Turo Review – Better Than a Typical Car Rental Service?

By J.R. Duren
HighYa Staff
Updated on: Jun 27, 2019

Turo is a car-rental app you can use to rent a car from an individual or rent your own car to Turo users.

The company is unique in that its services function much like an Airbnb for rental cards, save for the fact that, in most cases, you have to meet the car’s owner in order to pick up the keys at the beginning of the rental and drop them off when the rental period concludes.

The company is based in San Francisco and was founded in 2009 by Shelby Clark, a Harvard University grad who, according to his Crunchbase profile, wanted to start a peer-to-peer car rental company. Their service is available in the United States, Canada, Germany and the U.K.

In this review, we’ll talk about how Turo works, how they calculate pricing, what type of insurance they offer and what past customers told HighYa about their experiences renting cars from Turo and renting out their own cars to Turo users.

How Turo Works

Turo foregoes the typical car-rental language and has their own terms for those renting a car, those providing their car for rental and the actual rental period:

  • The person renting the car: Guest
  • The person who is providing their car as a rental: Host
  • The rental period: Trip

Car rentals take place through the Turo app, which is available on Android and iOS phones and can take place through the Turo website. You can use the app and site to search for cars for rent in the areas you’ll be traveling. Also, you use the app to list your car if you want to provide it for trips.

In a fashion much like Airbnb, you can search for various rentals based on factors of your choosing, as well as narrowing down your search results by cars you can rent with an instant payment.

We did a quick search of cars in Jacksonville, FL, and found 111 cars ranging in year from 2008 to 2019 and ranging in price from $30 a day for a 2011 Toyota Prius to $600 a day for a 2013 Maserati GranTurismo Convertible.

You'll notice that some sellers are listed as “All-Star”, which means they’re the “top-rated, most experienced hosts” in your area, Turo notes.

Filters you can use to narrow down cards include All-Star hosts, hosts who deliver, eco-friendly cards, Business/Deluxe/Super Deluxe cars, as well as various years, makes and models.

Each listing provides the host’s name, as well as the limits they place on your trip and which insurance company they use. We clicked on a 2011 Hyundai Sonata for $39 a day to see what we could find out. The host, “Monique,” had 66 trips and a five-star rating.

She allowed free cancellation up to 24 hours before the trip and allowed 200 miles for a one-day rental. Subsequent miles beyond that would be charged at a rate of $0.24 per mile.

The listing also provides the features the car has as well as any rules for filling up the gas tank (you’re required to leave as much gas in the car as there was when you picked it up) as well as rules for cleaning, smoking and pets.

If you decide you like the car and want to rent it, you’ll click “Go to Checkout” to get a final total for your rental.

Every rental includes a “Trip Fee”, which is the fee that Turo tacks on the daily rental fee. In the case of the Sonata we looked, the fee was $9.52 on a $39 one-day rental. The fee works out to about 24% of the daily rental charge. For comparison, Airbnb will charge guests up to 20% of the rental cost.

You’ll arrange a vehicle pick-up with your host. Either they’ll deliver the car or you’ll have to go to the pre-determined pick-up spot. You’ll then take a few photos of the car to confirm its condition.

When you drop off your car, you’ll have to meet the owner unless there’s a pre-determined key drop-off spot.

For example, in interviews we did with guests who used Turo, one host provided a lockbox into which the guest could deposit keys in the event the host wasn’t home when the trip period concluded.

Turo Security Deposits

In many cases, you won’t have to pay a security deposit to get a trip with Turo. However, there are select cases, their FAQ site says, in which guests will have to pay a $250 deposit for non-luxury cars (Business/Deluxe/Super Deluxe). Turo says that about 30% of guests will have to pay this deposit.

In the U.S., guests age 25 to 29 will have to pay a $1,500 deposit to rent a Deluxe car. Guests of all ages have to pay a $1,500 deposit for Super Deluxe cars.

Turo says that they will return your deposit, barring any claims filed by the host, within 80 hours of your trip ending. They note that returned deposits going to a bank account could take up to seven days to arrive.

Deposit rules are different for Canada, Germany and the U.K.

