What It’s Really Like Using Turo – “Airbnb for Cars”

You read that title right – Turo is a peer-to-peer carsharing company based in San Francisco, United States. The company allows private car owners to rent out their vehicles via an online and mobile interface in over 56 countries.

Their service is set up really similar to Airbnb. People list their cars on Turo and can rent them out per day. People make a profile, rate each other, and are insured through Turo.

Turo calls itself a car-sharing service that gives people the ability to share their own privately owned cars. I’ve now rented a car in Dallas, Denver, DC, Hawaii, Chicago, Las Vegas, and more with tons of listings in these cities. Here’s what it’s really like using Turo.

Table of Contents

What is Turo? 

Turo is an American peer-to-peer carsharing company based in San Francisco. The company allows private car owners to rent out their own vehicles via their website and mobile apps in five countries.

My first experience with Turo was actually with my dad. He introduced me to the app, and we rented a car over Christmas to visit family in Oklahoma. As always, my tech-savvy dad is the one in the loop about the cool new trends on the internet! I was really impressed with it and how smooth it went, so when we needed a car for our recent trip to Arizona, I wanted to try it out. I’m so glad I did.

So… now that you know what Turo is, here is what it’s really like using Turo from my two experiences! Also, isn’t this drive amazing?! A road trip through Arizona is pretty amazing.

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Getting Started with Turo

The first thing you’ve got to do is sign up via the website or app. If you’ve got a Facebook, it’s best to use this because that’s one of the ways they verify you’re a real person and trustworthy. After you’ve signed up, they’ll ask you for your license, email, and other forms of verification. You cannot rent a car until you are approved to drive. You can be approved if you are 21 or older with a valid license. If you’ve got a valid license and a clear profile picture, you should get approved really quickly.

The site does have messaging, reviews, and prices listed for each car. I really liked that people set their own prices and decided on their own. Because we were renting for a week, we got a discount of over $12 off a day. 

Meanwhile, car rental companies in Vegas where we flew into were going to charge us over $400 for the week. NO thank you!

Finding and Picking the Right Car

Once you’ve been approved and made a profile, you can start looking for cars and contacting people. I chose to write to a person with several reviews and quick replies since it was my first time using the service. I wanted to make sure the whole thing was really seamless, and I worked with someone who was really knowledgeable about the service with great reviews. It ended up working out great!

You can set price limits, car type, delivery, and plenty more filters on the website. The best part is that each car is listed by someone, and most cars are brand new. We paid $22 a day for a brand new Toyota Carola which had a really nice touch screen for music/navigation, all automatic, all the fancy buttons and whistles. A car this size with the upgrades it had would have been much more expensive from a rental car company.

The big thing you have to worry about when using Turo is the mileage limits. Each person gets to set their limit for the number of miles you can drive a day. Ours was set at 200 a day or 1200 miles for the week with a charge of 50 cents for every mile after that. We had to be careful with how many miles we used, and it became really inconvenient on a road trip. Make sure you read the fine print before deciding on a car.

Car Insurance

You don’t have to have your own car insurance with Turo, but you can use your own. Turo’s coverage covers the car and other drivers but not you when you are driving, so make sure you choose a policy that covers you, too. 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.

So basically, it’s really 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. However, 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. This means that if you select Basic coverage and get in a major accident, you will probably have to pay for damages out of pocket.

Read more details on their policy here to make a decision that is right for you.

Drop Off and Pick Up

This was one of the most interesting things I noticed about using Turo. Many of the cars on Turo will pick you up and drop you off anywhere you would like without an extra fee. Some car rentals do ask you to pay a fee for this though so again, read the listing carefully.

This means you could have the car delivered to your house, hotel, or meet you at the airport no problem. It is super convenient and easy. We changed our pick up location so many times without a single issue. It was great when we had more flexible plans and weren’t sure where we would be when we needed to leave. We were able to drop off at the airport when our trip was over as well.

Pick up and drop off of the car itself was really easy. I met the owner who did an inspection with me of the car. We both took a few pictures of scratches and bumps on the car, the odometer, and then he told me about the car. We both confirmed pick up on the app and the car was mine! The exact same thing happened when I dropped the car off as well. It was easy and took less than 5 minutes on both ends.

Support from Turo

While we had our rental, we decided to extend our trip another day with the car. This meant that we had to go into the app and ask the person we were renting the car from if this was okay. She said yes and to go ahead and book but there was an issue with the app. I ended up calling their service line to check on things.

I was impressed with the support. Within 5 minutes, I was on the phone with someone who was cheerful and really helpful. I was impressed with the fast and helpful service. The problem was solved in less than 10 minutes. If you’ve ever had to talk with support, you know how quick and awesome that is!

Overall Pros and Cons

Pros:

    1. cheap prices and discounts for new members
    2. easy to use app and website
    3. fast support
    4. quick communication
    5. pick up and drop off anywhere in the city; read the fine print!

Cons:

    1. mileage restrictions
    2. fee for pick up and drop off on some vehicles
    3. age restriction
What is it really like using Turo? Find all the details on renting a car through the app for the first time.
What is it really like using Turo? Find all the details on renting a car through the app for the first time.

Overall, I think Turo was definitely worth using and signing up for. I hope after reading this you’re able to get a sense of what it’s really like using Turo. I would definitely use it again, but probably not for a long road trip where we had to drive so much! Interested in signing up for Turo and trying it out?

Meghan

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