I recently rented a car from Turo in Hawaii and saved about $50 on our rental car (rental for a day). It was great to be able to save money on the car rental in Waikiki since car rentals are notoriously expensive there (about $50-$60 a day for a small sedan and $130 a day for a van). Here’s my experience on how I saved money by renting a car through Turo.
I used again recently in 2023 and it has changed quite a bit over the last few years.
What is Turo?
If you have heard of Turo mentioned, you probably have heard that Turo is like the Airbnb for cars. It’s a great option for people who like to rent unconventional cars (you know, not the typical rental car company fare, such as a Mustang Convertible or a Fiat 500) or even higher end cars. It’s also a great option for people who like to save money on rental cars (I fall into the latter category, obviously).
Turo is in over 4700 cities and over 300 airports in the United Kingdom, United States, and Canada.
My high-end pilot friend and his wife rented a slick BMW last time they were in Hawaii through Turo and really liked how they could rent a nicer car on his vacation so easily, though an app.
How Does Turo Work?
You sign up for Turo.com (through Google, Facebook, or your email), upload your driver’s license number and address, upload a picture, verify your email and phone number, and then you’re ready to rent a car. They ask you to download the Turo app on your phone (and unfortunately ask that you upgrade to the latest iOS to do so) so that you can sign in and sign out for your Turo ride.
On the screen you can find a car you like (filter by cost, area, or select it on a map) and the pick up and drop off times that you want. This is what it looks like below. The green circles are Turo cars available.
Once you select your rental car, you can pick up your rental car or you can get it delivered to you (however you should note that there is usually a fee for this).
Before you take off with the car, you check for any damages and then when you drop off the car, you review again for any damages to the car. Kind of like what you would do at a regular rental car company.
The process in 2023 is much more detailed, the car owner takes pictures and uploads them to the app. You as the renter are also welcome to upload and take pictures of the rental car to inspect for current damage.
Finally after the trip, you review your Turo car supplier (yes, just like how you would review on Airbnb).
Protection (for car rental and car rentee) with Turo:
- Turo provides $1 million in liability insurance (if you pay for it- there is basic Turo insurance and you can pay for more)
- In US the cost for the premium insurance is 40% of your rental cost (includes $1,000,000 liability insurance and $500 deductible for damages to the car)
- In the US the cost for the basic insurance is 15% of your rental cost (includes state liability insurance and $3000 deductible for damage to the car)
- As a car owner, your car protected against physical damage
- 24/7 roadside assistance
- There is phone support for any trouble shooting you might have with your car (though I don’t think it is based in North America)
- They only allow a certain standard of car on Turo, so the 1984 250,000km mileage beater car won’t be eligible on Turo
- Unfortunately the standard car rental insurance on your credit card doesn’t cover Turo rental cars, this is why I bought the Turo insurance.
My Turo Review
Turo did save us about $30 to $50 USD per day for a car rental. We rented a family friendly minivan with a booster seat.
However, just like how Airbnb is, the owners seem to be strict about the cleanliness of their car. If I went with a car rental, I didn’t have to worry about the amount of sand in the car (of course a reasonable amount) if we went to the beach.
With Turo, we had to make sure there was no sand or else we would have to pay the $150 cleaning fee or have to vacuum it ourselves.
I found myself a little stressed about making sure the kids don’t eat in the car or get crumbs on the seats.
Also, there was a bit of a nauseating cologne or car freshener smell that I wasn’t accustomed when compared to the new car smell of rental cars.
Referring Family and Friends to Save Money on Turo
Turo has a referral system where if you refer family and friends to use Turo, they get $25 off their first ride, and then you also get $25 off your next Turo ride. It is difficult to find a Turo promo code on the Internet because they discourage this and only encourage family and friends to share with each other. Turo doesn’t allow their referral codes to be posted on forums, or on coupon websites, and they will suspect accounts or remove travel credits if they suspect this activity is happening.
Summary of my Turo Review
I would definitely use Turo again because it was straight forward to use and it is a great way to save money on something that can often be very expensive- car rentals! We don’t have a Costco membership (apparently that’s the best way to save money on car rentals) so this is the next best thing to save money on a car rental when we go on vacation.
I don’t have experience using Turo to rent my car out, but this might be something I would be interested in, though it definitely feels like a riskier business venture and a lot of work to make sure your car is clean to rent out!
Readers, have you tried using Turo before?
What did you think of it and what car did you rent?
GYM is a 30 something millennial interested in achieving financial freedom through disciplined saving, dividend and ETF investing, and living a minimalist lifestyle. Before you go, check out my recommendations page of financial tools I use to save and invest money. Don’t forget to subscribe for blog updates, a free dividend yield spreadsheet, and the free Young Money Bootcamp eCourse.