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 1014 Turo Customer Reviews and Complaints

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Average Customer Rating: 4.2
Rating Snapshot:
5 star: 740 4 star: 65 3 star: 21 2 star: 28 1 star:  160
Bottom Line: 80% would recommend it to a friend
Showing 1-11 of 1014
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  • No bells or whistles

    • By PaDao T.,
    • Omaha, NE,
    • Feb 26, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    I tried Turo for the first time with a less than stellar experience. On the day of our arrival plans changed and the owner messaged to say the vehicle would now be in the daily short-term parking area. A change from the original curbside handoff. I had to pay $5 to take the vehicle out of the lot - a small surprise cost. I do not like surprises.

    I was also not prepared for the self check-in and check-out process of Turo. I will pay more next time with a rental agency for the ease of not having to do it myself.

    Within an hour the "Drivetrain Malfunction" light came on and the rearview camera no longer worked. I was completely freaked and worried. I messaged the owner but he was unsure of the problem and said he's never had issues with this vehicle before - which did not help me that night. I was informed to contact Turo customer service for assistance.

    With a franchise rental agency, I would have just driven back to the location and received a different vehicle or upgrade. For the remainder of our trip, the vehicle drove normal, even with the malfunction light still on. Something I informed the owner of before dropping off the vehicle.

    This was an experience I can say that I tried, but I will not repeat again. I will next time stick with a regular rental agency to avoid all the hassles and self-work of checking in/out.

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


  • Pleasantly surprised

    • By Susan S.,
    • Utah,
    • Feb 24, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    First time using Turo and everything went pretty smooth. The only thing I was disappointed in was when we picked up the car the gas tank was literally on empty. We had to get to a gas station ASAP after receiving the car which was frustrating. Also, it is extremely hard to return a car the same way and avoid not running out of gas. I am not sure if this is done on purpose to get more gas in your car. I feel if Turo is being professional they should require that of their people who are renting out their cars. Besides that, everything else was good.

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


  • Great rental option

    • By Avi G.,
    • Columbus, OH,
    • Feb 23, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    Turo was a great option for inexpensive car rental. It also saved me a lot of time, as I was able to meet the car at arrivals and didn’t have to worry about taking a shuttle to a rental facility. The person I rented from was punctual, courteous, and he went out of his way to help me when I left something in the car. I highly recommend Turo.

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


  • Very convenient and affordable for guaranteed AWD

    • By Athena H.,
    • Denver, CO,
    • Feb 23, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    This was my first time using Turo. I was planning on skiing near Denver and wanted to be guaranteed an AWD vehicle that I knew could handle driving in the snowy mountain roads, hence my choice of Tyler's Subaru Outback. Price-wise, it was less expensive than a typical SUV/AWD vehicle rental from a large agency. The pickup was convenient at a 24-hour offsite parking facility that had a free airport shuttle service, and Tyler messaged me in the app when I picked up the car to check in and ensure that I had no issues. The car was mechanically sound and well maintained, and returning it was a smooth process. I again appreciated that Tyler was very quick to respond to a couple of questions I had, being that this was my first time using Turo to make sure I was doing the check out the section on the app correctly. While I am a member of a rental agency rewards programs and will probably stick to them for cars in good weather, I'd definitely use the service again to be guaranteed a specific vehicle type for adventures that involve unpredictable snowy weather!

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


  • Hummin' with Hamed!

    • By Bill R.,
    • San Francisco, CA,
    • Feb 22, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    It was my first experience with Turo and the stakes were high: transporting my biggest critics (wife and daughter) around Denver for a series of "important" social engagements (their's not mine). I took a bit of risk using Turo, having never used the service before. I chose Turo largely because the selection of cars was so much greater than rentals and Uber wasn't as cost-effective. As it turned out, your reviews were really helpful and I selected a BMW 5 series owned by Hamed. The experience was easy-peasy! Even the SNAFU's (I had trouble with lockbox) were easy workarounds, thanks to Hamed's outstanding communication and support. The Turo app worked very effectively, supporting and facilitating fluid communication. The care was maintained beyond description and met our needs to a "T." I definitely will use Turo in the future, and when I return to Denver, Hamed will be my go-to provided!