Turo Insurance for Guests and Hosts

Turo offers hosts three levels of additional insurance you can purchase to cover the car you book for your trip in the event of an accident. These same coverages are available for hosts, too

The three tiers of insurance are:

  • Premier: Up to $1 million liability with no deductible. Covers physical damage to your car.
  • Standard: Up to $1 million liability with $500 deductible. Covers physical damage to your car.
  • Minimum: Up to state minimum for liability coverage, $3,000 deductible. Covers physical damage to your car

“Liability” refers to damages to other people and property caused by your car during a trip period. For hosts, the insurance covers bodily injury to guests and others, whereas the guest policies don’t. Also, the host policies cover uninsured motorists, whereas the guest policies don’t.

Neither the host nor the guests have to use the insurance Turo offers. If you decline it, then the benefits of your car insurance will cover applicable costs in the event of an accident. If you accept the insurance Turo offers, then that insurance is a supplement (kicks in once your primary policy’s benefits end) to your existing car insurance.

The company who provides the plans through Turo is Liberty Mutual, a company who has a good reputation among the agencies who rate the financial stability of insurance companies.

Comparing Turo Pricing to Rental Cars

As you’re shopping for a car rental, there’s a good chance you’ll want to get the best rate possible. Because we believe this is an important part of your decision to use Turo, we wanted to do some quick research on our own.

So, we researched car rentals in Jacksonville a month away from the time of publishing. We searched the cheapest Friday-to-Sunday rentals from Turo and from Priceline.com’s Jacksonville International Airport locations. Here’s what we found:

Airport rental via Priceline.com: $78.28

  • Car type: Hyundai Accent
  • Mileage allowance: Unlimited

Turo rental delivered to airport: $107.21

  • Car type: Ford Fiesta
  • Mileage allowance: 300 miles

Turo has some distinct pros and cons for guests when compared to renting a car from an agency. First, you have the benefit of walking out of the airport and getting your car because it’s delivered to you. If you choose a car rental agency, you’ll have to wait for a shuttle and then wait in line (if there is one) at the rental office.

The downsides to Turo (when compared with a traditional rental company) include the fact that many of the cars you’ll rent have a mileage limit on them. So, if your destination is, say, 100 miles from the airport into which you’re flying, that mileage limit may cause some issues.

Also, Turo will most likely cost more than an airport car rental. In this case, you’ll pay around $29 to rent from Turo. However, this isn’t the case in other cities, as we’ll point out in the Customer Reviews section of our analysis.

In the context of the rentals we listed above, we think there’s a clear decision point for you. Are the advantages Turo offers worth an extra $29 for a weekend rental? In our opinion, we think it’s worth the money if you value the most seamless rental experience possible, assuming your Turo car arrives when it should.

Keep in mind, though, that Turo is a platform for guests and hosts And, as a host, Turo basically gives you the chance to run your own car-rental company, which is a pretty unique proposition.

Whether or not it’s worth it to you is something we’ll cover in the customer reviews section, as we were able to interview someone who rented their car through Turo.

Customer Reviews of Turo

In preparation for our review, we reached out to actual Turo guests and hosts to get their opinion about the service.

Diana Chen, a Chicago resident, used Turo to book a trip two times in 2017. She said she had a positive experience both times and that both cards were in the type of condition you could expect from a rental car company.

She said the only drawback to was that one host allowed her to drop the car’s keys off in a lockbox. It took her about 20 or 30 minutes to unlock the lockbox because it was having issues opening.

In general, she said, she thinks Turo is the better choice over a rental car agency when the price is cheaper but that guests should be aware of Turo’s restrictions.

“All rules and regulations are set by the individual owner. So, one owner might limit your trip to 100 miles/day whereas another owner might give you unlimited miles. You have to read very carefully the description on each car to know what you're signing up for. This can be a lot more time consuming than booking with a large rental company like Hertz where you know what you're signing up for because it's the same thing every time,” she said.

Becky Beach, founder of MomBeach.com, told us that she travels to Boston for business frequently and, when she does, she said she is “constantly” using Turo.

She says the main benefits of Turo are that you have a wider selection of cars because the site allows hosts to post vehicles of a wider range of production dates.

“I prefer getting a Turo instead of a rental car because it is much cheaper. There is much more selection when choosing Turo because you can drive older cars, even luxury. They deliver the cars to your hotel or the airport so you don't have to worry about rental car agencies. I highly recommend Turo to all travelers who want to save money,” she said.

Chris Gwinner, general manager of Old Town Outfitters, a tour company based in Guatemala, told us that he appreciates the efficiency of Turo’s process. His most recent Turo trip took place in Atlanta this past October.

