Back to School Blues: Are Car-Sharing Services Safe?
As your kids go back to college, many of them may not have a car with them on campus. This is a popular choice among college students and parents looking to save money on parking costs, insurance, gas, and other expenses—but it leaves many people in a concentrated area without a vehicle.
Companies saw an opportunity with this and jumped to start up car-sharing services like Zipcar, where members are able to use a car for short periods of time for a reasonable fee, with everything included except gas. This means that people who just need a car once in a while don’t need to pay for a car that sits most of the time or rent an expensive car for a full day or week—they can just rent a Zipcar to run errands at a low cost.
So What’s the Problem With Zipcars?
In a vacuum, services like Zipcar are a brilliant idea, and judging by their success in cities and on college campuses across the country, everyone agrees. People are able to rent a car on an as-needed basis, and everyone wins…right?
Wrong. While the idea of on-demand car rentals in cities and on college campuses is fantastic, many of the people who rent these cars are inexperienced drivers, simply due to the fact that they do not drive regularly. While these services will provide limited third-party auto liability coverage, only drivers over the age of 21 are offered a somewhat significant policy, leaving both themselves and any other driver at risk in a high-cost accident.
Fortunately, most of the accidents involving these on-demand rental cars are minor enough that the provided policy covers most damages. When the door is open for liability coverage to leave gaps, however, it is only a matter of time before an accident occurs that leaves all involved drivers on the hook financially.
What’s the best way for your child to stay safe if they plan on using services like Zipcar at school? Make sure that they have received proper driving instruction, including any available defensive driving courses. Double-check your auto insurance policy to see if your child is covered while driving a car from a car-sharing service, and make sure that your child understands the risks involved.
If your child is involved in an accident while driving a car from a service like Zipcar, or if someone in your family is involved in a wreck where the other driver was in such a vehicle, contact Houston auto accident attorney Steve Lee today—he can help ensure that you receive the compensation you deserve.