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Want to know what Zipcar car sharing is and how it works? As more people opt for public transport and share car companies for their daily commute, Zipcar is becoming increasingly popular worldwide. However, if you haven't heard of Zipcar before and are interested in using it, you might wonder how it works.

Zipcar is an easy and affordable car rental company. To access a Zipcar, you must first create a profile on the Zipcar website and wait for the approval. Then, when you are accepted as a Zipcar member, you can reserve a car at any time and use it to commute while paying a monthly membership fee.

As is understandable, you probably have many questions about what exactly Zipcar is, how it works, and what you must do to get access to one of these cars. We've put together this simple overview to help you understand exactly what to expect from Zipcar. We'll discuss everything you should know about a Zipcar, from the membership to the insurance coverage and more. 

What Is the Zipcar company?

Zipcar is a share car company that started in 2000 in Massachusetts. Now, you can find a Zipcar in over 400 cities in America. There are also Zipcars in Canada, Turkey, Taiwan, Spain, France, and the United Kingdom.

Zipcar's basic idea is to sign on to become a member. You then pay a monthly fee and have access to any Zipcar you choose, which you reserve and use for a selected period. Then, you return the car to where you picked it up, and you're done.  

What Is A Zipcar vehicle?

A Zipcar is just the car you actually get when using Zipcar. It's similar to getting a rental car, where you can have options for different types of cars depending on where you are located and the local availability.

What Do You Need To Become A Zipcar Member?

As you need a membership to access this service, you might wonder what is needed to become a member. First, you must be older than 21. However, you can join Zipcar when you are 18 or older. In this case, you will apply as a college student.

You also require a valid driver's license and a clean driving record to apply for a Zipcar membership. To apply, simply follow this link, select your plan, select your subscription plan, and submit your application. You should be notified whether you are accepted or not within a day or two. Then, you will receive a Zipcar card that you can use to access your Zipcar (or do this without a Zipcard).  

What is the fee for a zipcar membership?

You have a choice between an annual or monthly membership. The exact price of the membership fee depends on your location. For example, a monthly membership in Washington costs $8, while a Zipcar annual fee costs $80. You can pay for your Zipcar membership using a credit or debit card.

In addition to the fee for the membership, you also pay an hourly or daily rate each time you reserve a Zipcar. This rate depends on the type of car you choose (compact cars, vans, premium/luxury vehicles). You can expect to pay about $11 per hour if you are using the vehicle for just a few hours, or $92 per day for a compact car in Washington.

This price is limited to 180 miles of driving per day. If you plan on driving more than that, you will pay an additional $0.58 per mile.

Do You Need To Return A Zipcar To Its Original Place?

Each Zipcar has a home location. When you want to reserve a Zipcar, your Zipcar app will show you all the available Zipcars in your area and where to find them. You can then go to the selected location and access your Zipcar.

Because of how the Zipcar system works, you must return the car to its home location when you finish using it. Penalty fees will apply if you fail to return the Zipcar to its original place. Remember to scan your card to avoid late fees when you have finished your trip.

Do You need to Pay For Gas While using Zipcar?

Fortunately, gas is included in your fee for the membership. Therefore, you can use the fuel card in the Zipcar's glovebox to fill the car up. You must ensure that at least a ¼ tank of fuel is left in the car when you return it.

Do You Need to have Your Zipcar Card To Access The Zipcar?

You will receive a card within 3 to 7 days to access your reserved car when you are approved as a Zipcar member. However, if you don't have your card with you, you can also access the car via your Zipcar mobile app.

Can You Extend Your booking while using zipcar?

You can extend your Zipcar reservation, provided nobody else reserved the car for the following period. You can see your car's availability on the Zipcar app. You cannot extend your Zipcar reservations if someone has reserved the Zipcar for the following period. However, you may reserve another car for that time.

Are There Any Fees If You Return Your Zipcar Late?

Because other people also have access to reserve the car you are driving; late fees are added to your Zipcar account if you don't return the Zipcar to its original place at the scheduled time. A fee of $50 per hour is charged if you return the car late. In addition, you must also pay for the car’s hire for the additional time you used it.

Furthermore, there is a $30 penalty fee if you don’t leave the car with at least ¼ tank of fuel. When you finish your trip, you will also pay a $139 penalty if you fail to return the Zipcar to its home location (or a different one). Other fees also apply. See here for a list of the additional fees you may need to pay at Zipcar.

Does A Zipcar Come With Insurance?

Because driving a car is a big responsibility, you might wonder if your Zipcar comes with insurance. Fortunately, your membership fee includes the following insurance:

  • $300 000 insurance for bodily injury
  • $25 000 insurance for property damage
  • $100 000 insurance for liability coverage

You will be expected to pay $1000 for any damages you cause to the Zipcar while driving. In addition, you are responsible for leaving the Zipcar clean and in the same order as you received it.

What If Your Zipcar Is Damaged When You Get It?

Before getting into your Zipcar, check the car to see if there are any damages. If you notice any damages bigger than your Zipcar card's size, call the number on the card to report the damages. If you don't, you may be held accountable for those damages and will be expected to pay a fee.

Can You Bring your furry friends In A Zipcar?

When it comes to Zipcar rules, pets are one thing people ask about often. You can travel with pets in your Zipcar if they are safely placed in their travel cages. In addition, you must ensure that all pet hair is removed from the car before returning it. Service animals aren't required to be kept in a cage. However, the same rule applies to their hair.

other Zipcar Questions?

Do you have any more Zipcar questions? Check out my other articles on Zipcar here.


Zipcar is an easy and convenient carshare (vs rideshare) company that allows you to reserve and rent a car within your location. To use Zipcar’s services, you must first sign on to be a member. Then, pay a monthly fee to access the cars. In addition, you will pay an hourly or daily fee to rent the car.

When you have finished using your Zipcar, you must return it to its home location. Failure to comply with Zipcar’s rules will result in penalty fees.