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“My AMAZING (and Affordable) Convertible Car Rental Experience Using Turo!”

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“My AMAZING (and Affordable) Convertible Car Rental Experience Using Turo!”

Million Mile Secrets“My AMAZING (and Affordable) Convertible Car Rental Experience Using Turo!”Million Mile Secrets Team

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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.

Turo Car Rental Review
I Haven’t Seen This Car in the Emerald Aisle at National Car Rental!

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

Link:   Turo

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.

Turo Car Rental Review
The Turo Valet Lot Near Los Angeles Airport Had Lots of Luxurious Cars Available for Rent. There Were Regular Everyday Cars, Too!

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.

Turo Car Rental Review
Enter a City or Airport and Your Travel Dates to See What Cars Are Available for Rent

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:

  • Price
  • 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
  • Color
  • Transmission
Turo Car Rental Review
Turo Gives You Several Options for Customizing Your Car Rental Search

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.

Turo Car Rental Review
Paying ~$130 per Day to Rent a Relatively New Corvette Convertible to Drive Along the California Coast Seemed Like a Great Deal to Me!

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.

Turo Car Rental Review
Previous Reviews Give You an Idea About the Accuracy of the Listing

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?

Link:   Turo & Insurance Protection

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.

Turo Car Rental Review
You Can Pay for Physical Insurance Protection to Limit Your Out-of-Pocket Expenses

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.

Bottom Line

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!

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Editorial Note: We're the Million Mile Secrets team. And we're proud of our content, opinions and analysis, and of our reader's comments. These haven’t been reviewed, approved or endorsed by any of the airlines, hotels, or credit card issuers which we often write about. And that’s just how we like it! :)

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Turo left my two daughters and I stranded with no vehicle hundreds of dollars in additional costs (taxi, camping expenses and alternative accommodation). When they did not show up at the airport, we went to their location… nobody at that address with that name…. no vehicle…. no recourse!

Beware of this company!

Lost a full day of my vacation and two days trying unsuccessfully to get reimbursed for extra expenses caused by them.

Avoid Turo like the plague!

I rented Tesla and Mercedes GLS450 via Turo in San Francisco back in 2018 and recommended to my wife. However, my wife was decline to rent because she is not “eligible” and asked her to provide driving records from DMV. She has tier 1 credit score, used AMEX platinum card and her driving record is spotless….. except she had handicap status due to her Multiple Scrosis.

We asked why she is not eligible, Turo customer support told us differ reasons every time we chat or spoke. Then asked to take a picture with driver’s license and send. Chatted and spoke with 9 customer support and fail to rent a car and wasted whole 2 days and the trip has been cancelled.

All the stressful exchanges and long wait, Frank from Verification department just made us HATE Turo now. Keep talking over me and rudest manner and tone to us, the customer!!! Frank has no clue the meaning of customer support!!!

Most likely, Turo descriminate against handicap drives and Turo does not want MS driver even though she can drive better than me.

We see and hear the quality of people who operating Turo last 2 days. Maybe good idea of startup, but this management team will fail in long run.

Just rented a car from Enterpirse. They picked up us and didn’t decline or asked for driving record.

Never use Turo again and 100% do not recommend to friends.

I warmed up quickly to the principle of renting cars from their owners. Saving money has that effect on most of us. You just have to hope that the company you deal with has principles you can trust. got things started and we, merrily, signed on for our family vacation near Disney.

Plans soon ran amuck when the car, which we had already been charged for, proved to be unavailable. The car owner, called hosts on Turo, had opted out of Turo a year ago. When we knocked on her door, the host was shocked and disappointed to learn that her Ford Escape was still being shown to be available on Turo’s website. Having just paid the Lyft driver forty dollars to arrive at the host’s door, we joined her in shock and disappointment – then paid another sixty to be driven to the home we’d rented.

Based on our experience, here are some takeaways you can learn from.

Turo is very customer-friendly and accessible during the sign-up and registering process.

Turo is virtually inaccessible if things go wrong.
No phone access, despite a listing on Google. Call that number and you’ll be informed that it is no longer in service, and that they’ve asked Google to remove it.

Turo does provide email access, although your questions are simply directed to their knowledge base. If you persist, you can finally get a message to go – but I can’t tell you where. Just ran a quick count of my emails to Turo: 24 over a 4-day span – here’s the response rate:

Warm and prompt response to the first 14 emails covering the Welcome, Registration, Credit approval, and confirmation of booking the Ford Escape.

Absolutely no response to the next round of emails reflecting my concern that the host had not replied to my emails or texts. In the Turo system, the host lets you know how the keys to her vehicle will be handed off. On her doorstep, the former Turo host told us that she changed her email and phone number when she severed her connection with Turo. That explains why I didn’t hear back from her.

It remains unexplained why Turo would not get back to me. I sent a series of panicky emails asking them to reassure me that everything was okay, the last one sent just before boarding the plane for Orlando.

I did consider cancelling when Turo wouldn’t respond, but as you might expect, there is a nasty penalty, so I rolled the dice. Snake eyes!

Visa is promising to dispute our charges, and we’ll have a chat with our lawyer when we get home. I hope you can learn from our experience, and avoid the disappointments we had to deal with. I love the concept of this form of renting – and will be keeping an eye open for other companies opening up in this field. Don’t know much about beyond what I’ve read on their website, but it appears they’ll be launching soon.

Here’s to hassle-free travels. For us, it’ll be Turo-free.

P.S. I just attempted to send a copy of my review to Turo – the email bounced back with this note:

We’re no longer accepting support requests through this e-mail but we’re happy to help. Please visit our support center at Ironically, when I used that link there is no way for my email to go through unless I want to book a car or become a host.

Caveat emptor.

Keith how do you handle liability coverage for your rental?

Turo provider up to $1 million of liability coverage if you select their Premium protection plan. Otherwise, you get liability coverage based on the minimum requirements set by the state where you’re renting.

Personally, I have an umbrella policy because it’s relatively inexpensive for the amount of coverage you get.