How long do I have to keep my company car? The options explained

If you like your fleet car, all well and good – but what if you don’t? How long will you be stuck with it? Here we explain your options if you want to change your company car early.....

Darren Moss holding a clock in a Honda Jazz

Company cars are categorised as perks because you can use them in both your working and personal lives. But what if you’ve got one and simply don’t get along with it?

Maybe the car doesn’t suit your lifestyle, or after taking delivery you’ve found that the driver’s seat induces backache. There can be numerous reasons why a fleet vehicle ends up being not quite all it's cracked up to be. So how long will you be stuck with it?

Well, the short answer is that if it's covered by a BCH agreement you’ll have the car for the length of the contract your employer has with the leasing company, so it’ll pay to check the paperwork. A contract is binding on both parties, after all.

However, in reality, you might be able to negotiate with your fleet manager to change vehicles with another employee mid-way through the contract – although there will be hoops to jump through regarding different BIK taxation.

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Can I cancel a personal lease?

Matters are even less flexible when it comes to a personal car hire agreement. When you sign up with PCH, you’re making a legal commitment to retain the vehicle for the length of time specified in the contract, and to make the agreed payments throughout.

The amount you pay each month depends on the type of vehicle you want, the amount of deposit you’ve put down and how long the contract is due to run. The contract term is usually described as, for example, "3 + 35", which indicates that you’ve put down a deposit of three months’ payments, and will pay the rest over 35 months.

Getting out of such an agreement is liable to cost you dearly in early termination fees, so you’ll need to get in touch with your lease provider to find out what its policy is. Do not simply stop payments.

Read more: Is PCH or BCH better for a company car fleet?

How long do I have to keep a fleet car? – Conclusion

In short, you’ve agreed to the fleet car so in most case you'll need to keep it for the length of the agreement. If you’re part of a large organisation, there might be room for negotiation with your employer, but if you’ve signed up to a personal lease agreement, termination charges will apply.

Read more: Is it worth having a company car?

Read more fleet and company car advice

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