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Zipcar is a car sharing service that is a great way to travel without owning your own car. It offers an easily accessible counter-free alternative to renting a car and removes the usual hassle, responsibility, and expense of owning your own vehicle. We will take a look at just how easy it is to rent Zipcar for a week.
How To Rent Zipcar For A Week:
- Make Sure You Are Eligible To Rent Zipcar
- Download The App
- Set Up Your Account
- Choose Your Membership
- Choose And Book A Vehicle
- Collect Your Vehicle And Enjoy Your Trip
- Return The Vehicle To Its Zipcar Location
1. Make Sure You Are Eligible To Rent Zipcar
You will first need to ensure you are eligible to apply for a Zipcar account. Zipcar requires drivers to be over 21 years of age. If you live in Maryland, New York, or Michigan, you need only be over 18 years of age. The same goes for if you wish you open a student account.
Applicants for a Zipcar account must have a valid driver's license, and non-US licenses may require additional documentation. Temporary licenses are not accepted.
Drivers must have a clean driving record, as any incidents or traffic violations may lead to the rejection of your membership application.
Applicants will also need a credit card for payment.
2. Download The App
Zipcar has a great user-friendly app that you can download to your smartphone. Available on both iPhone® and Android™, the app is the easiest way to make a car booking. The app will additionally work as your car locator and car key. You will need to enable your location and Bluetooth services for access to the car.
Once the app is downloaded, it's a very simple process to setting up your account and booking your rental vehicle, and the best part is that are no queues.
3. Set Up Your Account
A few account options are available: a personal or family account, a business account, and a university account. The business and university accounts are tailor-made to accommodate the needs of businesses and students and have fees that reflect those.
The initial account setup fee is $25, which is non-refundable. The app will verify your driver's license, and most applications are approved within a few minutes.
Once your account is approved, a Zipcard will be sent to your residential address (no Zipcard?)– this card will be activated to be used to open any Zipcar vehicle that you may book in the future. While waiting for your card, you will still have instant vehicle access via the Zipcar app.
4. Choose Your Membership
We will focus on the standard personal or family account option as we are looking at how to rent Zipcar for 1 week (see multiple days here). This account offers two membership options in the US. These options are a monthly membership which costs $9 a month, and an annual membership which costs $90 a year.
If you are only planning to use Zipcar once off for a week, then the monthly option is your best bet price-wise. However, if you see yourself renting more often, the yearly membership may be advisable.
Both membership options include the following:
- Gas for all trips.
- 180 miles (additional mileage over 180 miles is charged at $0.58/ mile).
- 24/7 roadside assistance.
- Secondary insurance on all your trips.
5. Choose And Book A Vehicle
Once you know where you wish to start your trip, you can search the area for Zipcar locations near you via the app.
You can opt for several cars with differing driving rates. The platform offers round-trip bookings where drivers collect their vehicles from conveniently located collection points and return them to the same point at the end of the trip.
Minimum driving rates vary from city to city and car to car, but you will be looking at minimum charges in the region of $9.50 to $11 an hour and from around $79 to $91.50 a day. Note that these rates are estimates and may vary depending on your chosen vehicle, availability, and other possible factors.
It is important to be aware that there are several fees that are not included in the driving rates or membership fees.
Toll fees and regional taxes will be deducted once they have been calculated after your trip. Any traffic violations are payable by the driver, and Zipcar will charge an additional $30 processing amount. There are also several fees that will apply in the case of lost Zipcards or keys.
Late fees start at $50 an hour to a maximum of $150. The usual hourly rate fee will also be added for any additional hours. Cars should be kept clean, and smoking is a violation that will incur a cleaning fee of $50.
Drivers younger than 24 will also incur an additional young driver fee.
The booking process will provide you with an estimated cost of your trip. Cancellation and changing fees are free provided your trip is canceled within 30 minutes of booking, and if changes occur no less than 3 hours before the anticipated start time for trips that will last for less than 8 hours, and at least 24 hours before trips that will be longer than 8 hours.
Daily rates may be more cost-effective than hourly rates for a week's rental. Fortunately, the app calculator will make these calculations for you and always offer you the lowest rate.
6. Collect Your Vehicle And Enjoy Your Trip
As soon as you’ve booked your vehicle, you will receive its location and access to the vehicle via your smartphone. The app will even allow you to make the car honk or flash its lights to make it easier to find.
Zipcar vehicles have their keys left in the vehicle at all times, and your app or Zipcard can be used to unlock the car.
7. Return The Vehicle To Its ZipCar Location
At the end of your week, you simply return the vehicle to the same location you collected it from. The keys should be removed from the ignition, and the car should then be locked using either the Zipcard or the app.
Cars should be returned with at least a ¼ tank of gas, or a $30 fuel charge will apply. The Zipcar should be kept as clean as when you first picked it up.
Once the car is locked, all you need do is open the app, head to the drive function and click end trip.