By now, you’ve probably heard of home-sharing rental services, such as Airbnb. Instead of booking a hotel room, travelers can rent rooms or even a full private home directly from the homeowner. The transaction is facilitated by the online platform that connects the traveler with the homeowner based on selected criteria, including location, the number of bedrooms, and the price range.
The increased access to high-speed broadband connections that makes this type of platform possible has given rise to a wide range of similar peer-to-peer services. Such services include Uber and Lyft (ride-sharing platforms), Upstart (a lending platform), and Grubhub (food ordering and delivery).
You can even skip the traditional car rental counter during your next vacation and use Turo, a car sharing platform. Unlike with Uber and Lyft, which operate essentially as taxi services, with Turo you are either the driver or the one who is providing the vehicle. This raises a bunch of insurance-related questions about who is covered by what insurance and what happens if there’s an accident.
Let’s take a closer look at Turo and Turo insurance.
What is Turo?
Turo is a car sharing platform. As a sharing site, there are two sides involved: car owners, and car borrowers. The platform facilitates the process of listing the car, offering information about the car owner (along with ratings, such as responsiveness), and pre-screening applications submitted by those interested in booking a vehicle.
Car sharing through Turo can benefit both car owners and car borrowers. If you live in a place with great public transportation, but still want to keep your car, a sharing site like Turo allows you to make money by lending out your car when you aren’t driving it.
On the flip side, if you’re interested in booking a specific type of car (such as a classic car to celebrate a milestone birthday), you’ll find more availability of niche vehicles through private owners than you would through a car rental company. Want to drive a Lamborghini Huracan during your next trip to London? There’s one available on Turo (for £910 a day, roughly $1,195 at current exchange rates).
If you’re looking for a more standard rental car, Turo will often cost less than a typical rental as well. It can help you save money on car rental.
It’s not surprising that Turo is growing quickly. Turo offers a wide variety of vehicles to choose from, pick up or delivery options (to avoid waiting at a rental car counter), roadside assistance, and a range of Turo insurance options.
Turo insurance considerations
Clearly, there are insurance implications for both car owners who list their personal vehicles on Turo and for the drivers who book them.
In the United States, Turo provides insurance through Turo Insurance Agency, an LLC that provides policies through its partner, Liberty Mutual. Liberty Mutual provides coverage for both the “host” vehicles and the coverage for the travelers who book the car.
Host Coverage: The most important safeguard that Turo Insurance provides to the owner of the vehicle, the host (in their words), is that their personal car insurance policy shouldn’t be impacted if there’s an accident when someone who booked through Turo is driving the car.
Traveler Coverage (U.S.): Turo doesn’t require those booking cars on its site to have personal coverage. If you do have your own policy, Turo’s coverage operates as supplementary insurance. Drivers booking through Turo should ask questions and make sure they understand what coverage the “host” has. Some vehicles available to book on Turo are offered by commercial companies, which might have declined Turo’s coverage. In those cases, the policy is through the commercial company’s insurance provider.
When you book a car through Turo to drive in Canada, the United Kingdom, or Germany, different coverage applies. Be sure to read through the details and understand exactly what type of coverage you have before you drive the vehicle.
If you are in an accident or damage the car, your financial obligation will vary, depending on the type of coverage selected when you booked. There are three levels of Turo-offered protection: Premier, Standard, and Minimum. You’ll pay more for Premier coverage, but you’ll be out of pocket less if there is any damage.
You also have the option to decline coverage altogether. However, make sure that you understand what your responsibility is for any damage that occurs, including minor nicks and dents, if you decline Turo insurance.
Turo insurance plans
Turo offers two insurance plans through Liberty Mutual.
Premium insurance plan: It covers physical exterior damage (not mechanical or interior damage)to the car up to its actual cash value as well as liability coverage up to $1,000,000 for bodily injury and property damage to third parties. The maximum deductible for physical damage is $500. It includes the minimum coverage for Personal Injury Protection and Uninsured/Underinsured motorist coverage. This plan costs 40 % of the rental price. Basic insurance plan: It covers physical damage to the car up to the actual cash value. The coverage covers only external damages to the car, but not mechanical or interior damages. It also provides liability coverage according to the minimum state requirements.
Additional Turo considerations
There are many aspects that you should think through before deciding to list your car on Turo or to book one for your next vacation.
Taking pictures: Turo recommends this, and it’s essential to have photos in case there’s a dispute about damage. Taking photos of the vehicle when you pick it up and when it’s returned makes sense. It’s quick and fast if you use your smartphone.
Mileage: Some cars have mileage limits and you will be charged for any mileage that exceeds the agreed upon limit.
Terms of service: Anyone using the Turo platform, hosts or guests, agrees to abide by the platform’s terms. Make sure that you review and understand them!
Prohibited uses: If you’ve booked a vehicle, there are some prohibitions on use. For example, you are not allowed to race the vehicle, smoke in any Turo vehicle, or use one to tow anything.
The internet has enabled a vast array of options available to travelers, including car sharing. If you do your research and know what is expected of you, listing your car or booking one on Turo can be a great option and Turo insurance is there to make it easy. As with any insurance policy or product, it’s important to read and understand the details (the fine print).
Have you used Turo to rent a car or list your car for rental? Let us know about your experience with Turo and Turo insurance in the comments section below.
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