Pros and Cons of Vehicle Subscription Services

We’re living in an era in which virtually anything is available by subscription—clothing, meal kits, even specially-curated dog treat boxes. But have you ever considered using a subscription service for your car?

Vehicle subscription services from multiple auto manufacturers and third-party companies have come onto the scene in recent years, designed to be a convenient, hassle-free alternative to owning a car. With one monthly payment, qualified drivers can get their choice of a range of vehicles (and the ability to swap them out), along with insurance coverage, routine maintenance, and other amenities. The flexibility of a car subscription program is appealing to many drivers who need a long-term rental option or don’t want to be locked into a years-long contract.

Wondering if a vehicle subscription service is the right fit for you? Here’s everything you need to know.

Pros: what we love about vehicle subscription services.

1. Flex that fits your life. One of the major advantages of a vehicle subscription program is the flexibility it offers. With almost all of these programs, you can choose from a variety of vehicle types, and swap out cars every couple weeks or so. Whether you want a fuel-efficient model for your daily commute, need an SUV with more cargo space for a few weeks, or want to test drive an electric vehicle for a while, a subscription service gives you the unique ability to choose the exact vehicle that fits your changing needs. No long-term commitments, no buyer’s remorse.

2. One monthly payment. Between car insurance, registration, and maintenance, car ownership can be a major hassle. Subscription services handle all of that for you. Everything except the gas is covered in a single monthly payment. Even better, your subscription often includes other amenities such as roadside assistance or, in the case of Subscribe with Mike Albert, a personal concierge to deliver the car to your door.

3. More affordable than a long-term rental. Because the monthly payment includes insurance and other costs, a subscription service is often more affordable than a long-term car rental, making it a great option for longer business trips. Plus, you may get more control over the type of vehicle you drive. Oftentimes, a subscription service allows you to select the exact make and model of your car, not just a general sedan or SUV.

4. No long-term commitment. Most car subscription programs have shorter terms than a standard loan or lease—often month-to-month—so you’re not locked into a contract that lasts one to seven years. And if your needs change, you can typically pause or cancel your subscription easily.

Cons: what to keep in mind.

1. Mileage restrictions. Most subscription programs have some limitations on the car’s usage, which means going over your allotted mileage could lead to extra costs. If you travel for work or take a lot of road trips, mileage caps are something to consider.

2. Firm price. When buying a car, you can often haggle with the dealership to lower the overall price or monthly payment down to your liking. Vehicle subscriptions, on the other hand, are a flat but firm price that you can’t negotiate.

3. Other limitations. Rules and restrictions vary from program to program, but some subscription services may impose certain constraints like the number of approved drivers or a no-pets policy. Drivers should make sure their selected service fits their lifestyle before signing up.

Every driver’s needs are different, but if you crave flexibility and simplicity when it comes to having a car, a vehicle subscription service could be the perfect fit for you. Interested in becoming a member? Visit our "Getting Started" page to join!