How Zipcar works

How Zipar works

It’s pretty simple. Watch this video and you’ll be good to go.
How Zipcar works

Becoming a Zipcar member

Applying is as easy as 1,2,3. All you need is to be 21 or older (18 if a student or where required by law) and have a valid driver’s license.

How it works - step 1

Pick a plan

Select the membership plan that's best for you to get started. 

How it works - step 2


We verify your driver's license and identity. Most members are approved and can book a car within minutes, but in some cases may take a bit longer.

How it works - Step 3

Book a trip

Once approved, you can book cars instantly with the Zipcar app.

Am I eligible to be a Zipcar member?

You can apply for Zipcar membership if you have a valid driver's license and are at least 21 years old, or 18 years old if you are either a student at a university affiliated with Zipcar or if you live in New York, Michigan, or Maryland. For non-US based licenses, or residents of Michigan, learn more.

How long is the application process?

Apply online with a valid driver's license. Most people are approved instantly and can book a trip within minutes, but if there's a reason for delay, we'll email you. As soon as you're approved, you can book Zipcars by the hour or day and use our app to unlock and lock during your trip. Learn how to check the status of your application.


Book a round trip car

Once approved, you can book round trip Zipcars immediately on our website or through our app. Turn on Bluetooth and location services on your phone for the most reliable access to your Zipcar.

Zipcar member using the app
Zipcar member driving a car

Download our app

Book Zipcar trips on the go with our app.

How do I book a trip?

Log into our iPhone® or Android™ app or our website to search for and book your preferred car, timeframe, and location.

How do I cancel or modify an existing trip?

You can cancel or change your upcoming hourly trip up to 3 hours before its start time at no charge minutes after booking at no charge through the app or online under Trips. For trips longer than 8 hours in length, you must cancel at least 24 hours in advance to avoid cancellation fees. For rules on cancelling or modifying your trips, learn more here.

Where do I return my Zipcar when my trip has ended?

Zipcar is a round trip service, so your Zipcar must be returned to the same location where you picked it up originally. If your location has multiple Zipcar parking spots, you can park in any available Zipcar spot. Make sure to lock up with your app or your Zipcard to end your trip.

Starting your Trip

Before you go, you'll be asked to inspect the car and share pictures of it's condition. It only takes a few minutes, and helps everyone have safer, cleaner trips.

Zipcar Damage Report


How do I find my Zipcar?

Access the car's location details in the My Trips section of the app. We'll also send details about your upcoming trip in a confirmation email. 

How do I get into my Zipcar?

To lock and unlock your car, use the app or tap your Zipcard to the reader on the driver's side windshield of the car. The car keys will be located inside the Zipcar, typically in the console or attached to the ignition.


What if I get into an accident or need roadside assistance?

Your Zipcar membership includes insurance options* (learn more about insurance coverage here) and roadside assistance 24 hours a day, 365 days a year. If you need help while on the road, call 1-866-4ZIPCAR and we will take it from there.

Where is the gas card located?

You can find the free gas card in the visor over the driver’s seat of every Zipcar. To use, insert the card at the gas station as you would a credit card. Remember to always return cars with at least ¼ tank of gas to avoid fees. Learn more about how to fuel up here.

Who can drive my Zipcar?

Other active Zipcar members can drive your Zipcar, but you must be in the car if you booked the trip. Non-members are strictly forbidden from driving your Zipcar. Learn more.

Our community rules

When you share a Zipcar, you also share responsibility. These rules make sure every member enjoys their trip. If we see a pattern of rule breaking, we may close your account.

Keep the car clean

Keep the car clean

No smoking and clean up after yourself, or you'll be charged a $50+ fee. 

Fuel up

Fuel up

If the gas is below 1/4 tank, use the gas card in the visor to fill up, or you'll be charged a $30 fee. 

Return on time

Return on time

Return to the car's home location on time, or you'll be charged for the extra time you used the car plus a $50+ fee. 

What do I if my Zipcar is damaged?

Before you start driving, inspect your Zipcar inside and out and report any issues in the app. While we expect the previous member to leave the Zipcar in good standing for you, it is important to report any issues before you drive. Learn more.

How do I extend my reservation?

Provided that another member does not have a reservation immediately after yours, you can extend your trip using the mobile app or by text. If you see that the car isn't available, you'll need to return on time to avoid a late fee.

What happens if I’m late in returning my Zipcar?

We know lateness can be part of everyday life. However, as part of the Zipcar community, it’s imperative that you return on time – if you don’t, you could impact the next member’s trip. Then they’ll be late, and the next person will be late... you get the idea.  

To avoid being part of this domino effect, here are some tips to be on time: 

  1. Book your trip well in advance 

  1. Book enough time to take traffic, refueling and cleaning the car into consideration. 

  1. If the car is available, extend your trip from the “drive” screen in the app 

If you do return late, you’ll be charged for the extra time you used the car, plus a $50+ late fee. 

*Some membership plans may limit insurance options.