Select Page

Zipcar is a great alternative option to having your own car, relying on public transport, or using a service like Uber. However, many individuals still don't know if it will suit their specific needs or situation. Let's see if this car-sharing service is best for you.

Zipcar is worth it due to its low cost and affordable hourly rates if you plan to use it for a couple of hours at a time and a handful of times per week. However, traditional car rental companies and peer-to-peer car services like Turo may be better if you require a car for longer than a day. 

This article will go over the pros and cons of Zipcar as a service, going into detail on the benefits, how much it costs, when it is best to use this service, and what other options are available to you. If you are not quite sure whether Zipcar is a good choice for you as a student or cheaper than other car rental services to use for only a couple of hours a week, this article is for you.

Is Zipcar Worth It?

Zipcar is a terrific service if you want to use a car for an hour or two a day. The rates are cheap, they have cars in over 500 cities worldwide, you don't have to deal with customer service, and the entire process is easy, from signing up to booking a car and heading on your merry way. 

However, if you are looking for long-term rentals of a day or more, in that case, Zipcar may not be the best option as traditional car renting services and peer-to-peer renting services like Turo offer considerably less daily rates. 

What Is Zipcar, And How Does It Work?

Zipcar is a car-sharing service that offers membership plans (which differ in each country) through which you can find a car in your area, reserve it, and drive it without the hassle of going through typical car rental paperwork.

Booking a car is available through the app (available on Android or iPhone) or website once you have registered and been approved. Once you have reserved your car, you will find it in its designated Zipzone (where the car is located), where you can pick it up and drop it off once you are done driving it.

How Much Does Zipcar Cost?

U.S. residents have two membership options (monthly and annually). The monthly membership plan is $8 per month, while the annual plan is $80. Take note that both of these plans include driving rates of $11 per hour and $91.50 per day.

U.K. customers have a few more options, including the Basic, Smart, or Plus membership plans. The Basic plan is a £10 sign-up fee with no additional monthly. The driving rates are £8.50 an hour and £79 a day.

The Smart plan is £6 per month and has driving rates of £6.50 per hour and £59 per day. Lastly, the Plus membership plan will set U.K residents back £15 a month, and this plans driving rates are 5.50 per hour and £55 per day.

Is Zipcar Good For Long Trips?

You would perhaps be better off using a traditional car rental service or a peer-to-peer sharing service like Turo if you plan on needing a car for longer than a few hours (a day or more) based on Zipcar's daily rates.

There are only two Zipcar membership plans for U.S. residents, with both offering car rentals at $91.50 per day. With Turo offering car rentals starting at $25 daily and traditional car rental companies offering the same deal (in some cases better deals), it's easy to see which is the better offer. 

Consider additional fees you are subject to, like gas and liability insurance with these other rental companies, which Zipcar includes in their membership plans.

However, even though benefits are inclusive (and roadside assistance), in most cases, other rental companies still work out cheaper than Zipcar's daily rental rates. 

Moreover, Zipcar has a 180-mile limit on the number of miles you can cover in a single day (24 hours), and if you exceed this, you will be billed an additional $0.58 per mile aftward.

Is Zipcar Worth It For College Students?

Zipcar is a terrific option for college students. Not only do they have an easy option of being able to rent a car, but they also get a student discount.

Consider that a standard annual membership will cost $80 per year, whereas registered students, faculty, and staff get a more than 50% discount on the annual membership ($35 per year).

Additionally, Zipcar would be a cheaper option for students compared to other car rental services (of any kind) if their main usage of the service would consist of a once-a-month road trip and a handful of hourly trips throughout the month.

It would even cost less if a carpool system was implemented where the use of one car was utilized by more than one student, in essence sharing the fee amongst them for the trip.

What Are The Benefits Of Zipcar?

Besides providing a great service, there are additional benefits that you should consider when deciding if choosing to become a member is right for you.

No Keys Required

There is no need to worry about picking up keys from a designated location (dealership, store, or person); they can be found in the car attached to the steering wheel. The app and Zipcard you receive once you are a member are all you will need to unlock and lock the car.

Choose Your Vehicle

The service provides a wide range of cars, from hatchbacks and subcompacts all the way to SUVs. Take note that although you can find almost any type of car to suit your outing needs, they will differ by location.

There Is A Zipcar Hotline

If you run into any trouble like having an accident, a breakdown, need to report a ticket, or even if you simply have a question, Zipcar has a dedicated member hotline that runs 24 hours a day, 365 days a year in each of the countries they are located in. For U.S. residents, the number is 1-866-4ZIPCAR. 

The Zipcar App Is User Friendly

The Zipcar app is all you will need as a member. You can do everything from managing your account billing, checking the amenities of the cars, finding the nearest reservable car, booking your vehicle, and using it to unlock and lock the car.

Zipzones

Every Zipcar has a designated home location known as a Zipline, where you will always be able to find Zipcars. This can be in a parking garage, street, or surface lot and is marked by green signs or paint. This is the spot you will always find your reserved car and the place you must return it to once you have completed your trip.

Lucky enough, there are hundreds of these spots, and finding one close enough to your location using the app is easy.

Insurance, Maintenance, And More

With both the annual and monthly membership (for U.S. residents), there are additional benefits that are inclusive of the monthly fee, which includes;

  • Secondary insurance for all your trips
  • Free gas for all your trips
  • 24/7 roadside assistance and included maintenance
  • 180 miles per day

Hourly Rates

Traditional car rental services typically need you to rent a car for less than a day. Zipcar allows you the option of reserving a car by the hour, which is great when you only need to get a couple of chores down or perhaps need to make a trip that won't take that long.

Can I Rent A Zipcar For A Month

You can reserve a Zipcar for as short a period of time as one hour and for a maximum of 14 days. Remember that the standard rates for each membership will apply, and there will be no discount for reserving and using the car for a long time period (over a day).

Conclusion

We discovered that Zipcar is a great car-sharing service (and a cheap one) if you plan on using it for trips not taking more than a couple of hours and for only a couple of times a week. This is a fantastic option for students who will likely have the option to carpool.

However, if you plan to rent a car for a day or longer, it is probably a more viable option to source a standard car rental company or looks into a peer-to-peer car renting service like Turo. Although you may have to pay additional fees for gas and liability insurance (and even though this includes Zipcar's memberships), the daily rates for these options will most likely be cheaper than Zipcar's daily rates.

1