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What Happens If You Crash a Leased Car?

We hope you’re reading this out of curiosity. But if ‘what if I crash my leased car?’ is no longer a hypothetical for you, hang in there – we’ve got you covered.

You’re not the first person with a leased car to be involved in a crash. Truthfully – unlike other aspects of leasing – managing a crash in a leased car isn’t that much more complicated than dealing with a crash in a car you own. Manufacturers, dealerships, and insurance companies like to have their bases covered, and they know things like this happen. Luckily for you, this means the procedure for handling a crash in your leased car should be clearly mapped out.

Picture of a silver car that's been in a bad car accident. Text says "What should you do if you crash a leased car?"

Let’s say you just got into an accident in your leased car.

Step 1: Check yourself & any other passengers/drivers involved for injury. Get medical assistance as needed.
Step 2: Check the crash site & collect information.

If you can, take pictures and video of the crash site, the vehicles involved, and any damage. Make sure to exchange insurance information with the other driver(s) if applicable.

Step 3: Tell your dealership/leasing company about the accident & review lease guidelines for instructions.

We’re walking you through the general steps of this process and (throwing in a few tips and tricks), but make sure to consult your lease agreement and check with your dealership to confirm their exact instructions.

Most lease agreements require that you report an incident in the vehicle shortly after the accident (usually 24-48 hours).

Step 4: Call your insurance company.

Handle this as you normally would – just make sure to provide any information about the lease as requested.

Step 5: Cooperate with the insurance claims process & complete repairs.

Depending on the insurance company’s assessment, you’ll be responsible for arranging any repairs to the car. If it’s not considered a total loss, you’ll need to get the car repaired through a shop that your dealership or lease agreement approves. This is super important – although it may be more of a pain to work within these constraints, if you don’t go by-the-book you may be charged for the damage/repairs again at the end of your lease as well.

What if the car's totaled?

If the car is totaled, you’ll be on-the-hook for the remaining lease payments, but this may not be as bad as it sounds – if you have the right coverage. (If you’re one of the lucky people reading this for fun, pay attention here!) When you leased your car, you may have been encouraged - or required - to get GAP insurance. If your car is totaled, this is what’ll save you. Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP) insurance covers the difference between what you may owe on the car and its current value if your car is totaled. It picks up where regular insurance plans stop coverage. 

Picture of two toy cars in a fake "crash" with a magnifying glass next to them. Text says "How does an accident affect a car lease?"

Answer: It really doesn’t. If the car is repairable, you’ll need to get it fixed in accordance with dealership/lease agreement guidelines. If it’s totaled, you’ll need to either exercise your GAP insurance or keep paying the remaining lease payments. Any damages covering the car would be paid to the leasing company, since they technically own the vehicle, but anything beyond that (i.e. to cover medical bills if you were injured) would go to you.

Basically, you’ll need to handle it like a crash in a car you own, just with a few extra steps to make sure you’re in line with your agreement.

Picture of two toy cars in a fake "crash" next to two mini wrenches. Text says "Lease End can help."

You may be wondering how exactly we can help, given that we’re not lawyers or your dealer’s pre-approved mechanic shop. Here’s the thing – even if you deal with your crash by-the-book, you may have some reservations about handling your lease turn-in. Maybe there’s a few remaining dents and dings on the car that you’re worried will cost you in wear-and-tear fees. Or maybe you went ahead and got your car repaired before you knew your lease agreement had restrictions.

Don’t sweat it. If you buy your car out with Lease End, you can end your lease and keep the car without the hassle of a dealership inspection and any fees that may lead to. Seriously – since you’re keeping the vehicle for yourself (or buying it to re-sell later on), no inspection is required to buy your car out with Lease End. To get started, call us at (844) 902-2842, visit us at, or enter your license plate number below.

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