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I sold my car before moving to Montreal, but I still love taking road trips. This usually means renting a car. And this week I finally had a chance to use Turo Car Rental, a peer to peer car rental service.
Here’s everything you need to know and what to watch for in this Turo Car Rental review.
A Turo Car Rental Review for Travellers
What is Turo Car Rental?
Turo is a person to person carsharing company providing private car rentals to approved drivers.
It’s basically the Airbnb for cars since you’re renting cars from owners.
I’m all about sharing services when it comes to travel. I’ve been using Airbnb for years and it hasn’t let me down so I was super curious to try Turo.
How Does Turo Work?
Turo works much like Airbnb, HomeAway, and VRBO. On Turo, car owners post their vehicles on the website or Turo app. Drivers can browse these listings and start renting cars from owners.
There are hundreds of makes and models available, including luxury vehicles. In fact, luxury vehicles are quite common on Turo, and drivers often go here when looking for specific models.
Unlike regular car rental services, Turo Car Rental allows you to lock down a specific car for your required dates.
What About Turo Insurance?
Since I don’t own a car, I don’t own insurance. I usually use the insurance covered by my credit card but they recently altered their travel program which no longer includes car rental insurance (thanks BMO!).
I’ve heard car rental horror stories from both owners and renters, as well as some stories from Turo renters on Reddit in regards to insurance claims.
So I did as much research as I could on Turo car rental insurance. Let’s dive in some more.
Turo Shield Protection
Just like your regular car rental service, Turo also offers insurance with car rentals called “Turo Shield Protection”.
Turo has partnered with Intact and Belairdirect insurance companies to provide varying levels of coverage.
Turo now has three levels of insurance available to renters. They include:
- $2 million (CAD) liability coverage
- Max $3,000 (CAD) out of pocket for vehicle damage or theft.
This means that the maximum you’ll pay for damages to the vehicle should an accident occur is $3,000 CAD.
Since I don’t have my own insurance, this is the insurance option I take for smaller trips or if I need the car for a very short period of time.
I’d also recommend this option if you know the car owner, and you’ve racked up some good points with them.
You’re more likely to know what to expect the second or third time you rent with a car owner so judge accordingly. If the owner is picky with their vehicle, this coverage may not be enough to protect you in the long run.
Standard (Happy Medium)
- $2 million (CAD) liability coverage
- Max $500 (CAD) out of pocket for vehicle damage or theft.
Same rules apply, this just means you’re less liable for anything should you get dinged from Turo. The most you’d have to pay is $500 on your credit card.
I’d recommend this option for first-time renters, and those who are renting from a first timer on Turo.
As long as you have $500 to spare should anything go wrong, you should be alright and you won’t be adding a ton of extra costs to your rental.
Premier (Peace of Mind)
- $2 million (CAD) liability coverage
- $0 out of pocket for vehicle damage or theft.
This Turo insurance option is the one you pick when you just don’t want to give a heck. This is basically full protection, and should you damage or lose the car, Turo has to handle it all.
This is best for renting luxury vehicles or if you know that the Turo owner you’re renting from is a stickler.
If you’re renting an expensive car, you’ll likely want to stick with this option so you have nothing to worry about.
Can I Use My Own Insurance With Turo?
Yes. Just like regular car rental services, if you have your own car insurance you can stick with that.
You can also add on Turo insurance as an extra precaution. In this case, Turo Shield Protection will act as secondary coverage.
If an incident were to occur, Turo will first go through your primary coverage before taking into account Turo insurance.
Since carsharing is new, it’s important that you check with your car insurance company before declining Turo Shield Protection.
This isn’t just to scare you into taking Turo’s coverage; a number of car insurance providers will cover car rentals, but won’t cover car-sharing. Most drivers know how important insurance wording is.
How to Rent a Car With Turo Car Rental
Renting a car with Turo is super easy. Everything is basically done through the Turo app! That means it works best if you have a smartphone with data.
First thing’s first. Like other sharing economy travel websites, you’ll need to sign up either through the desktop or the Turo app.
You can sign up with your email, Google, or Facebook. If you sign up with Facebook you can use it to help verify your identity.
If it’s your first time using Turo, you’re entitled to a discount. Use this Turo promo code to save about $25 off your first rental!
Search Cars in Your Area
Once you’re all signed up, you get to do the fun bit; look for cars!
You can narrow your search by price range and choose from a wide variety of models.
As mentioned, Turo car rental is super popular for renting luxury vehicles. Depending on where you’re searching, you can expect to see everything from Toyotas to Teslas.
For my budget travellers, there’s an array of low-cost no-frills vehicles to get you from point A to B.
Turo Car Rental Search Tips
- Be sure to check if the car you’re renting is manual or standard. Of course, if you drive both it doesn’t really matter.
- Note the number of kilometres or miles included with the car rental.
- It’s so much easier to pick cars closer to you or the airport for a simple check-in and drop-off.
- Some car owners offer to deliver the car to the airport or an address. This can be for free or will cost extra.
- Always check the total cost including fees to avoid surprises.
