Subscribe 101: A Guide to Vehicle Subscription

If you own a car, you know how much time goes into researching and purchasing a vehicle. Dozens of considerations factor into identifying the vehicle that perfectly suits your lifestyle and your budget, from the size of your family and how many miles you drive for work to weighing the pros and cons of a sedan versus an SUV. Even after you’ve decided what make and model is best for you, you still need to consider which features are a must, such as a Bluetooth stereo or a backup camera, and which are just nice to have, like a heated steering wheel.

But no matter how seemingly “perfect” your car is, there are probably moments you wish you could have a new ride from time to time. Something with all-wheel drive during the icy months, for instance, or perhaps an electric vehicle when gas prices get a little too high for your liking. Wouldn’t it be nice to have the option to swap out your vehicle when you need one with more room, or just get the itch to try something different?

This flexibility isn’t a pipe dream anymore—it’s a reality, thanks to the emergence of vehicle subscription services. A convenient alternative to buying or leasing, a vehicle subscription service can be used like an extended car rental or a way to switch up your vehicle in response to lifestyle changes—all on a month-to-month payment basis.

What is a vehicle subscription service?

As things in your life change, it makes sense that you may need to change your ride as well. Vehicle subscription services were developed in response to this need, with several automakers and third-party companies adding subscription programs to their offerings. This sort of program is uniquely suited for those who need a car to get around but aren’t necessarily interested in ownership—like an employee on relocation who wants an affordable, long-term car rental, or a car enthusiast who wants the flexibility of driving a few different models.

Additionally, a vehicle subscription service can simplify all the financial aspects of owning a car. Vehicle subscribers make just one, all-inclusive monthly payment—no need to pay separately for your lease or loan, insurance premiums, and registration fees. That monthly fee even covers the costs of maintenance and repairs. With Subscribe with Mike Albert, for instance, the monthly payment includes the vehicle of your choice as well as a full coverage insurance policy, routine vehicle maintenance, and access to roadside assistance (not to mention a personal concierge to deliver your car).

How does a car subscription service work?

While each company's vehicle subscription is a little different, the process, in general, is surprisingly simple—make one monthly payment and get a vehicle that suits your needs, along with insurance coverage, maintenance services, and other amenities. You will need a clean driving record to register, along with a valid driver’s license. From there, you can select your preferred plan or vehicle based on your lifestyle and driving habits. Subscribe with Mike Albert, for example, offers four different mileage tiers and the option of sedans, mid-size SUVs, large SUVs, luxury vehicles and even highly sought-after electric vehicles like the Tesla Model 3.

You should consider several factors when selecting a subscription plan that works for you, including the number of passengers that will typically be in the car, the length of your daily commute, and the typical weather and road conditions you’ll be driving in. But that’s where the work usually stops for you. The subscription provider takes care of everything else, handling insurance and routine maintenance.

For most subscribers, the most appealing part of a vehicle subscription service is the flexibility to swap out a vehicle for something different, depending on their needs—and the ability to cancel the service without any drama. For instance, Subscribe with Mike Albert lets drivers swap out their vehicle every two weeks for a small fee, or every month for free. They also have the option to upgrade, cancel, or pause their plan as their lifestyles demand, with no worries about breaking a contract.

“The perfect car.”

If your “perfect car” is actually a few different cars, a vehicle subscription service might be just the right fit for you. The flexibility and simplicity of this sort of service can be especially useful if your needs and driving habits tend to shift on a regular basis. In a time when you can get everything from movies to meals delivered by subscription, why not do the same with your personal vehicle?

Interested in learning more about the power of a vehicle subscription service? Learn more on our "Getting Started" page.