About Turo

Published on: Mar 12, 2016

You’ve always dreamed of cruising Route 66 — just not in a standard sedan. Enter Turo: This peer-to-peer carsharing service is kind of like AirBnb, except instead of allowing hosts to offer spare rooms, you can transform your idling assets into an earning machine.

For folks who are in need of wheels, Turo works to differentiate itself from the standard car rental service by promising you your pick of the lot. Whether it's an F-150 truck to help out on moving day, a Tesla for a luxurious weekend away, or a classic VW bus for a picture-perfect road trip, Turo claims to help travelers rent the car and own the adventure.

However, anyone who’s ever rented a car the knows the process comes with its fair share of hoops. Who hasn’t fretted over whether or not to buy full coverage or wondered if they missed a scratch during the initial walk around?

Let’s take a closer look to see if Turo really offers enough support to hand over keys or get you into the driver’s seat.

How To Rent a Car With Turo

With a presence in over 2,500 cities and 300 airports, the chances are that there’s an opportunity to rent with Turo wherever you’re traveling stateside.

Why would you choose Turo? They claim to offer:

  • Choice: Hundreds of unique cars for every occasion and every budget.
  • Value: The car you want, when and where you want it, at up to 30% less than traditional agencies.
  • Accessibility: The chance to book cars from home or on the go.

Feeling revved up? Here’s how Turo works.

First, you’ll need to sign up for Turo with Facebook, Google, or your email. They need to confirm your identity and eligibility so you can become an approved driver, so you might want to take this step before arriving.

Using either Turo’s app or their website, you enter your travel dates and location for locally owned cars. Once you find a set of wheels you like, you’ll have to request to rent it. The owner can either confirm or decline your request within eight hours. However, some vehicles are available immediately, thanks to a “Book Instantly” badge.

Turo claims that picking up your rental is easy, promising that many owners will deliver their vehicle to you. More so, Turo claims all you have to do is “walk around the car, show them your license, grab the keys, and drive off into the sunset.”

When you’re done? Replace the gas you’ve used, do-si-do one more walk around, and hand over the keys before planning your next adventure.

Your Responsibilities As a Turo Renter

Turo doesn’t require you to have your own insurance. Instead, they offer renters three choices to cover their physical damage obligations:

  • “Premium” Package: The renter’s out-of-pocket exposure is limited to payment of a deductible of $500. When damage is reported, the renter will be charged $500. If the total costs are less than $500, the renter will be refunded the difference.
  • Basic” Package: The renter’s out-of-pocket exposure is limited to a payment of a deductible of $3000 under the same structure described in the Premium package.
  • “Decline Coverage” Package: The renter’s financial responsibility is essentially unlimited, and is bounded only by the actual cash value of the car, plus all related costs. This means that if the car is lost, stolen, or damaged so extensively that the expected cost of repairs exceeds 75% of the actual cash value, the renter is responsible to pay the entire actual cash value of the car.

Those considering renting with Turo are encouraged to view their entire explanation of insurance and protection provisions here. Additionally, if you already have auto insurance, you’re generally covered for any physical damage or liability claims that you’re responsible for — even if you don’t own the vehicle. Of course, you should always check with your carrier before renting a car.

Note that because Turo isn’t considered a valid car rental service by many credit card companies, the coverage you might normally expect from your Visa or Mastercard may not apply.

Fine print aside, what responsibilities does a Turo renter really take on?

Much like AirBnb or Uber, Turo is based on the trust implicit in today’s growing sharing economy. Basically: You break it, you pay for it.

That means that if your Turo rental gets a flat tire, you’re responsible for fixing it — unless you can prove that the flat is the result of a defect or preexisting excessive wear.

It also means that renters are encouraged to get photo-happy with tons of “before” pics when getting the keys, since you can be held responsible for any pre-existing damage that wasn’t documented at the start of your trip.

Again, we’re assuming you’re not here to read through a thorough rundown of Turo’s fine print. So, if you’re considering car sharing through their service, we recommend studying their coverage FAQs before deciding if the service is right for you.

How To Share Your Car With Turo

Is your car collecting dust? Turo claims that a car with a market value of $18,000 could earn an owner $5,781 over 15 days of sharing per month. Sure, that estimate is averaged over a year, but Turo says they have the data to back it up.

If that potential extra income caught your attention, here’s the three ways Turo lets you earn:

  • Local pickup: You can enjoy the convenience of renting your car right out of your own driveway.
  • Deliver your car: Or earn even more by meeting guests at nearby airports and other local locations.
  • Park and earn: Drivers willing to leave their car at San Francisco (SFO) and Los Angeles (LAX) airports for two weeks at a time can earn at least a guaranteed extra $425 a month.

How it works is fairly straightforward: You create a listing for your spare car, respond to requests, meet at your chosen location, then “kick back and earn.”

Of course, Turo’s claims of easy pocket cash sounds hunky dory. But, what happens if someone takes a wrong turn into Risky Business territory with your immaculately maintained pride and joy?

