When it comes to car sharing, Zipcar is one of the most popular and well-known options on the market. However, one question that often comes up for new users is when and how Zipcar charges its members. In this post, we’ll break down all the different scenarios in which Zipcar charges its members, so you can better understand how the system works and budget accordingly.
When you first join Zipcar
When you first sign up to become a Zipcar member, there are a few fees you’ll need to pay upfront. These include:
- An application fee: This one-time fee is typically around $25 and is required to process your application and perform a background check.
- An annual fee: Depending on your membership plan, you may be required to pay a yearly fee. For example, the standard membership plan includes a $70 annual fee, while the Zipcar Flex plan (which allows for more flexible usage) includes a $25 annual fee.
- A security deposit: This refundable deposit is held to cover any potential damages or fines incurred while using a Zipcar. The deposit amount varies depending on your membership plan, but typically ranges from $150 to $500.
When you reserve a car
Once you’re a member of Zipcar, you’ll need to pay a fee every time you reserve a car. The exact fee will depend on your membership plan and the type of car you’re reserving. Typically, you’ll pay a reservation fee (which ranges from $5 to $8 per hour), as well as an hourly rate (which ranges from $8 to $12 per hour).
It’s important to note that Zipcar’s hourly rates include gas, insurance, and maintenance, so you won’t have to worry about any additional costs beyond the reservation and hourly fees.
When you return a car
Once you’ve finished using a Zipcar, you’ll need to return it to its designated parking spot. If you return the car on time and in good condition, you won’t be charged any additional fees. However, if you’re late returning the car or if there is damage, you may be charged additional fees.
- Late fees: If you’re more than 15 minutes late returning a car, you’ll be charged a late fee of $50. If you’re more than an hour late, the fee increases to $100.
- Damage fees: If a car is returned with damage, Zipcar will assess the cost of the repairs and charge the member accordingly. The member will not be charged if the damage is normal wear and tear. However, if the damage is deemed excessive or caused by reckless driving, the member may be charged a high damage fee.
When you’re billed
Finally, it’s worth noting that Zipcar bills its members every month. This means that you’ll receive a bill at the end of each month for all the reservations and fees incurred during that month. You’ll be able to view your bill and make payments through the Zipcar app or website.
As you can see, Zipcar charges its members in various scenarios, including when they first join, when they reserve a car, when they return a car, and when they’re billed. By understanding how and when Zipcar charges its members, you can make a better budget for your car-sharing expenses and avoid any unexpected fees. And remember, Zipcar’s hourly rates include gas, insurance, and maintenance, so you won’t have to worry about additional costs beyond the reservation and hourly fees.