“Avoiding lines at a pickup counter and then a shuttle ride to the rental car lot and then lengthy inspection and lots of forms to sign was huge. With Turo, I exited the airport and went directly to the curb, met the car, took a few pictures and then was on my way. All payment, insurance, driver verification, etc., was done via the app prior to the rental,” he said.

The combined time it took to pick-up and drop-off his car took about 10 minutes, he said.

Comedian Dan Nainan rents out his 2018 Tesla Model 3 about three to five times a month, he told us. In total, guests have booked between 30 and 40 trips in his car.

He said the experience has been a positive one and that he’s able to cover the cost of his car payments through the trips that guests book.

“Honestly, I can’ think of anything that I would change about Turo. I’m really happy with the service. The rentals more than pay for the car payments,” he said.

He pointed out that, as a host, there’s always a fear that guests could damage his car but that the insurance Turo offers quells those fears.

Based on all the input we’ve read from first-hand customer experiences, we believe there’s a good chance you’ll have a positive experience with Turo whether you’re a guest or a host.

Reviews of the app in the Google Play and iTunes stores confirm this. Android users give the Turo app an average rating of 4.5 stars from more than 23,000 reviews, which iOS reviewers give the app 4.8 stars from more than 111,000 reviews.

The Final Word: Pros and Cons, and Who Turo Is Best For

Based on our research, we believe that Turo’s strengths are that it can offer guests an easy way to get a car at an airport, provided there are hosts who can deliver to the airport at which you’re arriving. As one of the guests we interviewed said, it can be a huge advantage to weary travelers to walk out to the curb at the airport and get your car as opposed to riding a shuttle and/or waiting in a line.

The downside to the site is that, in some cases, you may not be able to find a rental cheaper than what you could find at an airport rental location. Also, you may be paying a hefty price for a delivery charge. We checked in on the cheapest rate we could find for a rental at Newark’s airport and found a car that was about $25 per day with a delivery fee of $75.

If you’re able to ride public transportation to your Turo pickup, you could cut out the cost of a delivery fee but, again, you’d be lengthening the time between when you’re ready for the car and when you actually get it.

Another possible drawback relates to the cost of insurance. We weren’t able to get a quote for the insurance coverage cost from Turo’s partnership with Liberty Mutual. As a point of comparison, though, Priceline’s insurance costs $11 but provides a maximum benefit of $35,000, which is significantly less than Turo’s $1 million coverage.

Now, with normal car rental agencies, you could forego the insurance the agency offers in favor of car rental insurance included on your credit card. However, your credit card may not offer car rental insurance for Turo. We called Chase’s benefit center and the representative told us that Chase does not offer their car rental insurance for Turo.

So, if your car insurance policy doesn’t cover rentals then you’ll either have to rent the car without any insurance or pay for Liberty Mutual’s insurance through Turo.

As for who we think this service is good for, we believe Turo presents some distinct advantages for both guests and hosts. If you need a rental in a city with high rental prices, Turo could offer a cheaper option. Even if a Turo tip is more than a car rental agency, the Turo option may still be more interesting to you because of the potential to get your car delivered to the airport.

We believe the greatest strengths of this service lie with hosts, especially those who work from home and don’t need to drive to work, or you have a great public transportation system that you can use in lieu of a car.

If this is you, then we think Turo’s service could be an excellent way for you to earn some money on the side. If you’re in a city where you can demand a considerable fee for your car, there’s a good chance you could earn enough to cover your car payments every month, much in the same way renting your home through Airbnb could coverage you mortgage costs.

But, keep in mind that you’ll most likely need to pay for insurance to cover your car, factor that cost in your pricing. Also, be smart about the mileage limitation you place on the car. Being too restrictive could scare away potential guests but being too liberal with your mileage allowance could cause undue wear and tear on your car.


Read 958 Turo Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 4.2
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 697 4 star: 60 3 star: 19 2 star: 26 1 star:  156
Bottom Line: 80% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 958
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  • First time using Turo

    • By Jeffrey M.,
    • New York,
    • Jan 20, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    I was told by a friend about Turo around November while planning a trip to Florida from New York. I downloaded the app, found a car from an awesome host, and was super pleased start to finish. Way easier than the rental car companies with the convenience of the car being right out the gate. No shuttles to take, etc! We are already re-booking with this app!

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

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  • Great Jeep!

    • By Ron T.,
    • Nebraska,
    • Jan 20, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    Ken was great to work with. He communicated in a very timely manner. The Jeep was easy to get to, and everything worked great. The convertible soft top and removable windows, they were east to put down and put back in...It made the trip much more enjoyable!

