If you live in in a big city, owning a car can be both costly as well as a headache. Getting a parking place may compete with locating Osama Bin Laden in its difficulty. Spending money on car parking can leave a major hole in your pocket book. Due to the large number of drivers on the road, auto insurance charges are usually higher in big cities. Gas mileage is reduced during city driving due to the fairly slow rates of speed and repeated stops. Consequently, a lot of city residents are saying no to car ownership and counting on alternatives. Mass transit remains an important alternative, however a somewhat new strategy is taking hold in a few U.S. urban centers: car sharing.
As per CarSharing.net, at the start of 2010 there were 27 vehicle sharing programs in the U.S., serving 388,000 members and sharing 7,500 automobiles. They go by names such as Zipcar, Car2go, and Community Car. The programs impose an annual membership fee and may even charge an application fee; Zipcar, for example charges a $50 annual fee and a $25 application fee in the Washington, D.C. area. Another fee is applicable for every use of an automobile (for example, $30 for a four-hour reservation), which includes fuel, insurance, and a specific number of miles.
The kinds of people most likely to utilize a car sharing service include:
* People who usually use public transportation yet who require their own vehicle on occasion
* People who own one car and from time to time require a second
* People who own small vehicles though occasionally need a larger vehicle
* Those who do not want to buy an automobile but could afford the membership costs
* Those who wish to avoid the bothersome elements of vehicle ownership, such as upkeep, fees, as well as storage costs
* Naturalists worried about the pollution that comes with vehicle ownership
A person utilizing a car sharing service takes risks much like those she would take when renting a car. She might incur legal liability for injuring someone or damaging another’s property when using the car. She may suffer injuries in an accident, leading to medical costs and forfeited income. She may damage the vehicle and become accountable for repair costs. The car sharing service provides liability insurance, but the borrower does not have any guarantee that the level of insurance will be sufficient to pay for all of the damages. Also, that insurance coverage may not apply if she lets an unauthorized person to drive, like a “designated driver” during a night around town. If she doesn’t own a car, she might want to buy a named nonowner auto insurance policy, that will cover liability, medical, and uninsured or underinsured motorist losses over and above what the vehicle sharing service’s policy provides. Also, some umbrella liability policies might cover damage to a borrowed car if the vehicle sharing service’s policy does not pay. A professional insurance agent could determine insurance companies that offer these types of insurance coverages as well as clarify the disparities in protection and price of the different policies.
For people living in areas where it is accessible, vehicle sharing may be a really practical alternative to owning a car. As with any special service, it carries certain risks. However, by making some basic plans ahead of time, drivers can benefit from these services and always be assured that they have constrained their financial risks.
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