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Car Subscriptions: The Complete Guide

Car Subscriptions: The Complete Guide

Car subscriptions are a new way to get a car. They differ from car rentals, car leasing, or buying in some important ways.


We’ve written this complete guide to explain the ins and outs of car subscriptions, how they compare to other options and everything else you need to know to figure out if a car subscription is right for you.

What is a car subscription?

Car subscriptions are a new, flexible alternative to leasing or buying a car. Car subscriptions offer a no-commitment, loan-free way to get a car for as long as you need.


There is no long-term contract to sign or commitment to make. There is also no financing or leasing involved. You simply pay a monthly fee for as long as you have the car. Car subscriptions often come with some additional perks and benefits included, like auto insurance, giving you everything you need to drive for as long as you need.

What’s included in a car subscription?

Typically, a car subscription will come with a number of items bundled into a single monthly payment, such as:


  • Auto insurance
  • Routine maintenance like oil changes and brake replacements
  • Roadside assistance

By bundling these items into a single plan, car subscriptions take away a lot of the headache and hassle from the car ownership experience.

Other perks and benefits of a car subscription

Car subscriptions come with other perks and benefits as well.


Get your car delivered

Some car subscription companies, like Roam, provide valet delivery and pickup, so you don’t have to leave your house or office to receive or return your car.


Switch your car

Because car subscriptions are flexible, you can drive one car brand or model for a few months, and then switch to another. This offers a number of benefits:


  • You can test drive as many cars as you like for extended periods of time
  • You can switch from a sleek sedan in the summer to an SUV in the winter
  • You can switch to a larger vehicle for road-tripping or when your family is visiting

The flexibility to switch from one car to another makes car subscriptions unique when compared to leasing or buying a car.

Who should get a car subscription?

There are many ways to get a car. Whether a car subscription is right for you or not really depends on your situation, your preferences, and your lifestyle.


If you need a car for a few days or a few weeks, a short-term car rental is probably the best option for you. Most car subscription companies do not offer short-term, daily plans.


If you’re looking for the cheapest price and you’re comfortable committing to a single car long-term, leasing or buying a new or used car is a great option.


Car subscriptions are ideal for most other use cases, such as:


  • Needing a car for the summer but not the winter
  • Visiting a city for a few months for school or for work
  • An extended vacation in a new city or country
  • Need a car for the winter but not the summer
  • Needing a bigger car for family visits or road trips
  • A temporary work project that requires you to commute for a few months

Car subscriptions offer the flexibility to have a car only when you need it, for as long as you need it. And if you like the convenience of having insurance and other add-ons included so you don’t have to think about it, a car subscription is likely for you.

Car subscriptions vs. monthly car rentals: What’s the difference?

Car subscriptions often get called long-term car rentals. But there can be differences, depending on the companies providing the subscription or rental services.


Many car rental companies don’t include insurance or some of the other add-ons that come with a car subscription. So, you may have to organize these things yourself. Valet delivery and pickup are other perks that many car rental companies do not offer customers.

Car subscriptions vs. leasing a car: What’s the difference?

Leasing a new or used car can be a long-term commitment of many years. A car lease can also impact your ability to borrow money in the future, such as a mortgage to buy a home.


With a car subscription, there is no lease or financing involved. This simplifies the transaction for the customer. You simply pay an agreed-upon monthly payment, like a gym membership, for as long as you have the car.


If you’re a business, leasing a car can impact your ability to borrow money for other investments in your business, like machinery, computers, or other assets that will make your business more productive.

Car subscriptions vs. buying a car: What’s the difference?

Buying a new or used car without leasing or financing is a big up-front commitment of your money. You’re committed to a single vehicle unless you sell your car. Additionally, you’re on the hook for insurance, maintenance, the depreciation of the vehicle, and any other unexpected expenses.


If you’re a business, buying a car ties up a lot of the money you need to invest in other areas of your business.

Can I get a car subscription for my business?

Yes. Car subscriptions are a great option for businesses, for a number of reasons:


  • Because there is no financing or leasing involved, a business can get access to a car without impacting its ability to borrow money for other things.
  • Car subscriptions often include routine maintenance, so you don’t have to worry about the cost of repairs.
  • Car subscriptions often include insurance, so your business insurance plan is not impacted and your premiums will not change.
  • Running a business can be unpredictable. Car subscriptions allow you to scale up or scale down your fleet size as the needs of your business change. In a worse-case scenario, you can simply return the car.


How long do car subscriptions last?

Most car subscription companies offer flexible plans that allow you to customize how long you’d like to drive the car. Most plans start at 1 week or 1 month and go up from there. Car subscription companies like Roam make it easy to extend your subscription if you decide you want to keep the car for longer.

The pros and cons of car subscriptions

Car subscriptions have pros and cons, and they’re not ideal for every situation.

Pros of car subscriptions

  • They’re no-commitment so you can always return the car if you need to.
  • There is no leasing or financing involved.
  • You can switch your car more often.
  • They often include all the additional things you need to drive, like insurance, routine maintenance, and roadside assistance.
  • Some subscription companies provide valet delivery and pickup so you can get and return your car from your home or office.

Cons of car subscriptions

  • They can be slightly more expensive on a monthly basis than a long-term lease. But when you factor in all the add-ons, like insurance, your monthly payment may be comparable.
  • You don’t own the car.

Where can I get a car subscription?

Roam is a leader in car subscriptions, offering flexible monthly plans that include insurance, routine maintenance, and roadside assistance.

Browse Car Subscription Options
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