When it comes to auto insurance, Zipcar generally offers members a minimum amount of coverage. Zipcar provides drivers with enough car insurance protection to meet the required minimum coverage amounts in whatever state an accident occurs. You can carry up to $300,000 of excess coverage, too.
Zipcar's insurance also includes coverage that pays for the cost of repairing physical damage to a rented vehicle. Members have to pay up to $1,000 if they're involved in an accident — even if no claim is filed — but higher-tier members can pay lower fees.
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Zipcar liability insurance
Zipcar rentals automatically include the minimum amount of liability insurance required in the state where an accident occurs. The liability coverage that comes with a Zipcar rental only covers drivers who are permitted to drive the vehicle, and its protection is secondary to any existing policy you already have.
Users who want more liability insurance can buy more coverage. Zipcar offers additional liability insurance that you can purchase on an hourly or daily basis. You can add up to $300,000 of combined bodily injury and property damage liability coverage.
Although Zipcar liability insurance is included when you rent a car, you're required to waive un-/underinsured motorist liability coverage unless it's also required by law. Since this coverage is optional in most states, you would have to pay for the damages caused by an uninsured driver yourself when using a Zipcar.
Who can get Zipcar insurance?
Zipcar insurance is available to people who are members of the service. Zipcar does not provide coverage in the event that you let a non-member drive your rental and they're involved in an accident. To become a member you must be at least 21 years old or a student at a university Zipcar has partnered with.
Zipcar insurance and physical damage
In addition to the Zipcar liability insurance, your rental comes with physical damage protection. Physical damage insurance covers the cost of repairs to your own vehicle. If your car is damaged, you're responsible for a fee of up to $1,000.
Unlike with comprehensive and collision coverage — two common forms of physical damage insurance — you have to pay a fee for your vehicle's damage no matter who's responsible. While members don't have to pay a fee for wear and tear, Zipcar does require payment in the event of an accident, flat tire, windshield cracks, dead batteries, vandalism, and other incidents.
You can lower or even avoid a damage fee entirely by purchasing Zipcar's damage fee waiver (DFW). As long as you're a member and have had no Zipcar accidents in the past 12 months, you can reduce or remove a damage fee by electing to pay a higher membership premium. The cost of waiving or reducing your damage fee is listed below:
Cost of plan
Fee per incident
Up to $1,000
$5/month or $50/year
Up to $375
$9/month or $79/year, or $0.95/hour or $5.95/day
You're not obligated to purchase a DFW from Zipcar. If you already have comprehensive and collision coverage in your personal car insurance policy, you won't have to pay a damage fee — though you would have to pay your policy's deductible. Likewise, a loss damage waiver or collision damage waiver — a form of rental car insurance — can allow you to avoid buying a DFW from Zipcar, too.
How to add damage fee waiver with Zipcar
You're able to add a damage fee waiver to your Zipcar insurance as long as you're 18 years or older and have had no accidents or incidents in a Zipcar in the last 12 months.
If you're eligible, adding a DFW is easy: simply select and confirm higher coverage limits in your app's profile settings. After you sign up for an annual or monthly DFW, your plan will automatically renew.
Your damage fee waiver may be canceled if you violate your user agreement with Zipcar. Common violations may include:
Allowing a non-member to drive your rental
Forgetting to lock or close your windows or doors
Failing to notify Zipcar after an accident or incident
Not paying for service
Do you need insurance for Zipcar?
While you need coverage to drive, you don't necessarily need Zipcar insurance. According to its terms of service, Zipcar insurance is meant to provide secondary insurance protection. If you already have insurance, your existing coverage will have to be exhausted before Zipcar insurance would pay for damages.
However, if you don't already own a car and have insurance — and many Zipcar users don't — you aren't required to purchase more than the minimum amount of coverage that comes with any Zipcar insurance policy. That being said, it might be a good idea to buy more insurance in order to avoid paying for damage yourself.
If you don't want to pay for Zipcar insurance but you don't already have coverage of your own, you have a few options. Instead of Zipcar insurance, you could get:
Non-owner car insurance: A non-owner policy can offer frequent Zipcar users higher limits of liability coverage than what's available with Zipcar insurance. Non-owner insurance also provides uninsured and underinsured drivers coverage, which a Zipcar policy does not offer in most cases.
Rental car insurance: Rental car insurance policies offer short-term protection against liability claims and physical damage. You could add excess liability and coverage for your personal property with most rental car insurance companies.
Coverage from a credit card: Many major credit card issuers offer benefits to cardholders that can fill in the gaps of a Zipcar insurance policy. As long as you pay for your reservation with a credit card that has insurance benefits, you can often get physical damage protection in the form of a loss damage or collision damage waiver and avoid the cost of a damage fee.
How to file a claim with Zipcar insurance
Properly (and promptly) making a claim after an accident or an incident is crucial to receiving the benefits of Zipcar insurance. The company's user agreements state that members may not receive coverage if they fail to notify Zipcar about the loss and fill out a report form. To remain in compliance, in the event of an accident Zipcar users should:
Call Zipcar's reporting hotline at 966-4ZIPCAR
Document the damage, along with the date and time of the incident, names and contact information of those involved, and fill out a police report.
Fill out the incident report form that Zipcar insurance will send.
Communicate and cooperate with Zipcar and the company's third-party adjusters
Await the completion of Zipcar's investigation into the incident and assessment of your vehicle's damage.
Pay a damage fee and any other charges after the end of the investigation.