for leasing a car?

Contrary to what some might think, leasing a car in the UK has no upper age limit. However, applicants must meet certain criteria and provide the necessary documentation, including a full UK driving licence, proof of address, and proof of income.

Retired individuals might face challenges when trying to secure a car lease due to the absence of a regular income. Lenders often scrutinise the financial situation of retired applicants, with income being a significant factor in assessing financial stability.

However, as a retiree, you may have a better chance of subscribing to a car rather than leasing or buying. 

Here’s how some of the best subscription providers stack up in terms of age restrictions:

  • Onto - drivers must be aged between 25 to 85 years.
  • elmo - no maximum age restriction.
  • Care By Volvo - no maximum age restriction.

You can learn more about subscribing while retired here.

Does age impact car leasing?

While your age doesn't directly influence your eligibility to lease a car if you're over 18, it's considered during your lease application. When assessing your affordability and ability to repay the lease, finance providers may factor in your age.

Young drivers, often with little or no credit history, may find getting approved for car leasing more challenging. Lenders generally prefer borrowers with an established credit history, which helps them assess the debt repayment risk. Additionally, younger drivers often need a steady income, which could affect their ability to make regular payments.

Similarly, older drivers, particularly those who are retired, may need help securing car leasing finance. The absence of a regular wage can make lenders wary, as it could increase the risk of non-payment. However, it's important to remember that lenders don't base their decisions solely on age. Other factors, such as timely payment history and existing debts, are also considered.

The leasing market is booming despite the economic uncertainty

In 2022, the average amount borrowed by new car buyers significantly increased to £25,325, a rise from £23,746 in 2021, according to Finance & Leasing Association (FLA) data. 

This figure is more than double the average debt incurred in 2019, which stood at around £12,000, marking a substantial increase over 13 years. 

Meanwhile, those purchasing used cars also saw an increase in their average debt, reaching £15,475 in 2022, up from £14,113 in the previous year, as per the FLA's data.

What about age and car subscriptions?

Age restrictions for car subscriptions can vary greatly depending on the provider. Typically, the minimum age to subscribe to a car is 25 years, following the standard rental car age requirements. This is due to insurance purposes, as drivers under this age are considered high-risk. Vehicle subscription providers would also expect drivers to have had their license for at least three years. Some of these rules may also apply to short-term vehicle leasing.

Some services may impose an upper age limit, often around 70 or 75 years. However, there may be exceptions to these restrictions with additional fees or requirements, such as a clean driving record. 

It's crucial to carefully read the terms and conditions of each car subscription service, as these details can vary.

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