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


  • Great experience

    • By Blake N.,
    • Phoenix, AZ,
    • Feb 22, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    Turo is something I had never thought of using before and my husband was hesitant to use it. The whole process was seamless from start to finish. Everything went well and the pricing was wonderful. I had the opportunity to rent a Volvo V60 and it was a wonderful car, with enough room for luggage and people. Meeting up with the owner was easy to do and drop off was the same. I’ll definitely be using Turo in the future. If you’re hesitant, just know it is a secure way to rent and you do get to take pictures of the car before you drive it and when you drop it off, as that was my husband’s concern.

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


  • Good customer service - bad experience

    • By Kellie C.,
    • Clearwater, FL,
    • Feb 21, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    My trip with Turo started out great. My host, Damon, was very responsive and gave good instructions to pick up the car. The car, however, it was not in good condition. Immediately there were problems with the breaks and windows. After the first day, the power steering went out. I contacted the host and he responded immediately to come out and fix the issue. As I was driving back to my hotel on the highway, the car completely broke down. I was stranded on the highway by myself. I did not feel comfortable waiting for the host to get the car, being alone, and never met the man before, so I took an Uber home. The host then picked up the car and I ended the trip a day and a half early. I only had the car for a day, driven very little miles, this proves that I was given a car that was in no condition to drive on the road, let alone the highway. I requested a refund for the rest of the trip from the host. On the app, it said that the host had 10 minutes to respond. I waited with no response so I called customer service. The woman I talked to was extremely nice and understanding of my poor experience. Although she was unable to give me a full refund, she was able to put a small credit on my account. I believe I should have received a full refund since the car had problems as soon as I stepped into the vehicle. The host responded to part of the refund but then sent me a message asking for a $10.00 inconvenience fee...I had to take Ubers everywhere after I ended the trip, costing me way more than $10 in inconveniences.

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


  • Great first experience

    • By Jason H.,
    • Scottsdale, AZ,
    • Feb 21, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    I’ve had the Turo app on my phone for a few years now, occasionally check it out but never pulled the trigger. Finally saw a cool car that I really want to drive for a weekend and took the plunge. The experience was really simple and straightforward. The host and the car were as advertised, the reservation process and check-in and check-out process were fairly easy. All in all, I had no problems and will definitely try it again.

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


  • Excellent! Very convenient.

    • By Gregory W.,
    • Indiana,
    • Feb 21, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    I contacted the car owner with our plans. He had the car waiting for us in covered parking at the airport. We enjoyed the week with no issues. Returned the car back to covered parking in the airport. Much more convenient than taking a shuttle to the car rental agencies. I would rent again.

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


  • Turo filled the gap

    • By Mark C.,
    • Savannah, GA,
    • Feb 21, 2020
    • Verified Reviewer

    It’s difficult to rent a car in downtown Savannah for pickup on Saturday and return on Sunday because of short business hours on Saturday. Rentals are available at the airport but that’s out of the way for those of us who arrived to Savannah via Amtrak.

    Turo, owner Ivan, filled that gap for us.

    Was a couple of miles away and had a well-maintained vehicle waiting for us to rent for 12 hours. He explained the Turo system well to us first-timers.

    Our only suggestion is that he directly respond to his customers at the end of the trip as he did in the beginning so we were sure everything was fine with the van we rented when he got back to the drop spot. We texted him as he instructed when we put the keys into his dropbox but did not hear an acknowledgment back from him. An "OK" or something.

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


  • Good first experience.

    It was a good first experience with Turo.

    I borrowed a 2010 Toyota Prius in Phoenix, Arizona, and the car was in good condition.

    Ken and their friends are very kind helpful. They responded very fast.

    I will use and recommend Turo for my friends.

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


Showing 1-11 of 1014

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