Turo offers car owners coverage with a $1 million insurance policy. This includes protection against physical damage up to your car’s actual cash value for collision and most “comprehensive” causes, including theft.

This is good, because most personal lines auto insurance companies specifically exclude livery and rentals from coverage. And, if they find out you’re regularly renting your car, it can be grounds for terminating your policy—a decision that could come back to haunt you when you’re shopping around for replacement coverage (most applications ask, “Has your coverage ever been canceled or declined for underwriting reasons?”).

Heck, Turo even offers you up to $30 a day should your car get into an accident while being rented out — plus the promise that they’ll be there to guide you every step of the way.

But, what about the legality of renting out your car? Some might find Turo’s answer less reassuring. Essentially, there’s no law against doing so, but this probably wouldn’t be a risk that most standard personal lines auto carriers would knowingly insure. Turo leaves the final liability resting on your shoulders.

What Are People Saying About Turo?

Turo has a little under 700 Yelp reviews from users in their two main hubs, San Francisco and Los Angeles. In both locations, Turo averages four out of five stars.

However, that isn’t to say that those who’ve used Turo don’t have their fair share of negative feedback. In fact, if you look at Turo’s Los Angeles reviews, it’s a wonder that they scraped above a single star, given that the first page is almost exclusively complaints.

Bad reviews almost exclusively revolve around poor experiences with Turo’s customer service. Here are some highlights:

  • Johnny R. (12/22/15): Owner states that his car was returned with damage and that Turo refused to cover repairs.
  • Paul K. (1/26/16) Renter states that he was charged for cleaning when it wasn’t needed and he was left with an overall impression that Turo squeezes pennies out at every opportunity.
  • Michael C. (11/18/2015) Renter states that he used Turo without a problem, but found his account put on hold afterward and couldn’t reach customer service for an answer — up to seven days later.

Those reviews aren’t cherry picked, either — they’re one after another on page one of Turo’s Los Angeles Yelp page.

Should You Use Turo For Car Sharing?

On one hand, Wired points out that the horror stories we used to associate with peer-to-peer sharing are becoming much less prevalent. “We now worry about Airbnb’s effect on real-estate markets, or whether Uber has undue influence over local governments.”

However, sharing a car comes with far more liabilities than renting out a spare apartment!

While Turo’s concept sounds great, reviews give a solid impression that they have a few more kinks to iron out before providing a desirable service.

For owners considering sharing, realize that it’s not just the market value of your vehicle that you’re putting on the line. Despite their catchy messaging and fun-for-all attitude, it appears that they skirt over some of the more serious legal ramifications of sharing your car.

What if the driver seriously injures or, heaven forbid, kills someone in an accident? What if they drive drunk? A 1 million policy doesn’t begin to cover some of those worst-case scenarios, and Turo’s it’s-up-to-you attitude regarding legalities isn’t very reassuring.

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120 Customer Reviews for Turo

Average Customer Rating: 2.9
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 56 4 star: 0 3 star: 1 2 star: 0 1 star:  63
Bottom Line: 48% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 120
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  • Cancellation fee

    This is just awful. Make a reservation, they charge your credit card right away, and then I had a change of plans a week out, and they charged me $76 as a cancellation fee. Just play crappy. I will never use them, and you should not either.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • Worst customer service

    • San Francisco, CA,
    • Jun 21, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I listed my car on this site to rent. The person who rented it trashed my car. I filed a claim, and the claim supervisor could have cared less. He told me to have fun suing because they're not going to pay a dime. This is literally the worst ride-sharing company and customer service I've ever witnessed.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Turo car owners beware!

    • Chicago,
    • Jun 19, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I started using Turo about a year ago as a car owner. I purchased a clean title Kia Optima and placed it on the app. Everything went great. I paid 25% off my earnings every trip (that should've covered insurance and their customer service). The car got into a small accident one time, and they paid for the repairs. But it was last year.

    This year my last renter refused to return the car, so I reached out to Turo to get help. Turo sent me an email saying that they will try to call the renter and will tell her to return the car. Great! The day after this lady sends me a text message that I need go to a Chicago south side pound because they have the car. I called Turo and they said, "Oh yeah, she called us, don't worry, we will take care of that." Ok.

    Four days later I am calling Turo to find out what's going on and Jeff Woo tells me that I probably need to go to the pound, pay the fee, and they will reimburse me. Ok. Long story short, I went to the pound and to the city four times, spent four days, and paid $1,320 to the city because that lady was driving my car on a SUSPENDED driver's license (thanks to Turo for verification of her driver's license). I didn't receive the final bill from the lawyers yet.

    I finally got the car back all trashed and scratched, and guess what? It's been two weeks, and Jeff still didn't reimburse my money. Plus their insurance refused to cover it because the car has something on a Carfax report that Turo doesn't like. Todd Armstrong also said that they paid me last time by mistake. So according to Patrick and Todd (the claim specialists from Turo):

    1. My car was placed on Turo BY MISTAKE.

    2. My car was covered last year BY MISTAKE.

    3. Turo employee placed it back to a platform BY MISTAKE.

    4. Turo was collecting 25% of every trip BY MISTAKE.

    5. Turo gave this car to a lady who drove on suspended driver's license BY MISTAKE.

    Too many MISTAKES turo!

