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How Zipcar Insurance Works For Drivers: 3 Critical Things To Understand

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Zipcar is a unique car-sharing company that allows you to book a car through their site or the Zipcar app without needing to contact customer service.

You can find cars based on availability, type, and proximity, meaning you might only have to walk down the street to your rental car.

Because Zipcar is available to people who don’t participate in car ownership, it’s imperative to know about insurance.

All drivers need car insurance coverage, but do you have to buy a personal policy to rent a car through Zipcar?

Do You Need Insurance to Rent a Zipcar?

Zipcar members have car insurance coverage through the company, so they don’t need additional car insurance.

Your Zipcar membership fee pays for basic insurance when you’re car sharing, so you’re liable for the first $1,000 of an accident.

Anything above that, Zipcar insurance pays.

You can purchase additional damage protection if you haven’t had an accident in the past 12 months.

You still get the same car insurance coverage, but you’ll pay less out of pocket to cover an accident.

Do You Need Insurance for Zipcar Only for a Few Hours?

Yes, any time you get behind the wheel of a vehicle, you need insurance.

Zipcar allows short-term rentals, so you’ll have basic car insurance coverage for the length of your booking, even if it’s just a few hours.

Does Personal Auto Insurance Cover Zipcar?

Yes, if you have a personal auto insurance policy, it most likely extends to your Zipcar as it would with any other car rental or car-sharing service, like the Avis Budget group, or any other daily car rental company.

If you’re in an accident with a Zipcar, your personal insurance might cover what the Zipcar insurance doesn’t, so you don’t have to pay anything out of pocket.

Who Pays for Car Damage in a Zipcar Accident?

The person paying a car damage fee in a Zipcar accident depends on who caused the accident.

Zipcar might hold you responsible for the first $1,000 in damage, but if you didn’t cause the wreck, you can get that money back from the other car involved in the accident.

Driver Liability

Because Zipcar only offers $300,000 worth of coverage for an accident, you might be on the hook for anything above that.

If there are several injured people in an accident, the medical bills could surpass that amount in no time.

Therefore, you might want to look into supplemental car insurance.

What Does Zipcar Insurance Cover?

You have to pay the first $1,000 of the damage fee, but Zipcar covers up to $300,000 in bodily injuries and $25,000 for vehicle damages.

This policy is decent coverage, but it doesn’t increase if there are multiple injured people or the need to replace a Zipcar vehicle.

Zipcar insurance meets your state minimum requirements for car insurance coverage so you won’t face a penalty if you’re pulled over.

However, it only covers the lowest necessary coverage to prevent a penalty, so you’ve just got the basics with Zipcar.

vector graphic showing an illustration of zipcar insurance elements

State Minimum Requirements

The company states that all insurance coverage meets the minimum requirements of the state where the rental originated.

If your state requires third-party liability coverage and Personal Injury Protection (PIP), then Zipcar provides that when needed.

The most common options Zipcar provides include bodily injury coverage, property damage, PIP, and uninsured motorist.

Bodily injury covers physical pain for all the Zipcar passengers.

Property damages include a car damage fee and anything that happens around you, like poles or fences.

PIP covers medical bills resulting from the accident.

Uninsured motorist is an important aspect because it keeps you from paying for someone else’s mistake.

If the other driver in an accident doesn’t have car insurance, you’re not stuck footing the entire bill.

Your uninsured motorist coverage protects you.

Is It Worth It to Get Zipcar Insurance?

Since a Zipcar rental comes with basic insurance, you know you’ll have some degree of coverage no matter what.

Paying for secondary coverage depends on your needs.

vector graphic showing a confused-looking person wondering is zipcar worth it

Pros of Zipcar Insurance

If you’re already renting cars through Zipcar, it’s nice that car insurance comes bundled with the fees you’re already paying.

People who don’t own cars don’t need to seek out insurance to rent a Zipcar.

You’re rewarded with a discounted rate for having a good driving record. Zipcar gives car insurance to safe drivers and offers damage protection plans to people who haven’t been in accidents or had moving violations.

