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Car Lease Payment Deferral: What You Need to Know


The anxiety of managing finances during tough times is all too real. When bills pile up and income feels stretched, deferring a car lease payment can offer a momentary breath of relief. But before you leap into this option, it's crucial to understand the implications fully. 

In this article, we'll walk you through the ins and outs of car lease payment deferral, shedding light on its benefits, potential pitfalls, and alternatives.  

Can I Defer a Car Lease Payment? 

A car lease payment deferral is an agreement between you and your leasing company to postpone one or more lease payments to a later date.  

Whether you can defer a car lease payment largely depends on your leasing company's policies and your specific circumstances. Many leasing companies offer deferral options for customers facing temporary financial hardship, such as job loss, illness, or other emergencies.  

However, it's crucial to contact your leasing company as soon as you anticipate difficulty making a payment. Some companies may require documentation or proof of hardship before approving a deferral. 

What Happens If I Defer a Payment? 

When you arrange to defer payments on your car lease, the lessor agrees to lower your monthly payment for a determined period. The reduction in payment could temporarily mean $0 or just a reduced amount.   

When you defer a car lease payment, the missed amount is typically added to the end of your lease term, extending the duration of your lease agreement.  

So while a deferral can provide short-term relief by easing immediate financial strain, deferring payments extends the overall duration of your lease, resulting in you paying more in the long run due to accrued interest and fees. 

What Happens if I Don’t Defer a Payment?  

If you opt for just missing your payment rather than communicating with the leasing company, there may be consequences for your credit. If you don’t arrange for a deferred payment and you miss one, your late payments will be reported to lending institutions, and your credit score can take a hit.  

When your credit score drops, it becomes harder to borrow. Offers for loans, credit, and future leasing options may come with less favorable terms, including higher interest rates. 

How Long Can I Defer a Car Lease Payment? 

The length of time you can defer a car lease payment varies depending on your leasing company's policies and your specific situation.  

Some companies may offer short-term deferral options, allowing you to skip one or two payments. Others may provide longer-term arrangements over several months for more significant financial challenges.  

Regardless, it's essential to communicate with your leasing company to explore available options and determine the best course of action. 

Pros and Cons

A deferral probably won’t be right for everyone. Use the lists below to think through both sides of the coin.

Pros_guyallows you to keep your car

Your car won't get repossessed due to late payments. 

provides temporary relief

Deferring a payment can provide temporary relief during financial difficulties, allowing you to allocate funds to more pressing needs. 

avoids default 

By working with your leasing company to defer payments, you can avoid defaulting on your lease, which could have more severe consequences, such as damage to your credit score. 

Cons_guyextends the lease term 

Deferring payments typically extends the duration of your lease agreement, resulting in a longer-term financial commitment. 

increases cost over time

Extending the lease time may result in paying more over the long run due to accrued interest and fees. 

depends on lease agreement

Every lease agreement is unique, so there may be limitations on your deferment options that make it harder to get the full benefit you aimed for. 

What to Do If You Can't Make Your Car Lease Payment 

If you find yourself unable to make your car lease payment after trying all of the usual tricks (and you have no more subscriptions left to cancel), consider the following alternative options: 

  • Contact your leasing company. Reach out to your leasing company as soon as possible to discuss your situation and explore potential solutions, such as payment deferral or restructuring. 
  • Explore assistance programs. Some leasing companies offer assistance programs for customers facing financial hardship. These programs may include temporary payment reductions, lease extensions, or other accommodations. 
  • Consider a lease buyout. Depending on your lease terms and financial situation, you may want to buy out your lease with Lease End if your lease term is ending in the next few months. This involves financing through one of our trusted partners like Ally and Capital One.  
  • Consider a lease transfer. Investigate the possibility of transferring your lease to another individual through a lease transfer platform. This option allows you to offload the lease responsibility to someone else while avoiding the need for payment deferral. 
  • Seek financial counseling. If you're experiencing ongoing financial difficulties, consider seeking assistance from a financial counselor or advisor who can help you explore your options and create a plan to manage your finances effectively. 
  • Sell or trade-in your vehicle. If maintaining your lease becomes unsustainable, consider selling or trading in your vehicle for a more affordable option. Downsizing to a cheaper car or switching to public transportation could provide significant savings in the long run. 

You might be in a tough situation, but you’ll get through this.  

By communicating openly with your leasing company and exploring available options, you can navigate the situation effectively and make informed decisions that align with your financial goals.  

If you’re in a position to buy out your lease so you can be making loan payments rather than lease payments, check out our monthly payment calculator to get an estimate of your new payment amount.  

To start the buyout process online, enter your VIN or license plate number.

If you want to chat through your options with an end-of-lease expert, give us a call at 888-307-5197.