Campus Car Rentals — An Alternative To Ownership?

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Here on SayCampusLife, we’ve been sharing through our Campus Cars category, various vehicles we think might be of interest to college students. Mostly vehicles that have a few things in common — small, fuel efficient, and cheap to buy.

MINI CooperMost certainly, owning a car while attending college isn’t the sensible solution for every student, particularly those whose campus is located in the city. Mass transit and foot traffic will take you where you need to go without having to worry about alternate side of the street parking, vandalism, and maintenance expenses.

An option for students who occasionally need a car, but don’t want to be bothered with buying and maintaining one is renting their wheels. Companies like Hertz, Avis, and Enterprise come to mind, but therein lies the problem — some rental agencies will only lend their vehicles to drivers who are at least 25 years old, several years beyond the age of the typical college student.

Where there is a need, there is also opportunity and one company, Zipcar, is doing its part to fill that need.

Zipcar works by allowing registered members to borrow a car (like the pictured MINI Cooper) for a few hours or for an entire day and return that car to the place borrowed when done. Gas and insurance is included, meaning that all a driver has to do is worry about driving and leave the fill ups and paperwork to Zipcar.

As you might guess, college campuses are a popular place for Zipcars, with more than 70 schools partnering with the company to offer car rentals to students. Schools such as Rutgers, the University of North Carolina, University of Southern California, and others participate, allowing students who are 21 and above the chance to rent a car.

No, you can’t get a Zipcar if you’ve had more than two moving violations in the past three years or a single DUI incident during the past seven years. Nor can you rent a car for more than six days at a time. Still, with these restrictions in place, Zipcar could be the only rental option for some college students.

Though this article isn’t an endorsement of Zipcar, SayCampusLife does recognize that renting your campus car may be the smartest option for some young drivers.

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Categories: Campus Cars