Ride-hailing and ride-sharing apps have dominated the market not only in the US but across the globe, too. However, while apps like Uber and Lyft come in handy, they’re not always enough for transportation. That’s especially true if you need to drive across states or need a car for more than one ride. This, my friends, is precisely why Turo exists. What is Turo, then? In plain language, Turo is the Airbnb for cars in which you can rent a service vehicle instead of a vacation home. Let’s examine everything the app does and how you can use it for your next trip.
Also read: Best Apps Like Turo
Inside this Article
- What Is Turo and How Does It Work?
- Things to Remember When Picking a Car on Turo
- Pros and Cons of Turo
- Should You Go With Turo?
In the past, traveling was something only the richest people could access. However, as time passed and technology trickled down, regular people started gaining access to travel services. Nowadays, you can book flights and accommodations on the cheap — thanks to peer-to-peer apps like Airbnb. Likewise, Turo is trying to do the same thing but with the average Joe’s cars.
Through Turo, car owners can make a bit of extra money by renting out their cars. This makes it more of a peer-to-peer rental service instead of a full-fledged car leasing or rental company. In addition, this is the reason why Turo has a plethora of car listings on its app. Think of it as borrowing someone else’s car (for a fee) through a middleman.
However, just because Turo sort of “shares rides” with others doesn’t mean it’s a ride-sharing app. It’s different from apps like Uber and Lyft because it doesn’t provide a driver. The app doesn’t give you a taxi to get you from point A to B. Instead, you have to drive the rental car yourself and shoulder the parking, gas, and other associated costs.
With all that said, what is Turo aiming for? How is it different from a regular car rental agency? To be honest, it’s not completely different from traditional rent-a-car services. Hence, its bookings are great when you need transportation for long trips or weekend getaways. On the other hand, what makes it unique is that it’s generally more affordable than standard rental services. That’s because of the peer-to-peer nature of the business – car owners don’t usually mind charging lower prices.
Turo isn’t lacking in variety when it comes to car classes. You can book a rental according to your taste or budget whenever you please. Some car owners are even willing to rent out luxury cars to help you impress your new date. Regardless of the car you need, Turo has reliable cars ranging from Sedans to expensive luxury vehicles.
The price listing on Turo varies widely and hinges on the type of car you want. The brand, model, and the owner’s price all contribute to the pricing. Hence, don’t expect all the cars on the app to be dirt-cheap just because it’s peer-to-peer.
Moreover, Turo’s cars are generally much cheaper compared to regular rental agencies. Some cars even go for just $25 per day (although prices like these usually exclude insurance). If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can even rent a Tesla Model 3 for just $150-$200. That’s not too bad, considering you’ll only get a Buick Regal for that kind of price from a traditional renter.
As for payment methods, Turo generally accepts all the major credit cards in the US. Hence, you can use Amex, Discover, Visa, or MasterCard when you check out. Moreover, users within the US or Canada can also pay via Google Pay if that’s more convenient. Apple Pay, however, is only allowed in the US.
There are two types of car bookings within Turo. The first one is the “Book Instantly” which doesn’t ask for owner approval. “Regular Booking,” on the other hand, does – and the confirmation will come within 8 hours.
For the most part, we recommend using Regular Booking instead of booking cars instantly. While it might sound slow, booking instantly might force you to work with unreliable hosts. Moreover, all-star hosts don’t usually take too long to confirm requests through Regular Booking. Consequently, it’s the more reliable way to go unless you’re truly in a rush.
Once you’ve chosen a car, it’s time to check out your order. To do this, you’ll need to indicate a pickup and return location in the app. You can also ask for the car to be delivered directly to your doorstep – but that will cost a fee. If you go via the traditional route, you’ll find a list of possible pick-up/drop-off locations indicated by the host. These are usually free, although farther locations may cost extra.
Afterward, it’s a pretty straightforward process to complete the booking. You can add extras like prepaid fuel, child safety seats, cleaning, and more – with respective charges, of course. Then, you’ll need to key in your personal information and scan your license.
After that, it’s time to choose your Turo insurance protection plan. You can choose either Premium, Basic, or Minimum coverage with each varying in both price and protection coverage. Lastly, it’s time to enter your payment details and then coordinate the rental with the host.
Booking a ride with Turo might be easy but not every request will push through. Plans can change and sometimes unforeseen circumstances are unavoidable, forcing you to cancel your booking.
Thankfully, it isn’t unreasonable when it comes to cancellation. You can easily cancel a rental through Turo’s app or website. Afterward, just inform the owner of the cancellation to fully cancel the deal. It doesn’t cost anything to cancel your booking, either. However, this is only applicable if you cancel at least 24 hours before the agreed rental time. Otherwise, you’ll incur a charge and won’t get a full refund on your booking.
How much is the cancellation fee? Generally speaking, trips over two days will incur a cancellation fee of one day’s trip price. Anything shorter than that will incur you 50% of a day’s trip. On the other hand, if the host cancels on you, you’ll get a full refund. The host will then be charged.
Prices listed on Turo don’t usually come with insurance. You’ll have to add that to the charges afterward during the booking process. However, if you’re already insured, you may want to talk to your car insurance company before renting. Some companies already cover their policyholders as part of their contracts.
If you don’t have existing car insurance, you can purchase one separately through Turo. The app has several different car insurance levels that you can avail of. Regardless of what you get, you’ll at least have basic rental liability insurance guaranteed. This can cover you for up to $750,000 and starts at $20 a day.
Picking up your rental is pretty simple. For one thing, you can have the car delivered right to you for a fee. This makes things easier and eliminates the hassle of the pick-up process. However, if you’d like to save money, you can also get the car yourself from a designated location.
