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Keith: I personally don’t own a car. So I look forward to renting a car when traveling for an opportunity to get behind the wheel. Typically, I book the cheapest vehicle available through National Car Rental.
But for a recent drive along the Pacific Coast Highway to Santa Barbara, California, I decided to try out Turo (formerly known as RelayRides). If you’re not familiar with Turo, it’s like Airbnb, but for car rentals. So regular folks list their vehicles for rent.
Searching Turo, I found there were more car types available compared to your typical rental car company. That’s how I was able to book a 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible with a 7-speed manual transmission!
Overall, my Turo experience was extremely positive. I’ll share how Turo works so you can decide if it’s worth considering for your next trip.
My Turo Car Rental Review
When you rent a vehicle on Turo, you’ll typically meet directly with the owner to pick-up the car. Some owners offer to drop their vehicle off to you at the airport (for a fee), which is convenient if you’re looking to avoid using a regular rental car company.
My experience was different because I started my journey in Los Angeles, which has Turo Valet. There’s a dedicated parking lot ~10 minutes from the Los Angeles airport where folks renting their cars can leave them parked. Then, Turo Valet staff handle the pick-up and drop-off.
Currently, Turo Valet is only available in Los Angeles and San Francisco. There were 200+ cars at the Los Angeles airport Turo lot when I picked up my rental. So it seems to be a popular side hustle for car owners looking to generate extra income.
You must sign-up for Turo (it’s free to create an account!) and verify your identity prior to renting a car. But you can look at the vehicles without having an account.
You’ll have to be at least 21 years old to rent on Turo. And certain owners set their own age requirements. For example, I came across a listing for a Ferrari, which only accepted reservation requests from folks 30+.
I like how Turo lets you customize your search for a vehicle. For example, you can apply filters based on:
- Cars available to book instantly
- Mileage included in rental
- Vehicle features (bike rack, ski rack, convertible, etc.)
- Vehicle type (car, SUV, minivan, etc.)
- Vehicle make and model
The prices are set by the car owner. This means there can be a wide range for the same type of vehicle. But I found prices to be reasonable, especially for vehicles you wouldn’t be able to rent at a regular rental car company. For example, my Corvette rental was ~$130 per day.
Keep in mind, most rentals on Turo have strict limits for mileage. My rental allowed for 150 miles per day. So if you’re planning to use Turo to book a car for a road trip, be sure to run the numbers to avoid excess mileage fees.
Turo has a review and ratings system similar to Airbnb. So before you rent, you can read what others had to say.
Like lots of companies in the sharing economy, Turo is essentially facilitating the rental between the car owner and the renter. There’s a lot of fine print on Turo’s website saying owners are responsible for making sure the listed vehicle is in good mechanical condition.
I definitely understand putting your trust in a stranger’s car might NOT be for everyone. That said, National Car Rental once charged me a $500 fee to rent a different vehicle. So it’s possible to have negative experiences with large, reputable companies, too!
What About Insurance?
First, keep in mind that travel rewards credit cards with primary rental car coverage do NOT cover rentals on Turo.
Turo does not require you to have your own personal insurance coverage in order rent a car. But if you do have your own insurance policy, it might be worth checking your coverage to see if applies when you’re driving other vehicles.
As a renter on Turo, you also have the option of purchasing physical protection coverage at checkout. There are 2 options, which cost ~$15 to ~$35 per day. These plans can limit your out-of-pocket expense in case you’re in an accident during your rental.
You may also choose to decline insurance through Turo. But if the car is damaged or stolen during your rental, you’re personally responsible for up to the full value of the vehicle.
For a drive along the Pacific Coast Highway, I decided to rent a car through Turo (formerly known as RelayRides). Turo is like Airbnb, but for car rentals. There are many types of vehicles listed for rent on Turo, ranging from regular everyday cars to fancy luxurious convertibles.
When you rent through Turo, you’ll typically meet directly with the owner to pick-up and drop-off the car. But in Los Angeles and San Francisco, there’s Turo Valet. These are dedicated lots with Turo rental cars close to the airports with full-time staff that handle the pick-up process.
Overall, I had a positive experience. I thought renting an awesome 2016 Chevrolet Corvette Stingray convertible with a 7-speed manual transmission for $130 per day was a great deal!
Have you tried Turo? I’d love to hear your experience!