Returning a Leased Car With Damage – Can You Do It?

2022 Lexus RX Front Grille


If you’re leasing a vehicle in the Belleair area, it’s important that you return it at the end of your lease term as close to the original condition as possible. Once your lease is up, a service technician will perform a detailed inspection to see if you’ve incurred any damage to the leased car. So what happens if you damage a leased car? Sometimes it’s unavoidable, and you might be wondering if you’re still able to return it. The short answer is yes! Returning a leased car with damage is possible, although there are caveats to be aware of.

While things like scratches on a leased car may not be a huge deal, more serious damage could result in repair-related charges that you have to pay to the dealership. You might be able to mitigate this by taking it upon yourself to have the vehicle repaired before returning it, or by speaking to your insurance policy. The service team at Lexus of Clearwater has more information on the process of returning a leased car with damage in the guide below.

What Happens if You Damage a Leased Car & Return It?

Regardless of what avenue you choose, damaging a leased car will result in you having to pay for repairs. As stated above, it’s essential that you return your lease in a condition as close to the original as possible–your lease agreement will likely stipulate this, along with what the dealership considers normal wear and tear versus more significant damage. It’s possible that your contract may allow for things like scratches on your leased car, or other minimal bits of damage that are considered normal. Double-check your lease agreement for specifics.

Be wary if you’ve heard that upgrading to a new vehicle after returning your lease waives or diminishes the fees for damaging the vehicle–this often simply isn’t true. Instead, the dealership will most likely roll over the repair cost into the new lease, so you’ll still be on the hook.

4 Tips On How To Return a Leased Car With Damage

If you’ve incurred damage on your lease over the course of your St. Petersburg rides, don’t despair–you have a few options you can take before returning the vehicle. These options could help you save some money in the long run, depending on your circumstances. We’ve boiled it down to four essential tips:

1. Work With Your Insurance

The first and most important thing you should do if you’ve significantly damaged your lease is to talk to your insurance company as soon as possible. Your policy may help protect you and cover some of the repair costs. You could also have GAP insurance as part of your lease agreement, which covers the difference between the value of the lease and what you still owe on it. However, be aware this isn’t a replacement for standard coverage.

2. Is It Covered Under Warranty?

Your lease will also most likely come with comprehensive warranty coverage, which could cover a significant amount of damage to your leased car. Review your warranty coverage or reach out to our finance team to see if you’re covered.

3. Repair With OEM Parts

You can elect to fix any damaged parts yourself before returning your leased vehicle if you want. If you go this route, just make sure that you’re using genuine OEM parts from a qualified service center. If you use aftermarket parts from an independent auto shop, this could be considered a violation of your lease agreement which will incur more fees or penalties.

4. Schedule a Pre-Lease Return Inspection

Although our Clearwater dealership will inspect your vehicle after you return your lease, you could schedule a pre-lease return inspection before your official return date. This could give you a better idea of what to expect in terms of damage-related fees.

Start a Lease Return at Lexus of Clearwater!

If you have any questions about returning your leased vehicle, with or without damage, feel free to contact our office anytime. You can also stop by our dealership near Palm Harbor if you want to talk to a service expert in person. If you need to schedule a repair for your vehicle and you’re interested in saving some money, we offer service specials updated all the time!

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