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.

Customer Reviews

Start your review of Turo:
  • 1018 Customer Reviews
  • 80% Recommend This Company
4.2 out of 5
5 star: 72% 4 star: 6% 3 star: 2% 2 star: 2% 1 star: 16%

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  • Awesome service

    • By Axel,
    • San Francisco, CA,
    • Mar 2, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I used Turo several times and I have always been happy about it. They have great service, great selection of cars and great prices.

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

  • Great way to rent cars!

    • By Beth Johnson,
    • Houston, TX,
    • Mar 4, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    The Turo concept is a breakthrough for car rentals. The process is simple, easy, and painless and you get to rent GREAT cars at a very reasonable price. I will definitely continue to rent through Turo.

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

  • Great experience

    • By Jeff,
    • Maui, HI,
    • Mar 5, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    This was our first time using Turo, and it will not be our last. It is easy to sign up, has a large variety of vehicles to choose from, and was the best rental car experience we have ever had!

    We were met at baggage claim by our vehicle's owner. He had already taken pictures of the vehicle and loaded them to the Turo page. A quick 5-minute check of the vehicle, license verification, and a signature, and we were off.

    Bryan was very communicative and great to work with, and we will use him on future trips!

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

  • Turo love!

    • By Gina,
    • Denver, CO,
    • Mar 6, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I loved using Turo when I visited Los Angeles! Communication with the vehicle owner was easy, and responses were quick. My car was dropped curbside, I snapped a few photos, and off we went! I felt protected because I purchased the Premium insurance plan, which I felt was very reasonable. Drop off was also very easy; again, my car was picked up curbside!

    Never again will I wait in long lines for a rental car. I'm a HUGE fan of Turo!

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

  • Turo is the best!

    • By Bobby G,
    • Denver, Colorado ,
    • Mar 6, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Last week we had an awesome rental experience thanks to Turo! This is the third time I've used the service and recommend it highly. From airport pickup and drop off, to personalized car amenities, I couldn't be happier.

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

  • Turo trips

    • By Sarah,
    • Monmouth, Oregon,
    • Mar 10, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I have taken two Turo trips this year and found both to be better than using a regular rental service. There is no standing in line at the rental counter. The cars were prompt, well presented and good quality.

    I will definitely look to Turo again.

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

  • First encounter with Turo strongly positive

    • By Colin,
    • Mar 10, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I rented a Tesla Model S for 12 hours from Scott in Irvine, and this was my first experience using the Turo service.

    I have to say that overall the experience was very positive and that I found it very convenient and am looking forward to my next opportunity to use it. Scott was extremely accommodating, and his car was amazing; having the opportunity to try a new Tesla with the recent Autopilot upgrades was extremely exciting.

    The Turo service was fairly straightforward compared to the experience of driving a new Tesla and experimenting with the Autopilot features, so I am not sure how much feedback I can provide regarding Turo itself, other than to say that the process was very easy, highly accessible and simple, and I would absolutely use it again and will recommend it to any friends looking for such a service.

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

  • Porsche to Napa

    • By Ian,
    • Chicago, IL,
    • Mar 10, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    Turo afforded me the opportunity to drive a more exotic car than I might normally on a recent trip from San Francisco to wine country.

    The selection process was really straightforward, and pick-up was even easier. I think it's a great platform, but it definitely dependents on who your "host," in Airbnb lingo, is. Mine (Kent) was a good one. He even showed up to the pick-up in a Porsche hat, so he's definitely a fan and not just all business.

    I'm definitely planning on using the service again (911 Turbo S next time).

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

  • Friendly, efficient, best way to rent a car

    Overall Experience:

    Milhail dropped the car off for us in the parking garage and sent us info to find it. It is so much easier than going to a rental car facility, and much less expensive too.

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

  • Perfect

    • By Keith,
    • Baltimore, MD,
    • Mar 15, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    I rented a nice car for my trip to LA, and it was WELL worth it. Pickups and drop-offs are easier than rentals and definitely worth it. I will be using Turo again!

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

  • Awesome experience!

    • By Anne,
    • Naples, FL,
    • Mar 15, 2017
    • Verified Reviewer
    Overall Experience:

    We used Turo for the first time during a trip to Naples, Florida in February of 2017. It was awesome! Our car and owner were fabulous, and the entire process was smooth, simple and professional. And for less money than a "normal" rental car company. Better service, less hassle and better price. Turo rocks!

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

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