Turo is a peer-to-peer carsharing service that connects car renters with vehicle owners. Anyone with a qualifying car can list it for rent on the Turo platform.
Turo has been around for many years, and despite some predictions, it hasn’t turned the rental market upside down. Hertz, Avis, and all the other big-name rental agencies are still running strong.
It turns out that the best rentals on Turo are luxury and specialty vehicles, the types of cars that traditional rental agencies don’t have.
Sure, you can rent a late-model economy car or SUV on Turo, but the best reason to use Turo is for a unique rental.
That could mean a sports car you’ve always wanted to drive or a Sprinter van that Avis and Hertz don’t have in stock.
For my own experience, I rented a BMW convertible in Los Angeles and documented the entire process from beginning to end.
I found that Turo has a wide variety of vehicles with fair and competitive pricing. Overall was a good experience that I would recommend to enthusiasts.
Summary of my experience renting a car on Turo
- 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
- The rental cost around $100 for a 24-hour rental
- The price was on-par with traditional rental agencies
- The pickup and drop-off process can be a hassle, but Turo offers vehicle delivery or convenient pickup locations
- Turo has a wide variety of specialty cars to rent
When is Turo better than a traditional rental?
- For renting unique sports cars, luxury cars, utility vehicles, and classic cars
- When traditional rentals are too expensive or not available
- When the vehicle host is close and convenient
- If Turo can deliver the rental to a convenient location
How Turo works: The rental process from beginning to end
- Download the Turo app or go to Turo.com and make an account
- Select the dates you need a car
- Find a vehicle in the area that you are visiting
- Select an insurance plan to cover your trip
- Arrange pickup: Either meet the owner or pay to have the vehicle dropped off
- Fill the car with the same amount of gas or charge as pickup
- Return the vehicle after your trip is over
Start by creating an account and selecting a car
When I heard that anyone could rent out their car on Turo, 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 create an account on Turo, and you have to show Turo that you have two full years of driving experience if you’re younger than 25.
Some vehicle owners may require even older drivers. For example, a Porsche listing in my area required renters to be 30 or older.
Next, I set the dates and times I needed the car. Even on short notice, I was able to find a lot of listings nearby. 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 typical 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.
How insurance works: Select a protection plan or use your own insurance
You have several options for auto insurance on Turo rentals: You can choose to pay for a protection plan from Turo or decline coverage and use only your personal insurance.
If you have insurance, Turo’s liability insurance supplements your personal coverage. Liability coverage is up to $750,000 in the US.
Most Turo rentals offer a Minimum and Standard protection plan.
Minimum protection has a $3,000 maximum out-of-pocket. With standard protection, the maximum is $500.
The cost of protection depends on the vehicle that you rent. More expensive cars will have more expensive protection plans, and economy cars will have cheaper protection.
Does your personal auto insurance cover a Turo rental?
You should contact your insurer to ask if your policy covers Turo rentals. While personal policies typically cover traditional rentals, they may not cover peer-to-peer rentals.
Turo has a strong warning about using your own auto insurance: “Unless you’re confident that your personal insurance will cover you, we strongly advise that you select a protection plan when booking your trip. Some insurance companies exclude coverage for peer-to-peer car sharing. And your credit card company may not provide coverage for a Turo trip. It’s best to check with your insurer or your broker before making your decision””
Submit your rental request and complete the booking
Like Airbnb, Turo allows vehicle 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 (optional) message to the owner.
Turo told me that this owner usually responded to requests within 48 minutes, but a reply came after only 20 minutes.
The owner approved my request, and I was given the owner’s phone number and exact location.
How do you get the vehicle? Pickup and delivery options
So, how do you actually get the car? You can either pick it up from the host or pay to have it delivered.
Picking up the car at the host’s location is free. But that’s not always convenient or even possible, especially when traveling without a car.
If you prefer to have the vehicle delivered, filter your search for hosts that offer delivery. Deliveries will be only at partnered locations, usually hotels and airports.
And hosts can choose where they deliver to, so make sure to check that your host can deliver to your preferred location.
IMAGE: MAP OF DELIVERY LOCATIONS
Delivery costs around $15–$80, depending on the location and how much the host chooses to charge for the delivery service.
Airport delivery is the most expensive option. For example, delivery to LAX was $80, but delivery to a nearby hotel was only $15.
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.
I sent the owner a quick heads-up that I was going to Uber 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 the street.
He told me how to use the push-to-start ignition and how to raise and lower the convertible top. Then he handed me the keys, shook my hand, and sent me on my way.
Drive! Then return the car
The car was mine to drive and keep for the full 24-hour rental. So I took advantage of the time I had with my rental by driving up and down PCH in Malibu, through the Topanga Canyon, then back to 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 informing me 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.
My review: Was Turo worth it?
My trip with Turo was a great experience. I got to drive one of my dream cars for a relatively low price without much hassle.
Selecting the car and booking it online felt more seamless than average car renting, and meeting with the actual owner was much 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 my trip cost was higher than it would have been if I had rented an ordinary economical car.
Many of the listings on Turo range from $$50–$100 per day, 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
- Easy-to-use app and website with great communication features
- It feels more fun and personal than standard rental services
- Finding the car and coordinating with the owner may be more work than standard rentals
- Insurance and protection may require more research than typical rental agencies
- Delivery can add significant cost
- Hidden costs: The protection plan, fees, delivery, and gas can add up. But that is true for other rental agencies too
Turo vs. Zipcar vs. Getaround
Turo isn’t the only peer-to-peer car rental service, and it’s not the only way to get access to a vehicle for a short term.
Getaround and Zipcar are two other good options for short-term rentals.
|Price||$6/hour and up||~$25/day and up||~$11/hour, ~$80/day|
|Rental Period||Hourly or Daily||Daily||Houry or Daily|
|Mileage Limit||20/rental hour, 200/day max||Set by owner. Typically 200/day||180/day|
|Minimum Renter Age||19||21||21, or 18-20 if affiliated with a University|
|Insurance||Liability and collision included. $3,000 deductible, or $500/$250 with Plus/Premium rentals||Liability included. Collision available with $3,000 deductible or $500 for additional cost||Liability and collision Included in rental cost. $1,000 deductible|
|Membership Fee||None||None||$8/month, $80/year|
|Vehicle Pickup||Renter travels to car||Renter travels to car. Owner can drop the car off for extra charge||Renter travels to car|
|Vehicle Drop-off||Renter returns car to pickup location||Renter returns car to pickup location. Owner can pick up the car for extra charge||Renter returns car to pickup location. One-way trips available in some cites|
|Fuel Expenses||Fuel costs not included. Renter returns fuel to original level.||Fuel costs not included. Renter returns fuel to original level. Fuel costs not included||Zipcar covers fuel expenses. Renter uses Zipcar gas card to buy fuel|
More information about other car rental services
If you’re an auto enthusiast, definitely try Turo. It’s the easiest way to test drive dream cars and speak with real owners who can tell you what owning a specialty car is really like.