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If you’re in the market for a new car, there’s another bigquestion to answer other than simply what type of vehicle you arelooking for – is it better to own or lease? The better answer tothat question depends on who you ask, as both offer uniquebenefits.

Some drivers consider owning a vehicle to be the only option, asthe prospect of eventually paying off their car loan and owning thevehicle outright is intriguing. However, since cars aren’t likehomes, and most lose value quickly during the period of ownership,leasing can also be an enticing option for those who enjoy drivingthe newest model.

During the average term of a lease (three years in many cases),the cost of leasing a newer vehicle can be pretty comparable to thecost of ownership during the same period. Leasing can be a goodoption for those looking for less commitment and the simplicity ofsigning another lease for a newer car once the lease expires.

Since terms of leases vary across the board, many people whohaven’t leased a vehicle aren’t sure how it works. Here are a fewthings to keep in mind if you are considering leasing avehicle:

* Your negotiating power when leasing a car is just as powerfulas when buying, so after choosing the vehicle you like, ask aroundabout different lease options. For example, if you decide that youwant to lease a Nissan Maxima, contact each local Nissan dealer and ask for aquote containing the terms of the lease for that vehicle. You canthen compare quotes, and when you get the deal you like, ask theother dealers if they can beat the best offer.

* Not all lease terms are created equal. Be sure to ask yoursalesperson to clearly state the terms of each lease so you canfairly compare them with one another. Make sure you clearlyunderstand the terms of any warranty offered or requiredmaintenance schedule, so you can avoid any unexpected costs downthe line. The car experts at recommend a three-year lease because maintenanceissues are more likely to appear once a car is older than threeyears.

* Pay special attention to mileage limits on any lease. Moststandard leases carry a 12,000 mile-per-year limit, so if you knowyou’ll be driving more than that, you’ll want to negotiate a bettermileage rate than the standard rate charge once you exceed yourlimit. If you’re unsure of how much you drive, measure over aone-month or three-month period of your usual driving load andmultiply to get an estimate for a year.

* Discuss insurance options with both your dealer and insuranceagent and factor these costs into your car budget. Whether you’rebuying or leasing a car, it’s a good idea to check on whether youmight need gap insurance, which ensures that you’re not on the hookfor more money that your insurance company would give you if yourcar were totaled.

Leasing can be a great option for individuals who want to drivea newer car and are looking for cost-certainty from month to month.By examining the benefits of buying versus the benefits of leasinga vehicle, you can determine the option that’s best for you.