As we’ve stated, the location will vary depending on the host. Some hosts will meet you personally to provide you with the key at a designated time and place. Others will interview you to make sure you’re screened properly and things go well. Still, others will provide specific instructions on how to access the car keys in specific areas to limit contact.
You don’t need to worry about the app being inaccessible across the US. That’s because it’s mostly available nationwide. In addition, Turo is available outside of the United States. More specifically, you can access its services in Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom. However, Canadian travelers might be limited to certain provinces like British Columbia, Ontario, Nova Scotia, Quebec, and Alberta.
Turo seems to take safety and security very seriously. For example, it charges hosts a $100 fee if they haven’t properly maintained a vehicle. If a host consistently doesn’t maintain their car, Turo may even unlist the vehicle from the app.
Of course, the conditions for car maintenance aren’t arbitrary. Turo lists a few conditions to determine whether a car is well-maintained or not. Some of these include ASE certification, repairs of basic components, and more. As such, you do have some level of security when you book a car from an all-star host.
Furthermore, Turo is also pretty supportive in case of emergencies. The service even offers roadside assistance for rental cars for a $200 fee.
Picking a car from a rental service like Turo can be tricky. For one thing, there are a ton of options to choose from – and taste is certainly a consideration. In addition, you need to have a keen eye when choosing a car. Here are some things you should check out before you book a car on Turo.
1. Booking the Right Car
The Toyota Corolla is one of the most rented cars on Turo, but there remain more exciting selections to choose from. Through the app, you can pick from over 800 unique cars and models. All you need to do is to match your pick with the occasion. For instance, if you are going for an offroad adventure, the Jeep Wrangler would be a nice pick. If you are traveling with a party, you can rent a mid-sized sedan or an SUV.
On the Turo app, you can find just the type of car you want using the handy in-app filters. You can filter cars by type (SUV, minivan, truck, etc.), automatic vs. manual transmission, price, and more. In fact, you can even filter cars by the number of seats or car color.
Furthermore, Turo also has 3 car classes including Business, Deluxe, and Super Deluxe. The Business class will filter your options based on which cars are best for business-related travel. On the other hand, Deluxe and Super Deluxe Cars are more catered to guests over 25 or 35 years old. You can circumvent these rules and book a Deluxe car if you’re below 25. However, Turo will ask for a $1,500 deposit for safety reasons.
2. Mileage and Distance
Of course, booking the most luxurious car on Turo is a real option for people with money. However, regardless of how mouth-wateringly beautiful a car is, you’ll always have to pay attention to mileage. That’s because rental hosts implement limits on how many miles you can drive a day. So, what is Turo like when it comes to mileage restrictions?
Well, it all hinges on what the host sets. Each listing will have a different mileage limit so you should check that first before doing anything. Folks who need a road-trip-ready car might want something with a lot more mileage. However, if you just need to drive to a job interview then it might not be such a big deal. Regardless of the use case, make sure to calculate the distance you need to travel before renting a car.
Of course, you can add miles beyond the limit set by the owner – but know that this will cost you. Each mile incurs charges unless you request a formal extension within the app. If a host isn’t accommodating, then requesting an extension might be beyond reach.
3. Host Ratings
Like other peer-to-peer services, hosts play a big role in Turo’s services. Hence, just as Uber drivers get ratings, so do hosts of rental cars from Turo.
It’s important to check a host’s reviews and ratings before booking a car. If you find a good host, they might be more understanding and accommodating of your requests. Others, however, won’t be so kind when it comes to extending mileage or handling concerns.
4. Owner Guidelines
Hosts who rent out an Airbnb can dictate the rules customers abide by – and the same is true for Turo. Hence, you must check an owner’s guidelines before you book. For example, some owners don’t allow pets in the car while others do. Moreover, most owners have a no-smoking policy in place so it’s best to steer clear of that.
The most important guideline to abide by is probably whether the host wants their car refueled. Hosts also generally provide instructions on how you should return or drop off their car. These rules and guidelines will vary per owner, though, so be sure to double-check before you finalize the transaction.
Of course, like with any car rental service, Turo has its ups and downs. It won’t be the rental service you go for every time and it certainly isn’t flawless. What are its pros and cons? Here’s a rundown of the things that make it great and the things that make it, well, not so much.
- Convenient and easy to use
- Cheaper than most car rental companies
- Lots of vehicle varieties for you to choose from
- Allows young adults below 21 to rent a car for relatively low fees
- Less available in remote areas
- Not as widely available internationally
- Can’t handle one-way trips
- Quality control can be difficult
- Large commission fee (for hosts)
So, now that we’ve explained what Turo is all about, you might be thinking of using the service. However, do its pros outweigh the cons, and is it better than simply renting a car from a traditional agency? The answer: not all the time.
Firstly, we acknowledge that Turo is miles more convenient than other car rental companies. It has a convenient app that bridges you with the many hosts under the service. In addition, it’s usually much cheaper to rent and even provides a way for car owners to earn extra income. Overall, there are tons of advantages Turo has to offer for both renters and car owners.
Note, however, that Turo prices are extremely volatile and can change depending on the area. Thus, it’s best to check the rates first before you completely put traditional rental services off the table.
Turo is also not the best service to get if you’re looking for convenient drop-off points for one-way trips. That’s because you usually need to return the car to the owner’s location (or somewhere nearby). With traditional rental companies, on the other hand, you’re allowed to drop off cars at the nearest branch. This gives regular car rental services an edge, especially if people want to rent cars to move to new cities.
With that said, both Turo and traditional car rental companies can be useful. It all hinges on the use case and circumstance. If you need something fast, accessible, and immediate, then we can highly recommend Turo. However, if you need to go on one-way trips, traditional car rentals are the way to go.