If you’re looking for an affordable way to rent a car, Turo may be the answer. Turo is a bit like Airbnb on wheels: It provides a secure platform for people to rent out their cars at affordable rates.
Team Clark has explored the process of renting a car with Turo and compared the prices to well-known car rental services to see how well it does.
In this article, I’ll look at how Turo works and what the process is like for finding and renting a car. I’ll also look at how insurance works when you rent a vehicle through Turo and see how its prices compare to those of popular car rental companies.
This article was updated in May 2023 and I review it every 12 months. Detailed notes on all updates can be found here.
5 Things To Know About Turo
If you’re looking to rent a car, Turo may offer some of the best prices. It’s also a great way to test drive a particular vehicle that you’re thinking about buying. To do this, you can browse Turo’s website or app by destination or vehicle make. Then, you can search for cars in a particular geographic area. According to the company’s website, Turo operates in more than 7,500 cities, and we found rates as low as $26 per day in May 2023.
If you’re thinking about renting a car through Turo, here are five things to know first:
Below, you’ll find more detailed information about Turo including how to search for a car and what to expect once you find one to rent.
What Is Turo?
According to the company’s website, Turo is the world’s largest peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace. It works similar to an Airbnb for cars in that vehicle owners can become Turo hosts and make their vehicles available for rent. Whether you’re traveling out of town, your current car is out of service or you’re looking for an extended test drive of a specific vehicle, Turo may be a cost-effective option.
Turo was founded in 2010 and now has relatively positive ratings and reviews across the web. As of May 2023, on Trustpilot, Turo maintains an “Excellent” rating, with 4.6 out of 5 stars from 32.2K reviews. The app has earned 4.8 out of 5 stars from 211.8K reviews on the App Store and 4.9 out of 5 stars from 258K reviews on Google Play.
Turo’s Better Business Bureau profile isn’t quite as positive: The company is not accredited by the BBB. Many of the complaints mention cancellation issues and charges for late returns. However, it appears that Turo is active on BBB, as it has closed 1,302 complaints in the last 12 months as of May 2023. If you do try Turo and have an issue, submitting a complaint on BBB could be a good way to get it resolved.
How Does Turo Work?
Turo works by connecting local vehicle owners with people who are looking to rent a car in their area. The company earns money by taking 10-40% of the total price of the rental depending on what coverage plan the vehicle owner purchases when they become a host.
Finding a Car
When I checked out Turo myself, I visited the website to begin.
On Turo’s homepage, you’ll find a search bar at the top. There, you can enter the name of a city, airport, address or hotel name and the days and times that you’ll need a vehicle. You can also scroll down to browse what’s available by popular vehicle makes and by destination. I entered Denver as a destination to find out what would be available for a week in July 2023.
There were over 200 results for my selected destination and dates. Prices began at $33 daily for a 2013 Fiat 500 and ranged up to $886 daily for a 2021 Land Rover Range Rover.
You can sort the results by relevance or price. You can also filter the results to show cars within a certain price range, cars that are available for instant booking, delivery cost, distance included and more. If you’re looking for a specific vehicle type, certain features or a highly-rated host, you can find these options under “More filters.”
Once you find a car you’re interested in, you can click on it to see additional details.
Across the top of the page, you’ll see photos of the vehicle that have been uploaded by the owner. Below that, you’ll see additional information including a total price estimate, the car specs and features, the host’s rating and how many trips they’ve completed.
There are a couple of things to look for on this page before you decide to book a car. First, check the included distance. For the vehicle pictured above, it was 1200 miles and 22 cents per mile for additional miles driven. Next, check the parking details and the guidelines. This is where the host will describe where to find the car and any special requests. For the vehicle I looked into, the guidelines included no pets, no smoking and returning the car with a full tank of gas.
Finally, be sure to read any available ratings and reviews from previous customers.
Renting a Car
If you decide that you’d like to rent the car, verify the dates and click “Continue.” From there, you’ll have to create an account with Turo to proceed. You’ll need to enter your name and email address and create a password.
If you’re new to Turo, there are a few tasks you’ll have to complete in order to get approved to drive. First, you’ll have to verify your email address. Then, you’ll have to upload a profile photo, enter and verify your mobile phone number, enter your driver’s license information and a payment method. According to the website, most applications get approved immediately, and you’ll have to complete this process only the first time you rent through Turo.
Once you’ve booked a car, you’ll have until 24 hours before your trip to cancel it for free. If you keep your reservation, you’ll be able to have the car delivered to you on the day you need it or pick it up yourself from your host at a nearby public location. Simply check in with the app, get the keys and hit the road.
