Review: Turo, the Airbnb of cars

It’s widely available and cheaper than most rental services. But should you use it?

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Online only.

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Owning a car is notoriously expensive, but did you know you can actually make money with your car? Turo (formerly RelayRides) bills themselves as the Airbnb for cars is a service that allows you to rent out your car for cash!

That’s right, when you’re not using your vehicle, you can rent it out to other Turo members. It’s estimated the average owner makes an additional $540 a month letting others use their car, but that depends on how often you make it available.

Alternatively, if you need a vehicle when you’re on vacation, Turo is a good and often cheaper alternative to your traditional car rental company. Read below for my Turo review.

Founded in 2009, Turo is a car rental marketplace where you can rent any car you want, wherever you want it, and when you want it. Owners of the cars can earn extra money when they’re not using their car which can then be used for anything they want. Let’s look at some of Turo’s main features.

  • Available in 3500+ Cities
  • Pick up at 300+ airports
  • More than 800 makes and models of cars available
  • $2 million insurance policy for users

Turo has seen rapid growth in the last few years. Originally it was available just in the U.S. but it’s now expanded to Canada, and the U.K. The appeal of the service should be obvious, rent out your car to make some extra money, or rent a car to save money.

Some people may find it weird to be renting cars directly from others, but we all had similar thoughts about Airbnb when it launched. The sharing economy applies to just about everything these days, so it’s only natural that a major service came to car rentals. Plus, as an owner, it’s a lot easier to make money this way than driving for Uber.

Using Turo?

It’s pretty straight forward. You put in your requirements and Toro will show you what’s available.

I did a quick search online for cars in Scottsdale and Orlando through various car rental agencies. I then ran the same search through Turo and confirmed that prices were anywhere from 25% – 50% cheaper even after taxes.

Of course the other advantage is that you can bypass the pickup counter at some airports. While I was searching vehicles in Orlando, Turo had 10 cars available right at the airport while many others could be delivered directly for free.

While browsing cars available in my hometown of Toronto, I came across some pretty sweet rides I could rent including a Porsche Boxster, BMW 3 Series, Jaguar XF, Mercedes-Benz CLS-Class and much more for pretty reasonable prices. These would be perfect to rent for special occasions, and way cheaper than renting from exotic car companies.

Those listing their cars are obviously hoping to make additional money, but some of turned it into a full-time business. There are people out there who literally own multiple cars and just rent them out on Turo. Doing this full-time won’t appeal to most people, but it’s definitely a good side hustle.

How Turo works?

It’s a pretty simple process and is broken down for people who want to rent a car or want to list their car.

Renting a car: After creating an account, your identity and eligibility will need to be confirmed before you can rent a car. Once you’re approved, find a car by searching dates, location, price, model, features, etc. After finding the perfect car, book it! Owners still have up to 8 hours to approve the booking, but there are instant bookings available. Once accepted, a pick up location will be picked if it isn’t already determined.

Listing your car: Once your account is setup, you’ll need to describe your vehicle and upload images. Turo has guidelines for pricing, but it’s really up to you to decide what to charge. You’ll want to keep your calendar up to date and respond as soon as you can to any requests.

What about damages to your car?

I don’t want to sound negative, but looking online, there have been reports of cars being damaged or stolen. Turo does have a two million dollar insurance package available to renters, but I would look into the fine details and find out what exactly your vehicle is covered for.

If you’re considering renting out your car, it might be a good idea to install a car tracker on it for added peace of mind.

I should note that there will always be negative instances with any kind of service so you just need to decide if you’re comfortable with the risks. At the very least, do your due diligence.

Final word

Turo is a service I’m very excited about. I was an early adopter of Airbnb since I was looking for ways to save money when I travel. Turo will allow me to save even more money and if I so desire, I can rent out my car to make money.

Barry Choi is a personal finance and budget travel expert at Moneywehave.com.  He has been quoted in The Financial Post, The Toronto Star and more. You can follow him on Twitter: @barrychoi

This article was originally published on MoneyWeHave.com

5 comments on “Review: Turo, the Airbnb of cars

  1. Turo is a scam. I created an account then rented a car. Week later they cancelled my account fpr no apparent reason. I live in Houston texas and they treated me horribly after I called demanding answers. Also, they charge a lot of extra fees that are not mentioned. Beware of Turo and their shady business dealings. Horrible company.

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  2. If your contemplating renting out your personal vehicle on Turo, Don’t do it. I had one of my cars stolen by a girl with a stolen CC and another vehicle damaged and Turo did not step up on either occasion. They have too many “loopholes” in their policies and if you complain there response is “sorry but we are now shutting down your account” save yourself a lot of time and money. If you are thinking about using turo you should first run headfirst into a brick wall.

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  3. I used to be excited about Turo too. I signed up, got accepted, passed the security checks and rented a car so I could pick up my sister at the airport. I spoke with the renter, we were both happy. Money well spent, I thought. The next day, however, Turo banned my account, cancelled my trip and sent me this friendly email saying they would help me find a new ride. When I asked why my account was banned, they only told me that they can’t reveal that information. I had to scramble to find a new rental without the money I already spent at Turo. Ruined our vacation… Thanks Turo. The money was not refunded until after the vacation was over.

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  4. I used to rent out my vehicles via Turo until one was in an accident and they didn’t cover the loss of value. I even won a court judgement and they still did not pay.

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  5. I am having the worst experience with Turo. I trusted it as a Multibillion company which they make all of this money because of people’s trust, and now they have done every unethical behaviours in the past couple of months to me.
    I put my BMW in Turo, after Turo reps assured me that they have great insurance coverage and take care of the participators, then my car got stolen on October 2016, by a Turo verified driver, which later we found out it was a identity theft. After two months of stress, the cops recovered the car, and I sent it directly to BMW certified dealer to make sure they really take care of the car ( it had lots of damages )
    Then I contacted TUro and they told me they will take care of hte problem of the car, and their insurance will decide what to do.
    Me trusting the brand and the company just called them every once in awhile because I thought they are legit and responsible and not a ghetto company, but after 2 months not giving me any update, I started calling and telling them It’s been two months and you have not done ANYTHING to the car, the estimate from BMW came out at first at $9631, but TUro insurance gave $1342???
    I was really surprised by the difference in amount, and start calling them to make sure they take care of this, I talked to Lauren, I talked to Scott, they all assured me it’s part of the process and trust the process !
    These being said after 2 more months waiting and now that I have to return the car and waiting 5 months overall !!!! and after the BMW dealer told me they have never seen such a cheap insurance company (littleton company) , the told me it’s been here for lots of months and now they will start charging me parking fees because the insurance and Turo don’t really want to fix the car and are not responding either.
    After all these months, and they talking about TOtalling the car or paying to fix it .. they decided that they want to pay 3511 for all the damages ! and ignore the rest.
    So basically I have to pay couple of grand because this billion dollar company does not want to be fair or ethical and doesnt want to spend their money when they have to.
    Fortunately I still have the previous renters information, and I will contact them as a witness of the condition of the car.
    This company is good until they need you, but when you need them, you are going to have a different kind of relationship !
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