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Review: Turo can be a money-maker — but don’t skimp on the insurance

Turo car rental valet lot on Tuesday, December 24, 2019 in Los Angeles, California.
A Turo car rental valet lot in Los Angeles in December.
(Jason Armond / Los Angeles Times)

What: Turo allows you to rent out a spare car — or many spare cars — to travelers and neighbors, paying a variable commission

Expected pay: $25 to $150 per day (depending on the car)

Husl $core: $$$$

Commissions & fees: 10% to 35%

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Where: Atlanta, Montreal, Boston, San Diego, Chicago, San Francisco, Denver, Seattle, Honolulu Toronto, Houston, Washington, D.C. and Los Angeles

Requirements:

  • A spare car;
  • the ability to meet renters at a convenient drop-off point, most likely an airport

Review:

The reviews of this site are all over the map, ranging from people who love it to those who have had bad experiences. However, the set-up appears to be attractive for those who want to rent out a spare car that’s otherwise sitting in the garage.

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Turo allows you to register your car; say when it is available; and set a rental rate. Turo can also suggest a rental rate for you, based on the site’s dynamic pricing formula. You can even restrict the number of miles the driver can put on the car without being penalized.

You get from 90% to 65% of the rental fees, depending on the type of insurance coverage you take out. Waive the insurance and you get 90% of the rental fees; take full coverage and you get just 65%.

But don’t waive the coverage without a back-up. Unless you have commercial lines coverage on your vehicle, your ordinary auto coverage is not going to cover your car when you have a renter. (See our insurance post.) Moreover, a typical policy has a deductible that would prevent it from kicking in when someone dents or scratches the vehicle.

If you take out Turo’s premium coverage, which has no deductible, it will compensate you for lost rental fees and provide a replacement vehicle while yours is being repaired. In our opinion, it’s worth the cost.

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Turo is the best-rated opportunity in this category. However, it works best when you’re renting out an inexpensive used-car in a tourist area. One Colorado car-owner says it’s worked so well for him that he’s purchased four used cars (all for between $3,000 and $4,000) and earns a $300 to $400 monthly profit on each.

Do make sure you have adequate insurance coverage on the car. Other sites where you can rent your car to other drivers: Fetch, GetAround and HyreCar. We don’t recommend any of them, but for different reasons. Fetch and GetAround use keyless technology that costs you money to install and doesn’t always work.

HyreCar has rotten insurance coverage and a nightmarish claims process. Want an idea of what can go wrong? Read the comments on our HyreCar review or this Ron Lieber column in the New York Times.

However, we do recommend signing up with Giggster, if you have a classic car that might be interesting to photographers and filmmakers. Cars rent on that site by the hour for, sometimes, hundreds of dollars per hour.

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What their car listers say:

What happens when someone crashes your luxury car ;

“Claims resolution is a nightmare! After over 100 rentals of my cars and three cars listed, I can never get resolution with one phone call. Recently a 21-year-old renter booked my BMW. I chose to deny the booking, yet Turo charged me $25 to cancel the reservation.”

“I rented out my Mini Cooper. The renter returned my car with the scratches on the rim, a cigarette burn on the seat and ashes all over the floor, and a permanent scratch on the dash. I have reported this within 24 hours. They deny the claim saying that the renter says he received the car in this condition although I had pictures to prove it that the car was immaculate when I gave it to him.”

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Kristof is the editor of SideHusl.com, an independent website that reviews money-making opportunities in the gig economy.


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