At the end of your trip, you’ll either be able to drop your car off where you picked it up or have your host pick it up directly from you.
How Much Does Turo Cost?
According to Turo’s website, trip costs vary depending on the vehicle you select, the protection plan you purchase, and whether you add any “extras” (more on those in a moment). You will see an itemized list of all charges before you check out. Commercial Hosts may offer additional rental liability insurance that you’ll have to pay in addition to Turo’s fees, but this will be clear on a vehicle’s listing.
When I looked for vehicles available for a week during July 2023 in Denver, prices ranged from $33-$886 daily. In addition to the estimated trip price you see on the results page, there are some additional fees. There’s a trip fee, which is a percentage of the trip price, the cost of a protection plan and a young driver fee for renters under the age of 26.
If you add any extras, such as prepaid refueling, unlimited mileage, bicycles, tents or other items a host may offer, there will be an additional fee for these. You may also have to pay a security deposit based on your age, auto insurance status, trip details or other factors. Taxes may also apply. To learn more about trip costs, check out Turo’s website.
I also wanted to see how Turo’s base prices compared to other popular car rental companies. I looked up the best prices I could find for midsize and compact cars at popular cities for a week in July. Here’s what I found:
|City/Vehicle||Turo||Enterprise||Alamo||Budget Car Rental|
|Denver (Midsize Car)||$312||$569||$606||$510|
|Atlanta (Midsize Car)||$347||$502||$565||$493|
|San Francisco (Compact Car)||$607||$601||$539||$594|
As you can see, Turo’s prices are consistently low across the board. I found a Toyota Corolla on Turo in Denver for $198 cheaper for the week than the next-best price at Budget. I found a similar car on Turo in Atlanta for only $347, which is almost a third of the cost of the next-best deal I found, from Budget.
Ironically, though Turo’s headquarters are in San Francisco, it was the only city where I found a better deal from a chain. Alamo offered a compact car for nearly $70 less for the week than Turo.
Ultimately, while Turo offers consistently low prices, it’s still important to comparison shop. Also, be prepared for additional charges including a trip fee, protection plan, young driver fee, taxes and potentially more. Despite these fees, though, Turo is definitely worth checking out if you’re looking for a good price on a car rental.
Turo offers third-party liability insurance that’s provided by Liberty Mutual and secured through Turo Insurance Agency, LLC. Hosts are responsible for the insurance on rented cars. They can choose a coverage plan that works for them, but each one includes up to $750,000 in liability, physical damage reimbursement and 24/7 roadside assistance for all trips.
There are five different insurance plans to choose from, but unless you’re thinking about becoming a Turo host you won’t need to worry about the insurance as much. It mostly covers the vehicle owner in case of emergency.
According to Turo’s website, you don’t need personal insurance coverage to book a car. Plus, as long as they’re approved to drive on Turo, you can add additional drivers.
You can purchase an optional guest protection plan for additional coverage. There are three plans to choose from that cost anywhere between 15% and 100% of the trip price. You can also choose to decline protection. If you do this, you’ll receive the minimum amount of third-party liability insurance coverage required by the state where the car is registered, and you’ll be responsible for all damage costs.
To learn more about guest protection plans, visit Turo’s website.
Ultimately, Turo is a safe and legitimate way to rent a car from a local host. Since 2010, Turo has grown into a popular service with more than 332K total app ratings and an “Excellent” ranking on Trustpilot from consumers. To get started, you can download the app for iPhone or Android or visit the company’s website.
The peer-to-peer car sharing marketplace generally offers more affordable vehicle options than well-known car rental companies. Still, it’s important to shop around for the best deal.
When you check out Turo for yourself, I recommend sorting your search results by price (low to high) to push more expensive luxury cars toward the bottom of the page. If you plan on having the car delivered to you, you can also filter your search results by “free delivery.” Additionally, know about how far you plan to drive the vehicle. If you’re taking it on a long road trip, make sure it includes all the distance you’ll need. If you’re staying closer to the city, you might be able to find a deal on a car with a shorter distance included.
If you do choose to rent a car through Turo, be sure to read previous customers’ reviews and look at the host’s rating before booking. Finally, while the host will have insurance for the vehicle, you will also have the option to purchase a guest protection plan for additional coverage.
Have you ever used Turo to rent a car? Tell us about your experience in our Clark.com Community!
- May 17, 2023: Updated current pricing and reviews.