Turo is a car-sharing equivalent to Airbnb and an alternative to traditional car-renting companies such as Hertz and Avis.
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Vehicle owners list their cars with Turo, a company based in San Francisco, and renters can search the available vehicles in their area and rent them for daily prices set by the owners. Rentals can be booked online or through a phone app that allows direct communication between owners and renters.
For vehicle owners (Turo calls them “hosts”), it is a way to make money from a vehicle that might sit idle much of the time. Renters (“guests”) often can arrange pickup and drop-off points that are more convenient than regular car-rental locations, and Turo claims the costs are 25% lower on average.
Cars, Costs and Requirements
Many vehicles available through Turo are basic economy cars that are 5 or more years old, and some are more than 10 years old, though there also are some luxury models and sports cars. For example, the vehicles available in Chicago recently showed a range from $18 per day for a 2008 Toyota Yaris to $134 per day for a 2018 Tesla Model 3.
Listings include photos of the vehicles, descriptions of basic features, extra-cost services such as specific pickup locations, and ratings of the owners. Renters also are rated, and owners can refuse to do business with renters they don’t trust.
Owners set the daily rental price and other terms, such as the number of miles allowed, minimum age of renters and how much fuel should be in the tank at the return.
Insurance for Owners
They also can buy different levels of insurance coverage through Turo or provide their own coverage. (Caution: Contact your insurance company first. Most won’t cover a vehicle if it is used for car-sharing.)
In the U.S., Turo offers three levels of insurance to owners, all with $1 million of liability coverage (meaning injuries to others or damage to their property):
Under the basic plan, Turo will pay 20% of the first $3,750 in damage to the rented vehicle and 100% of the damage over $3,750 up to $125,000. The owner pays 15% of the rental price for this coverage.
The standard protection costs 25% of the rental price and covers all damage up to $125,000 and pays up to $30 per day for 10 days for a replacement vehicle if the rented car is damaged.
The premium plan costs 35% of the rental price and adds exterior wear-and-tear coverage, and loss of income coverage if the rented vehicle is out of service for repairs.
Insurance for Renters
Renters are charged in full upfront when they submit a request for a vehicle or when the host accepts their request. And just like with traditional rental cars, Turo “guests” need to consider insurance.
Renters can choose from three insurance levels of insurance coverage with deductibles that range from zero to $3,000. They can decline coverage and be responsible for any damage, either through their own insurance or out of pocket. Credit cards that include rental-car coverage as a benefit typically don’t apply to Turo rentals.
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The renter’s insurance costs 15-25% of the rental cost for minimum coverage, 40% of the cost for standard and 100% of the rental cost for premium. The latter includes $1 million in liability coverage; the others come with the minimum coverage required in the state where the rented vehicle is registered.
Turo also has “commercial hosts” that are essentially independent rental companies that provide their own insurance, so the costs and requirements for renters will be different. Turo insurance plans are different in Canada and other countries.
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