    I would definitely recommend Ken's Jeep!

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

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  • 1 out 1 people found this review helpful

    Great

    • By Chris G.,
    • Wilmington, DE,
    • Jan 19, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    Cheaper and way more convenient everything about Turo is better than going to a car rental company. From the start of the trip to the end and even when booking the trip too. It’s so easy to do and you basically pick the car you want.

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

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  • Excellent alternative to traditional rental cars

    • By Charles H.,
    • Tennessee,
    • Jan 17, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    We were visiting our son in southern Colorado over the Holidays and decided to give Turo a try (first-timers).

    Needless to say, we were very pleased with the ease of securing a vehicle and the whole process, starting with the seamless personal delivery of the vehicle on the front end and return on the back end of our trip.

    The "Host" was very accomodating and the whole experience will make us use Turo again and again! Thanks for this much needed service.

    We can highly recommend this service!

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

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  • First timer

    • By Jeremy M.,
    • Spokane Valley, WA,
    • Jan 17, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    Overall I was very happy with my first Turo experience and would definitely use it again. I would give it a 5-star review but for some issues I had with the desktop web app and mobile app. Just a few observations from a first timers perspective:

    There are some gaps in functionality between the desktop vs. mobile versions of the Turo app. For example, I was unable to book my trip on the mobile app due to driver's ineligibility although my account said I was approved. After several failed attempts to book on my phone, I gave up and booked the trip on my laptop with no trouble. I had a coupon code for $15 off that I had entered in on my phone but would not work when I finally completed the booking on my laptop.

    The procedure for adding an additional driver was clunky and difficult, I'll just leave it at that.

    I had such an outstanding experience with my owner that I wanted to leave a review but could not find where to type comments and once I submitted my rating on the mobile app, I discovered that you are unable to edit or provide additional comments. Perhaps the UI could be modified to warn you of this before you submit the rating?

    One final tip: Before passing on a cleaning fee offered by the owner, do a quick check of the area for self-service car washes. While they may be ubiquitous in your area, don't assume that they are where you will be renting your car. My owner was very flexible and accommodating so it was not an issue to add the cleaning service later when I discovered only full-service car washes in the area that cost about the same money offered by the owner minus the inconvenience.

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

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  • Young's Nissan Rogue

    • By Nia E.,
    • California,
    • Jan 17, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    I had an easy pick up with the unlock feature and instructions in the app messages.

    He provided a well-maintained vehicle and my rental trip was a success.

    Would definitely recommend to others!

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

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  • Fast and easy!

    • By Gianfranco L.,
    • Boca Raton, FL,
    • Jan 16, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    You select the car you want and the day/time you desire. The system makes it so easy and always keeps you updated. The prices are much lower compared to rental companies and much more convenient. You can go to where the car is located or they drive the car to you. Highly recommend you try Turo!

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

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  • Not a great experience

    • By Julie V.,
    • Jan 16, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    Turo was an easy app to use and had many cars available in my destination city. The car I rented, however, was not as pictured and possibly not a safe vehicle, not kept well. I’m sure there are lots of great cars and experiences on Turo, unfortunately, the one I chose was not one.

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

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  • Jeep rental

    • By Jeff P.,
    • Olney, MD,
    • Jan 15, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    This experience was fantastic from beginning to end. It was convenient, cost-effective, and the owner of the vehicle was extremely accommodating to my needs. I made a last-minute decision to rent a vehicle instead of using a service like Uber and I am very glad that I did. The vehicle was ready for me to pick up shortly after making the reservation and I needed to return early which ended up being no problem whatsoever. Honestly, I will use Turo on every future trip instead of counting on the airport rental services or driving apps.

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

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  • Great app

    • By Eimile D.,
    • Orlando, FL,
    • Jan 15, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    Turo is so easy and user-friendly. In my two times using it, I was fortunately connected with two great hosts who both either left the car at the airport parking lot or met me curbside. Overall a great app and a great experience. Easier than using a rental car agency and relatively cheaper as well.

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

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  • Love Turo!

    • By Linda O.,
    • Lorton, VA,
    • Jan 14, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    My son turned me onto Turo and I loved it! With rental car companies, you never know exactly what car you are going to get, they have categories and a range of cars are included. I wanted a specific all-wheel-drive car and Turo was able to help me locate a vehicle in my area and the best part is that you know exactly what you are getting because you get to pick it out!

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

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