Who's got experience (especially as an an owner/renter) with Turo? ("AirBnB for cars")

Long story short: I have a car ideally suited for a large family or road trip (a 2008 Acura MDX SUV) that is now too large for my my everyday driving needs, as two of my three children are now college aged, able to drive themselves, and aren’t always traveling with us any more. My wife is short and has developed mobility issues that often make climbing up into the car painful, and we’re replacing it with a Honda Civic which she finds ideal.

So it seems like it’s time to sell the car.

But, the MDX would still be useful once a month or so for family road trips to avoid having to take two cars, or to cram five people for hours on end into the Honda Civic that’s going to replace it as a “daily driver” type car, or for the times when we also pick up my parents and utilize the third row of seats. It’s been a very useful car for hauling large items, too.

I’ve also modified the car extensively with audio system upgrades for those long road trips (we took this car cross-country and back, 5 years ago), and added a remote start and security system, and generally kept the car in great shape and will miss having it for those scenarios.

If only I could not sell it, but basically rent it out for most of the time, except when I needed it on an as-planned basis! After all, we’ve only put 83,500 miles on it in all this time, it’s considered a very low mileage car as it is.

So, I Googled for something like “AirBnB but for cars”, and what do you know, there is exactly such a thing: Turo.

More Googling turned up numerous horror stories (from an owner’s POV) about their car getting abused, damaged, or wrecked by “renters”, but it seems most of those were from people who for some reason were sharing sports cars or luxury cars like Porsche 911s, Mercedes Benzes, or Jaguars, I guess to defray the cost of owning them in the first place… And attracting joy riders.

But my car is not any kind of sexy performance vehicle, and is long since paid for. I am looking at either selling it outright for something on the order of $9,000 and never seeing it again (based on listings on Cars.com or AutoTrader), or… Possibly… Doing this to lease it out, most likely to a family use case? I see listings on Turo for this kind of car in California being leased out at $38/day, which at 75% return after standard insurance costs would be $28.50/day.

I would never consider doing this with a car I actually needed, and if the worst came to the worst - someone wrecked this car - the insurance would cover it, and I’d not be much worse off than if I’d outright sold it. Meanwhile, if I were able to rent it out (say) for 100 days a year, in under 3 years’ time I’d equal the sales money from it, minus the maintenance costs, while also retaining use of it myself for specific trips.

Has anybody any experience using this service, especially recently, and especially as an owner (though I’m curious about the experience from the renter’s side of it as well)?

Actually, now that I’ve read Turo’s FAQs on their website, this is a no-go for me because New York State is the one state that has banned the renting of personal cars.


That was from 2013 but it doesn’t look like it’s changed. Big Rental has friends in Albany, it seems.

Looks like you’ve already found another reason not to do it, but how sure are you of the above claim?

I’m pretty sure my insurance won’t cover a commercial use of my personal vehicle. It may or may not be possible to get reasonably priced insurance that does. It’s also not at all clear to me how much liability I might be taking on. Like, it’s one thing if my car is wrecked. That’s a bummer, but the losses are limited to the value of the car. What if the person I rent it to takes out a busload of kids? Do I have any liability?

Not so much because Big Rental has friends in Albany- I mean they might, but Turo ( then known as Relay Rides ) was accused of selling insurance without a licence, misrepresenting consumer’s liability , falsely stating that the owner’s insurance policy would not be involved if there was an accident ( which is not true in NY, there’s no way to exclude renters who are driving with the permission of the owner *) and misrepresented to vehicle owners that their own liability carriers would not cancel or non-renew their policies even though renting out your car was almost certainly a violation of your non-commercial insurance policy.

  • you can exclude a particular named driver who is part of your household , but the “named” and “household” parts are important.The reason for the exclusion is so that your 20 year old son whose license has already been suspended three times doesn’t raise your rates. You can’t just exclude any unnamed person who might ever rent/borrow your car.

I’ve used Turo as the customer in the past. One thing that used to be unclear was what kind of insurance protected the renter. I looked the other day and it seems like that’s now been worked out—though it’s not a trivial add-on cost.

I admit I don’t know much about, nor care to, but to paraphrase Stephen Colbert, “This is the Craziest Fucking Thing I’ve ever heard.”

The potential for Fuckery is just too vast to wrap my mind around.

On a similar topic, I once rented a car to a movie production company to shoot a film. Long story short, it was returned with such obvious ABUSE (in no way could the things that were done to this car have anything to do with this movie). A real bad deal.

The assholes left a bunch of props in the trunk, and contacted me some time later to get them back for some post-production reshoots and stuff.

I basically told them, *“You can suck them through a garden hose out of my lawyer’s asshole if you ever try to talk to me again!”.

*They are still sitting in my garage.

Eh, it seems like it could be fine, if the regulatory issues were worked out.

Car rental companies manage to handle the problems that occur when renters return the cars in less-than-pristine condition. I’m sure people who work for Hertz have a thousand stories like yours, yet they keep on renting cars.

There’s no particular reason that a company with the above skills would have to own the cars in question. Such a thing could work fine.

But insurance is really not set up for it.

I was almost a Turo renter once. Let me be an object lesson.

I once booked a two-day high-performance driver education class on a track not too far from me. Basically, this is a chance to drive the snot out of your own car on a race track. It’s not timed or competitive, but cars are basically pushed to the limit for 30 minutes at a time, for four or five sessions totaling 2-3 hours. I planned to use my dedicated track car but an unaddressed mechanical problem prevented that. I would be out about $400 just on the class reservation if I didn’t go. As a last desperate measure, I thought about renting a WRX I saw on Turo at the low rate of $40 per day. I know from experience that I go through a more than $80 in brakes and tires at the track over a weekend. Renting this car was cheaper than using my own.

In the end, I decided I’m just not big enough of an asshole to do this to some poor car owner.* Still, I assure you, some other Turo renter has done this to someone else’s car.

  • I also didn’t want to assume that random Turo member maintained their car well enough make this idea safe.

I’d be concerned about someone using my car while in possession of drugs and the cops claim the car under asset forfeiture, or worse, drugs are left in the car and when I get pulled over the car gets searched and I get hammered for the drugs.

Then there’s the quote from PJ O’Rourke:

I’m with Gatopescado on this one. No way in hell would I do that.

A bit off topic from the op as I have no experience with it, but my $0.02.