You have the option of adding extra insurance to your Zipcar rentals.

You can add certain protections to your entire account, or if you’re only concerned about certain trips, you can add car insurance to each rental.

Cons of Zipcar Insurance

Zipcar insurance is somewhat limited compared to what you’d buy for your personal vehicle.

It will meet your state’s minimum requirements, but you might have to fill in the gaps.

Even with Zipcar insurance, you could be on the hook for up to $1,000 in damages.

This is a lot of money to pay out of pocket.

Zipcar insurance only covers up to $300,000 worth of damages.

In a car accident with multiple people, fees can add up quickly.

You might find that you reach that limit very quickly and are on the hook for the rest.

How Much Does Zipcar Insurance Cost?

Basic Zipcar insurance comes with your membership, which costs $7 a month or $70 for the year.

You can add on additional car insurance and protections which you’ll learn about later.

Is Zipcar Insurance Included in the Price?

Yes, any Zipcar member has insurance simply by paying the monthly or annual fee.

Zipcar runs a background check when you apply to rent through the app, so you have to make sure you’re 21, or 18 if you’re using their university program.

You can’t have more than two moving violations or car accidents in the past three years.

Plan Pricing

If you want to purchase additional damage protection, you can.

While you still have the same liability coverage through Zipcar, you’ll pay less out of pocket if you’re in an accident or damage the car in some way.

The standard is to pay $1,000 worth of damages, and Zipcar covers anything more.

There are different levels of damage protection:

  • Plus protection: pay $375 per accident and Zipcar covers the rest
  • Premium protection: pay $0 per accident and Zipcar covers it all

You can add damage protection plans to your monthly or yearly subscription, or just buy it per trip.

How to Get Zipcar Insurance

Zipcar insurance comes with your membership plan.

You pay $7 a month to access available rental cars, and that expense also covers basic insurance.

If you want additional liability insurance (ALI), you can pay for that per rental.

ALI covers up to $300,000 worth of liability coverage against third parties.

This isn’t to cover what happens to the car while you’re driving it.

Instead, it’s for if anyone else involved in the accident wants to file claims against you.

While the basic insurance is through Zipcar, ALI is through a separate insurance company.

Every time you book a rental, you can elect to add ALI for a fee.

Therefore, the policy only applies to you driving that car during one specific rental period.

Driver Requirements

To get insurance, a Zipcar driver should be 18 or older and can’t have an accident within the past 12 months.

If you have any drug or alcohol offenses on your record, Zip car won’t offer insurance because you’re a liability.

Step by Step Instructions for Getting Zipcar Insurance

There are different ways to protect yourself when you’re booking a Zipcar.

You can choose to add Additional Liability Insurance to each trip, and you can apply damage protection to your entire driver’s account.

Additional Liability Insurance (ALI)

As previously mentioned, you can add ALI to each trip you book on Zipcar when you’re finalizing the transaction.

First, choose the car you want to rent.

Select it and continue to check out.

Next, click on “additional liability protection” and choose “Add protection.”

You’ll be able to see the additional fees at that time.

Finally, finish checking out.

You’ll pay for the rental fee as well as the extra security of ALI.

Damage Protection

You can add damage protection to your account and have it apply to every rental you book.

First, go into your account settings and click the dots next to your driver’s name.

From there, you’ll see an option to “update protection.”

You’ll see all available options of protection.

Choose the damage protection you want.

Click “update protection” again to finalize your choice.

If you have multiple drivers on your account, you can add this protection for each of them.

Wrapping Up

Using the car-sharing app Zipcar is a flexible, affordable alternative for people who don’t own cars.

However, if you don’t own a car, you most likely don’t have personal auto insurance.

While Zipcar offers a basic insurance option, you should know all the details of what your rental covers.

Once you know how to update your damage protection and safeguard yourself against accidents, you’re ready to book Zipcars for any trip you’re going to take.

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