What exactly is a ‘car-sharing company’? It’s not quite the same thing as a traditional rental agency that offers cars for hire out of lots or off-airport service counters. While some car-sharing companies have physical locations where members can pick up cars, others operate almost exclusively online. It makes the entire process more akin to renting from traditional agencies without dealing face-to-face with anyone. Read on for eight factors to consider when looking for a car-sharing company.

What Type of Car Do You Need?

The very first decision you’ll need to make is what kind of vehicle will suit your needs best. Some companies will offer only sedans, while others may specialize in SUVs or luxury vehicles like Ferraris and Lamborghinis. If caring for your car isn’t too much work, then using an online service that offers vehicles in your desired category makes sense; you can go pick up the car when needed without ever having to leave home. But if you don’t want the added responsibility of owning a vehicle with car interior accessories, it might make more sense to rent from a traditional agency.

How Much Do You Need Access to The Car?

While some car-sharing companies will allow members to keep cars for long periods, others only offer hourly or daily rates. If you need constant access to a vehicle without restrictions on when and how long you can drive it, make sure the service matches your needs before committing.

Does Availability Match Your Schedule?

It goes without saying that if you require staff supervision, certain hours are better than others. Still, even if you’re working independently, you’ll want to ensure that whatever company is renting out their fleet has availability when you need it most.

Some companies offer 24/7 service, which can be extremely helpful in an emergency or if you require a car at any time of the day. But many only operate during business hours, so consider this before signing up with any one company, for instance, Avail car sharing.

Do They Have Liability Insurance?

While some companies may offer all types of insurance, others only have liability coverage for damage to the vehicle. If you’re prone to accidents or are worried about your policy not covering your use of a car that isn’t yours, then renting from an agency with fully comprehensive insurance is ideal.

Does Your Company Use Hybrids?

While this is certainly a deciding factor based solely on personal preference, a car-sharing service that uses hybrid vehicles can help the environment. In addition, it will help your wallet since gas costs are always lower than other types of fuel (not to mention they’re better for the environment). If you want to do your part in limiting emissions but still need access to a vehicle from time to time, consider using an agency that offers hybrids whenever possible.

How Does Insurance Work with Rentals?

Many companies will allow standard insurance policies to cover their rental cars. Still, some may require additional fees for colliding with another vehicle, leaving the car somewhere it isn’t supposed to be parked, or for anything else that may go wrong on a given trip. Just make sure you know what your insurance plans cover before signing up with any agency and ask about what they need from you if your policy doesn’t provide enough protection.

With all of these factors in mind, finding a company that can meet your needs and budget shouldn’t be too difficult. Using resources like the Internet, asking friends who have used a service before, and doing some basic research will narrow down potential candidates should be simple even if you want more than one option before making a choice.