What is Car Sharing?
Car sharing is not something every American is privy to. However over the past few years its popularity has grown and many people have adapted to it. Common questions people might have is how expensive it is, do I need to pay for the gas?, My needs change and I need a car at different times how convenience is it?, Do I need to purchase daily car insurance?
How does it work?
Its simpler than you might think. Find out where the nearest car sharing is where you live. Do some searches online or go to facebook and search groups. Large cities naturally are more likely to have them.
Memberships are the key. Research what their conditions are. Zip car for example requires you to be 21 years old, have a valid driver’s license of which they will run a driving record check. Given you pass this screening you will simply fill out the forms and chose your plan.
How does car sharing compare to traditional car rentals?
The real difference is the convenience and the intended usage. Car sharing is designed to be fast and super convenient. Get a car when you need it be it only for a few hours. Car rentals are typically for extended periods of time. Car rentals you pay for the whole day, or week. Car sharing you pay only for the time you need the car. Car sharing being flexible you could actually get access to a car at any time of the day. Car rentals obviously you are limited to store hours.
What does car sharing offer?
Car sharing will give you easy access to a network of vehicles parked locally around your town and in your neighborhood. Typically you would rent a car, truck or SUV by the hour or day with 150 miles of fuel. What’s great is that the vehicle is also covered with full coverage car insurance for around $7-10/hour or $60-$90/day.
Processes can be super easy depending on where you are located and the organization running them. Most times you never have to talk to anyone or wait in line. Go online and find an available vehicle for the date and time you need one. Reserve a vehicle a minute before you need it, or up to three months in advance. Some will even offer to begin your reservation by holding a Smart Card over a reader on the bottom of the driver’s side windshield, it will unlock the doors and activate the ignition.
What are the benefits of Car sharing?
Savings – Everyone complains about high gasoline prices, and going to the gas station can be a daunting task. In 2011 AAA reported the cost of owning and driving a mid-sized car was $715 a month, based on the average gas price at $2.88 per gallon.
Car-share programs provide affordable transportation. Members of car sharing can get 150 miles of fuel included with every reservation for example, and have 24/7 access to a fleet of vehicles they can drive whenever they need to drive. Only pay when you are driving making the hassles of owning a car less stressful and more affordable during these high price times
Convenience – Most car sharing will take care of all maintenance, repairs, 24-hour emergency assistance, insurance, car washes, parking, and more. Whats more these vehicles are accessible right away so waiting in lines like you do at traditional car rentals is eliminated. Most people use the internet for everything and have mobile devices. Make a Reservation online by choosing the date and time you need a vehicle, that best suits your trip and reserve! Convenience offers you the flexibility to reserve hours before or months in advance.
Flexibility – Typically there are a variety of vehicle types to chose from. You may have a different trip purpose. For example a car share for the purpose of going to several local appointments is different than going on a 60 mile trip with several co workers. Owning many different vehicles is no longer needed.
Saving on car insurance costs
owning a vehicle comes with automatic costs. Fuel, car insurance, car payments, maintenance, stickers and the list goes on. Add these up and you can reach into the hundreds of dollars per month from one vehicle. Car sharing does have its benefits but it is not for everyone. People living in a large city like Chicago can easily get around town by taking a train, buses or taxi cabs. But there are times when you still do need a car. Owning a car in a large city for many people just doesn’t make sense. Parking is extremely difficult and most of the time very costly.
If you do need to own a car in a large city then saving money whether it is using car sharing services or saving on auto insurance costs is important. Think about fuel costs and everything we have mentioned previously. Therefore comparing car insurance quotes might be something to consider.
Searching for auto insurance online you typically find large brand sites. That is great but they don’t give you many options from different insurers. Comparing car insurance should come from multiple companies not just one.
We would recommend a few websites:
- Insurantly.com – This site has a lot of information particularly for high risk drivers (bad driving records). Insurantly helps consumers compare car insurance quotes online from many different carriers. The reason we chose this site is that many people who need car sharing may not have the best driving record, and Insurantly has many high risk driver resource pages to offer visitors. However, most car sharing companies will screen your driving record and if you have things like a DUI on your record you may get rejected. Sites like Insurantly offer a lot of information on DUI Car insurance. For these reasons we recommend trying this website to compare your car insurance.
- Progressive.com – Unless you have been living under a rock you have probably seen all their commercials. Progressive offers rates from all top insurance companies. Whoever has the best rate based on your profile progressive will likely find it. They have great online tools and highly rated customer service. This is why we recommend Progressive not only for its great commercials but they do all the comparison shopping for you.
- Carinsurance.com – This is one of the oldest most established car insurance websites online. Again like Insurantly and Progressive you can get rate quotes from many different carriers. Carinsurance.com also has a ton of resources and average rates in just about any US city. For these reasons we recommend this website.
Popular car sharing services
The following are popular car sharing programs that we recommend. All are non profit organizations.
Ego Car share – Volunteer based not-for-profit based in Boulder, Colorado.
Ithaca car share – New York based Non profit.
City car share – Non profit in bay area.
Enterprise Car Sharing – Enterprise is obviously for profit but we added them as they are revolutionizing car sharing. With a huge fleet of vehicles all over the United States enterprise is able to offer convenient car sharing programs.