Check Reviews and Ratings
Just like Airbnb and restaurants, reviews will give away anything you need to be aware of with the car or the car owner.
If car renters recommend an owner or a car, they’ll be sure to note it in the reviews as well.
I’d avoid renting from owners with a consistent low rating. This could mean a number of things from poor car maintenance to communication issues
Add Insurance If Needed
If you don’t have car rental insurance already, you can add one of Turo’s three options during booking.
The total cost of your rental will be adjusted accordingly so you can see before confirming.
Add Extras If Needed
There are a ton of extras you can add to a Turo car rental booking.
Extras include things like:
- Pre-paid fuel (so you don’t have to worry about filling up before drop-off)
- Post-trip cleaning (don’t worry about clean-up before dropoff – but really, how messy can things get?)
- Unlimited/Extra Mileage
A Note On Adding Miles and Kilometres
The extra mileage is where most users (including myself) feel the most taken advantage of.
Most, if not all car owners on Turo try to make extra dollars from limiting mileage so the driver has to add on extra clicks at an additional cost.
If you’re planning a long road trip, adding extra mileage (or unlimited mileage) can be discouraging. Especially when most car rental companies offer unlimited mileage at no extra cost.
Depending on the car though, this can still work out cheaper than renting from a car rental provider.
The Turo Pick-Up Process
You can check-in to your Turo car rental either in person or straight through the Turo app!
The driver usually gives pick-up instructions when booking or before your departure date.
They can agree to meet up with you to hand off the keys. In this case, be sure to bring your ID, insurance, and any other information the car owner may need.
The car owner can also choose to do a remote hand-off. This means you won’t need the driver there for you to check into the vehicle.
In this case, the owner will notify you and ask that you upload your ID, and a selfie with your ID to confirm your identity.
Since I’m an awkward, curious, introvert, I was thrilled when I was notified that my check-in would be a remote pick-up. Not only did that mean I get to avoid any awkward moments, but I got to see what this remote hand-off really meant.
What to Expect With a Remote Hand-Off
You’ll be given instructions on how to get into the vehicle. This is usually a lockbox placed on the window of the car or nearby.
When you arrive at the vehicle you will have to start the check-in process through the Turo app. The app will then guide you through taking photos of current conditions before proceeding with your booking.
If everything is good to go, the check-in process will then be complete.
The Turo Drop-Off Process
If you need to meet the owner when you return the vehicle you can go through the check-out process with them. It shouldn’t be much harder than checking for any damages and handing back the keys.
If you’re doing a remote drop-off, you’ll need to start the drop-off process through the Turo app.
The app will guide you through, but you’ll usually need to re-take photos of the car, and the dashboard before returning the key to where you found it.
Tips for Renting a Car With Turo
- Research the car you’re thinking of renting so you know what to expect (great if you’re worried about gas – or you can simply ask the owner).
- READ THE REVIEWS! The reviews on Turo are a gift. Read them to know about any warnings or bonuses before booking.
- GET A TURO PROMO CODE. Why pay the extra dollars if you don’t have to?
- Check with your insurance. Some car insurance providers will provide car rental coverage but not for car sharing.
- New listings give an additional $20 Turo discount. If you’re the first to book a car from a new owner, you’ll save an extra $20. Of course, there are no reviews in this scenario, so you’ll be the guinea pig for the rest of Turo.
Why You Should Try Turo Car Rental
The main reason I went with Turo car rental was for convenience and their insurance options.
The cost of adding CDW or other coverage options at the usual car rental providers can really add up.
Turo has cars all over the world, so your good reviews (and credit) go wherever you go! You’ll usually be okay to drive anywhere as long as your license fits the bill.
Turo is also a better option for car renters under 25. There are usually no additional fees.
Turo provides a great alternative if you just need a quick rental with no extra worries. It feels much more personal than renting from big companies. That being said, Turo isn’t the right choice for everyone.
Cons of Renting With Turo Car Rental
If you already have car rental insurance but it doesn’t cover car-sharing, you might get a better option with other car rental providers.
Turo is also still a new service. There are so many grey areas so dealing with some issues like insurance and damages to cars can be a pain. Renting from a reputable Turo car owner will help.
We would definitely use Turo car rental again. In fact, we’re already booked for our next trip!
We rented this car. It wasn’t fancy, but it was comfortable, trouble-free and great on gas (important for budget travel). The owner was friendly, helpful, and everything went really smooth!
As a bonus, the car is located closest to us in comparison to every car rental service in the area! Since the car owner has a parking spot, he also allows us to use it during the rental (in the city, that’s a mega bonus).
Mind you, these are all reasons specific to our needs. But based on these reasons, and the cost of insurance, we hope to continue to use Turo Car Rental in the future.
To Wrap This Up
Okay, I’ve babbled long enough.
Turo can be a beneficial service to travellers. It’s available all over the world and with the chance for car rental discounts, it’s a great budget option too!
It’s a new service with some cons and nicks to sort out, but if you know what you’re getting into, it can serve you well.