    They are refusing to cover damages and almost refusing to pay for tow expenses and fees.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 0 out 1 people found this review helpful

    My Turo experience

    I absolutely love this app. Turo does not require the unnecessary security deposits that traditional car rental companies do and it's extremely convenient! There are plenty of choices based on price point, car type, proximity to your location, etc. Communication platform is fool proof with email/text/phone options to connect with your Turo host.

    The only con I can think of is the inability to speak to a rep from Turo in the midst of an emergency or for any other guidance. Although there are help topics you can sort thru, every now and again it helps to speak/chat with a staff member.

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • Turo makes quick trips so easy

    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • Jun 6, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I recently used Turo to rent a car just for a half day on a weekend trip away. I didn't need a car for most of the weekend, but when we wanted to take a day trip nearby, it was a convenient and inexpensive way to do so. The app is simple to use and guides you through the whole process. I look forward to using Turo again!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Don't travel with a family

    • San Jose, CA,
    • May 28, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    All I can say is "wow." If I could give a zero-star review, I would. We rented weeks in advance for memorial weekend. I'm with my family, a newborn baby and about eight bags of luggage. We have been stuck here for 2.5 hours by a no-show Turo owner. The Turo reps have been completely non-professional with this issue. No help. They offered a measly $30 credit, but what the heck will that do if rentals will be $850+ for an SUV at the rental agencies?

    Moral of the story is DO NOT rent from Turo for a vacation. Nothing is guaranteed with this company. Nor are the owners. We booked a 5-star owner with 40+ reviews, and he was a complete no-show.

    Thanks to Turo I just spent $833.28 at Avis for a last minute rental before MDW.

    I am a highly disappointed user. I rented my car on this app and will be sure to never use them again.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Paradise for scammers

    • Los Angeles, CA,
    • May 25, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I rented a new model SUV Maserati. It comes with a huge scratch on the rear side of the car. I was not happy but didn't want to bother and re-order a new car.

    I returned it in the same condition I got it, and the very next day I was charged $500 for the damage that I didn't make! They said the rear wheel got a huge scratch and asked for trip pictures. It took them six weeks to give me my money back, and only because they couldn't reach back the car owner. I was told I would hear back from them in case the owner returns! LOL.

    If they are going to try and charge me $500 again, I have to call my credit card company and explain this. What a disaster!

    There are too many people in this world living on the cost of others! I would never EVER use Turo again, and I would ask you to stay away too!

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Hidden terms - horrible customer service

    Turo is a great idea. I've rented with them several times and have loved the opportunity to drive different types of cars. However, I just had the worst customer experience with them. I rented a car under the terms "Delivery and Pick up Los Angeles International Airport." When came the time to get my car, I was told that I need to send a text message to a service that would send a shuttle to LAX and take me to a nearby parking lot. I told them this was not acceptable to me today as I have a tight time commitment. I asked for a refund since this is an essential change of terms and it should have been disclosed in the offer. Their response was to tell me I had not a choice and to hang up on me.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 4 out 4 people found this review helpful

    Avoid Turo at all costs, AVOID.

    • Tucson, AZ,
    • May 20, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    I rented a car that was hit in a parking lot. That's when the drama began. We paid out of pocket $500 to appease them as we waited for insurance to subrogate (look it up). Bottom line, Turo employees lack professionalism, tact and anything resembling manners. They "lost our insurance company's phone umber" more than once and beware, neither GEICO or USAA (and likely many others) will honor Turo's contract in the case of an accident. And we were bounced around to several employees, which shows a high employee turnover at Turo. Go with a real rental company, even if it's a few bucks more. You'll thank me.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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  • 3 out 3 people found this review helpful

    Turo support is a mess

    Turo support is a mess.

    The damage was visible in the before photos already, I still got charged USD 500. I'm waiting to get refunded for two months. Terrible and disrespectful service.

    Bottom Line: No, I would not recommend this to a friend

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    • Jun 13, 2017

      Hanna Bolanos

      Hi Guido,

      My name is Hanna Bolanos. I'm with the ABC7 Chicago Investigative team. We recently received an email regarding a negative customer experience with Turo involving damage, and I'd like to ask you some specific questions about your experience. Please email me at Hanna.P.Bolanos@abc.com or call me at (312) 750-7322.

      Thank you!

      Hanna

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  • Rental

    • Hayward, CA,
    • May 12, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer

    From signing onto the site, to actually meeting and picking up the van, to drop off, it was a very positive experience. The feedback from my owner too was right on. We both worked in good faith. I don't think I would go with a major rental company if I am going on a small out of town trip again, I'll be using Turo!

    Bottom Line: Yes, I would recommend this to a friend

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