8

I never had a car before, but I'm starting to feel the need of having one.

Fortunately, I can bike to work, and would only use the car on weekends (and very occasionally on weekdays). Additionally, I'd rarely make long trips, so I'd expect a <2k miles per year usage.

One problem is that, once I never had a car, there's no way to prove I wouldn't use it much (and all insurance quotes I checked required some evidence). Renting a car every weekend also doesn't seem much cost-effective (besides the overhead of renting it every time).

Could you provide any advice on that?

4

There is a pretty good option, but it is only available in a few cities in the US.

Car sharing services like ZipCar let you use their cars on a subscription basis that includes insurance, gas and all the other expenses. At least for ZipCar you get 180 miles per day for the standard fee.

Essentially, they have these cars parked all over town.

To use them you just go to the website and reserve the car for a certain period of time (you can do it right before you need it, if necessary), then go to wherever the car is parked and use your membership card to unlock it and use it.

When you are done, you just leave it in one of their designated parking spaces.

4

@JohnFx give a good answer for big cities in the ZipCar and similar programs of car-sharing.

Suggest you really cost out the rental alternative.

The "Total Cost of Ownership" of a car can add up. You have the actual purchase, insurance, parking if you don't have that at your house/apartment, gas, regular maintenance, extraordinary repairs, etc.

Your estimate of <2k miles per year seems a little suspect. I drive 5 miles every day (2.5 round trip) to a commuter train station that I take to work. I then do the occasional week-day errand on the way home, and weekend shopping, and easily do 5000 miles or more in a year.

If you really don't need a car on regular weekdays, you could likely rent almost every weekend and come out ahead.

So the answer would really depend on your city/town. Taxi, Rental and Car-sharing are all good alternatives depending on your actual usage patterns.

Good Luck

2

A cheap used car will probably have low insurance rates, especially once you have odometer readings to demonstrate how little you use it (6 months or so, when renewing your insurance). Look for something reliable (do some research) and you probably won't have to spend much on maintenance if you don't drive it often.

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