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Andrew Daniel

Andrew leads our Operational Team and is our expert when it comes to all the ins and outs of car hire excess insurance.

Zipcar offer Budget customers half price membership

New owners Avis Budget group are hoping to boost membership of Zipcar with a first year half price membership offer for Budget customers.

If you're a Budget car hire customer, you can save nearly 50% off your first years membership at Zipcar. The normal £59.50 annual membership fee is being reduced to £29.50 for customers of Zipcar's new owner Avis Budget Group. They're also throwing in £25 of free driving credit – though that must be used within 30 days of joining. Sadly, the offer is only open to customers of Budget.

Zipcar's main appeal is the ability to hire by the hour rather than by the day and their easy reservation and pick up/drop off system controlled by membership card or smartphone app. Rates start at £5 per hour.

The greatest drawback is the rather patchy national coverage which really restricts users to residents or regular visitors to London, Bristol, Oxford or Cambridge or one of the American or European cities covered. Hopefully with the financial muscle of Avis behind them, the network coverage will be expanded, until then, MoneyMaxim can always help with conventional car hire.

Regular car hire users will be familiar with collision damage waiver excesses and it's a similar story with Zipcar. The cars have an excess of £750, increasing to £1000 for those drivers classed as higher risk – which basically means anyone under 25, or with 4+ points on their licence or anyone who's had an accident in the last 3 years.

Zipcar does offer a damage fee waiver for over 21′s costing £9.95 per month (that's £119.60 pa) to reduce the excess to £250 or £14.95 per month (£179.40 pa) to remove the excess completely. Their waiver policies do not cover damage to tyres, windscreens or windows and misfuelling is classed as negligence and not covered either. In any case it is not available to new members and you must not have had an accident in a Zipcar in the last 12 months to qualify.

So if you can't have their damage fee waiver or would rather have fuller cover we'd suggest a visit to the MoneyMaxim car club insurance comparison site where there's a choice of annual policies from under £40, many of which also cover normal car hire excesses as well.