Behind the Wheel: Rentals and Car Shares

Thursday, October 13, 2011

This month's Brian Lehrer Show series on cars and driving continues with car shares and rentals - and we take your calls on what you use. Our guest is Michelle Krebs, senior analyst at and editor in chief of


Michelle Krebs

Comments [21]

greg caulfield

I have used zip car before and i am not happy they charge you for using 180 miles or more. I have anther i us it my parnets and it cheper to us.Greg

Oct. 13 2011 01:00 PM

I know this is too late but I was insured under my friend's insurance (Allstate), He lived in Manhattan and I live in queens.

He was in his 80's and I am in my 60's.
Maybe age made a difference.

Oct. 13 2011 11:05 AM
Henry from Manhattan

I used to rent fairly often to get out of the city, usually in the summer. I never tried Zipcar, but used Hertz quite often, they were okay, but the local branch near me closed and made things more difficult since I had to travel to pick up the car.

The problem with rental was when I would say go camping for a week. The vacation was supposed to be cheap, but then the rental car would sit in the parking lot for a week and cost nearly $1000. Ditto for visiting family out of state.

I eventually bought a used Yaris. Cheap. Reliable. But yeah, it’s a little more work than just picking up a rental and returning it and never really worrying about where to park. But there’s a little more feeling of freedom in having a car. But yeah, it sits around most of the year.

Oh, I didn’t appreciate when some jerk smashed the passenger side window.

Oct. 13 2011 11:03 AM

Peer-to-peer car renting = tax cheats
Like the people who run "bed and breakfasts," all these people making un-taxed money in the underground economy should be shamed.

Oct. 13 2011 11:01 AM
Barry from Boerum Hill

Renting a car in NJ may be cheaper, but take it from one who has friends there: car insurance is far higher in NJ than in Manhattan.

In general, NYC insurance rates, from low to high are: Staten Island, Manhattan; from there I am not certain of the rate comparison of Brooklyn, The Bronx & Queens.

Oct. 13 2011 11:01 AM
Scott from New York, NY

I am an insurance broker and allowing another person to rent your car for $ excludes that driver from being covered under your insurance. Its the exchange of money that creates the exclusion.

Oct. 13 2011 10:59 AM
Jane from Brooklyn

Brian, I just got back from Austin, TX, and there they started a program where you could get a smart electric car and use it for couple of hours. the big plus is that you don't have to return it to the same location. It is kind of like the bike rental program. it's great!

Oct. 13 2011 10:59 AM
Raul from Prospect Heights

When renting Zipcar, make sure you see how much time there is until the next reservation. I choose a car based on how much wiggle room there is- and that way I don't have a problem if the previous person returns the car late.

Oct. 13 2011 10:58 AM
Lisa from Upper West Side

My experience with insurance companies is different. When we lend our car to a friend, we call the insurer, let them know who will be driving and give their name and drivers' license info. And they're covered.

Oct. 13 2011 10:58 AM
Jeff from NYC

Interesting that the "expert" knows so much less about the topic than Brian or all the callers

Oct. 13 2011 10:57 AM

Increasingly bad service from Zipcar in the city. Dirty cars, no gas in take, missing gas cards. One time bottle of urine left beneath the driver seat. Are they tanking (no pun intended).

Oct. 13 2011 10:57 AM

As a carless staten islander, a coping mechanism is renting a car from Enterprise, near the ferry, one weekend per quarter, going nuts on cross-borough errands, sightseeing, groceries, etc., returning it monday morning.

no carshare, zip car available.

Oct. 13 2011 10:56 AM
Abe from Crown Heights

I had a zipcar nightmare. I left my zip card in my office in Manhattan over the weekend. I live in Brooklyn. I got to the car in the morning and realized I didn't have the card. I called zipcar and they refused to open the car up remotely for me. I had to take a cab into my office in Manhattan which was locked! To add insult to injury zipcar made me pay for the hours that I couldn't even use. I ended up borrowing a friends card and having her book the reservation. I have not rented from zip car since. Please share!

Oct. 13 2011 10:56 AM
Jamison from fort green

what coverage should I get when renting a car. my Credit Card covers something but its never clear what is covered and I always feels like Im going in confused. I always feel under covered and pray for nothing to happen.
How can I solve this?

Oct. 13 2011 10:56 AM

The Brooklyn-based photographer for my daughter's wedding in NJ rented a Zip car for the 65-mile drive to the wedding. It was no there when she arrived at the assigned pick-up place and Zip car could do nothing to help her. After trying to find a taxi to drive her, her equipment and her ass't, she ended up with a gypsy cab. He got her there, about 90 minutes late. I love the idea of Zip cars but they are hardly failsafe.

Oct. 13 2011 10:56 AM
John from Washington, DC

With a Hertz or Avis-type rental the fee is pro-rated if you return the car much earlier than reserved. Otherwise you *have* to book longer than you want to avoid the problem the earlier caller mentioned.
It makes the most sense for Ikea shopping trips. Dinner with friends in the suburbs when the car sits idle: a cab and public transportation is better. A weekend get-away, standard rental cars are a better value.

Oct. 13 2011 10:55 AM
Maria from Upper West Side

I "car-share" with a neighbor, who doesn't need her's full-time. I pay a daily full-day or half-day rate that we agreed to, and agreed to pay a $500 deductible if I'm in an accident. Works great!

Oct. 13 2011 10:53 AM
Nic from manhattan

For car needs over a day, renting is the way to go in NYC. With some extra time and work, I bike to NJ where car rentals are 1/3 the cost of manhattan.

Oct. 13 2011 10:52 AM
sarah_gramercy from nyc

Take metronorth to a station and rent a car. Zipcar on the weekend can be very pricey.

Oct. 13 2011 10:49 AM
Ellen Hymowitz from NYC

Please comment on insurance risks of renting via Zipcar:


Oct. 13 2011 10:48 AM
MichaelB from Morningside Heights

I joined Mint Cars On Demand (car sharing) here in Manhattan service months ago, and so far have found their service to live up to the billing.

Seeing ads for Hertz's latest effort in this realm (I think they changed the name to Hertz On Demand recently), since there was no charge to join, I figured might as well have 2 choices.

Can't believe what a stupid and clumsy attempt this is by Hertz. You'd have thought they would have checked out the competition first. (Another examples of absolutely clueless business executives!)

It took them 19 days to grant me membership status! 19 bloody days! They just disappeared down a rabbit hole.

Then, when I got onto their site to look for a car to rent for a few hours or a day, the interface for their web application was just abysmal -- VERY difficult to navigate and find what I was looking for.

Finally, their charges were MUCH higher than those of Mint (and of ZipCars I suspect.)

No way I would ever use Hertz in their current guise. Been very satisfied with Mint though.

One thing I DON'T like is the signage on some./most of the cars. Who wants to drive a moving billboard?? Imagine pulling up to a formal affair with ZipCar or Mint plastered all over the car doors or trunk lid....

Oct. 13 2011 09:53 AM

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