Turo, a peer-to-peer car rental service, aims to eliminate all the common hassles of renting a car and attempts to make the entire car rental process a lot more enjoyable than it has been in the past. With Turo, you rent a car from other Turo users, book your trip online, then pick up the car or have it delivered to you. It’s like AirBnb for car rentals, and it looks like it has the potential to change the rental car market.
Want to try Turo? Click here to see the available cars in your area
But how does Turo stack up in the real world? I tested out Turo for myself by renting a BMW convertible in Los Angeles, and I documented the entire process from beginning to end. I found that Turo had a great selection of cars, was priced similarly to other rental agencies, and overall was a much better experience than renting from a traditional rental agency.
What Turo is all about, and my experience using it
- Turo is a peer-to-peer car rental service that connects renters with car owners
- I used Turo to rent a BMW 135i convertible in Los Angeles
- Setting up the rental on Turo was easy, communicating with the car owner was painless
- All together, it cost around $100 for a 24-hour rental
- The price seems on-par with normal rentals, but there is a much wider selection of cars
- If you want to try Turo, click here to make a Turo account
How to rent a car with Turo
- Create a Turo account
- Select the dates you need a car
- Find a car in the area that you will be in
- Prices start around $20/day, go up to $200+/day for specialty cars
- Select a protection plan, Turo’s trip insurance
- Submit your rent request — the owner must approve your request
- If your request is accepted, select a car delivery or pickup option
- Meet the owner and get the keys
- Return the car after your trip is over
Select a car on Turo and submit your rental request
When I heard that people could rent their cars on Turo, my first thought was that I should rent out my Mazda3 on Turo and make some money for the days that it sits on the curb unused. I listed my car on Turo, then checked out what other cars were available in my area of Los Angeles. That’s when I got an idea: Why not rent an awesome car and head to the beach?
I started the rental process by creating an account and giving Turo my driver’s license number. You have to be 21 or older to rent from Turo, and if you’re younger than 25, you have to show Turo that you have two full years of driving experience. Next, I set the dates and time I needed the car. Even on such short notice I was able to find a lot of listings nearby. Next, I browsed a map of cars for rent in my area and started shopping around.
Have you ever wanted to drive a convertible for a day? Or a sports car? Turo is great for that. I’ve always wanted to rent a convertible, but it never seemed easy or affordable enough to do that from a normal rental agency. With Turo, I found an awesome BMW 135i convertible for rent in my area that was only going for $78/day, and all I had to do was set the dates I wanted to rent it and send in my rental request.
Select a protection plan
Auto insurance always comes into play when you’re driving a car, and Turo provides a few options for insurance coverage while you’re driving someone else’s car. I’ll be honest — I was so excited to rent a car and get on the road that I didn’t spend nearly as much time thinking about insurance and protection as I should have. Instead, I just selected the protection option that has a $3,000 collision deductible and didn’t worry about the details.
After the ride, I spent a little more time researching how insurance works with Turo and summarized it below:
How insurance works with Turo
- You don’t need your own auto insurance policy to rent a car with Turo
- Turo has a liability policy that pays for damage you do to other cars and drivers, but not for damage you do to the car you rent
- The liability policy generally does not cover your medical expenses
- Turo protection policies cover collision, which is the damage you do to the car you rent
- Your personal liability insurance covers you as a driver, but your personal collision coverage only covers one car. That means you can’t expect your own personal insurance policy to cover collision damage while you drive a Turo car
The big question: Are you covered? Answer: It’s complicated. Your level of coverage depends on your own personal coverage and the plan you select with Turo. If you have your own personal auto insurance policy and you select Turo’s highest level of coverage, you are very well covered. If you go with Basic coverage, Turo’s plan will only pay for the state minimum of liability, which is very low in many states. If you select Basic coverage and get in a major accident, you will probably have to pay for damages out of pocket.
Submit your rental request and select a pickup or delivery option
Like AirBnb, Turo allows car owners to accept or reject rental requests. After I selected the vehicle and a protection plan, I submitted my rental request along with a brief message I wrote to the owner about my plans for the trip and some friendly chatter that I hoped would convince him to approve my request. At this point, you finally click a purchase button that authorizes Turo to charge your credit card after the owner accepts your request.
Turo told me that this owner usually responded to requests in 48 minutes, but it only took 20 minutes for me to hear back. He approved my request and I was given the owner’s phone number and exact location.
Next, I was given a few pickup and delivery options: Meet the owner at his address (free), pick up the car at Los Angeles International Airport ($20), or have the owner of the car deliver it to me ($20). I lived close to the owner, so I chose to pick it up for free.
Pick up the car and take the keys
Around an hour before my rental was set to begin, Turo sent me a reminder text letting me know that my trip was about to start and that I should prepare to meet the owner in the agreed upon spot. Since I was given the owner’s phone number, I sent him a quick heads-up text that I was going to Uber over to his address to pick up the car. He sent me a thumbs up.
I arrived at the owner’s address and texted him when I was outside. He came down, said hi, and pulled his beautiful car out onto his driveway. That’s when I started getting excited. He told me how to start and stop the car, how to raise and lower the convertible top, then handed me the keys, shook my hand, and went back inside his apartment.
Drive! Then return the car
The car was mine to drive and keep for the full 24-hour rental, and I took advantage of the time I had with that beautiful convertible by driving up and down PCH in Malibu, through the Topanga Canyon, then back to my apartment in LA. I took it to dinner on the Sunset Strip, then picked up donuts and coffee with it in the morning.
Around one hour before the trip ended, Turo sent me a reminder text letting me know that the trip was about to end and that I needed to prepare to return the car and fill it with as much gas as I had used. I drove the car to the owner’s address, called him, and handed off the keys. He wanted to know how the trip went, and we spent a few minutes talking about the car. The entire experience felt more like borrowing a car from a friend than renting from a rental agency.
Was Turo worth it?
I thought my trip with Turo was a great experience that was definitely worth it. I got to drive one of my dream cars for a relatively cheap price without much hassle at all. Selecting the car and booking it online felt a lot more seamless than normal car renting and meeting with the actual owner was a lot more social than meeting with the front desk person at a rental agency.
How much did Turo cost me?
- Rental price: $78/day
- Turo fee: $7.80 (10%)
- Basic protection: $11.70
- Fuel expenses: $20.74
- Total cost: $118.24
I paid for a specialty car, so the cost of my trip was a lot higher than it would have been if I had rented an ordinary economical car. Most of the listings on Turo range from $20 – $50, which closely matches typical rental agency prices.
- Huge variety of cars, from economy to sport to luxury
- Easy to shop around and find a car nearby
- Everything is done online on a clean, easy-to-use site
- Feels more fun and personal than normal rental services
- Finding the car and coordinating with the owner may be more work than normal rentals
- Insurance and protection doesn’t feel as open and secure as other rental agencies
- Some nickel and diming for pickup and delivery
- Not always easy to tell if you’re getting a good deal
- Hidden costs: The protection plan, fees, delivery, and gas add up. But this is true for other rental agencies too
Should you try Turo?
If you’re planning to rent a car soon, I’d definitely make an account and check out Turo to see what kind of deal you can get in your area. You’ll find tons of options and it’s a better experience than traditional rental agencies. If you’re a car lover, definitely try it — it’s the easiest way to test drive your dream cars and speak with real owners who can tell you what owning a specialty car is really like.