Turo Review: Airbnb for cars

**This post may contain affiliate links. I may be compensated if you use them.

Are you looking for a Turo review from someone who’s actually used the platform? Do you have a vehicle that spends more time sitting in your driveway than on the road and want to make some money? Or maybe you need access to a vehicle that’s more convenient than car rental agencies.

Let me introduce you to one of the newest and easiest ways Canadians can make money and book cars. Turo, commonly referred to as Airbnb for cars, is a peer-to-peer car sharing service that has recently gained a lot of attention. In this Turo review, I’m going to share how you can turn your unused vehicle into a regular source of income without having to leave the comfort of your home. If you’re a guest, I’ll share why Turo is so much better than car rental companies. Interested? Let’s dig in. 

turo review

What is Turo?

So, what is Turo? As I said above, you can think of it as the Airbnb for cars. Except instead of renting out your house or room out to strangers, you are renting your car. Turo originated in the USA but has been operating in Canada since 2016. They started in Ontario, Alberta and Quebec but have since also expanded to Nova Scotia and British Columbia. Since launching, more than 1 million Canadians have signed up for Turo and over 44,000 cars have been listed. Turo hosts can be found in 370 cities in Canada and operates in two other countries: the USA and UK. 

Like Airbnb, those looking for a car can search for specific features or models. Think deluxe and super deluxe cars for a luxury weekend getaway, a pet-friendly vehicle for those travelling with a canine companion, or an all-wheel-drive for adventure-seekers who are going off-grid camping.  Each host has an online profile where you can see the types of vehicle(s) they have available and read reviews about Turo guest experiences. Hosts can rest easy knowing that the guests are vetted by Turo and, at the end of the day, whether you decide to accept or decline a booking is completely up to you.  

How does Turo work (for guests)

So how does Turo work? As a guest (the renter), you will create an account either online or via the Turo app and confirm your eligibility as a driver (verification takes up to 24 hours). Once everything is verified, you can start searching for a vehicle to book.

Since this is a peer-to-peer car sharing service, you can search via the built-in map or with other filters such as price, type of car, brand, etc. There are definitely way more options than a typical car rental company to choose from. More importantly, the convenience factor and customer service are much better.

Turo review search

Once you choose your car you will be taken to the host’s profile where you read more details as well as reviews. If all sounds good, you can go ahead and request to book. Most bookings are instantly approved but others need to be approved by the host first. 

If you’re new to Turo, the host will walk you through the pickup process. Many of them have made things contactless, so you won’t need to interact with a real person. That said, you’ll be communicating with them throughout the pickup process as you’ll need to provide an ID (or a selfie with your ID with contactless) for pickups.

When you pick up your car, there will usually be a full tank of gas. When you return it, a full tank is expected. If you didn’t have time to fill it up, the host will do it and provide a receipt which gets billed to you after. Note that the hosts will take pictures of everything including the odometer at pickup and drop off so there’s no fraud. You can even have the car delivered to you, but that comes at an extra cost.

If your plans change, don’t worry. You can cancel for free up to 24 hours before the trip but assuming all is a go, you can either have the car delivered to where you need it or pick it up from your host. This is pre-determined when you book and, depending on where you are, you may also choose a ‘Turo-Go’ vehicle that unlocks through the app. Once you have the car, you can hit the road!  

How does Turo work (for hosts)

If you’ve made it this far in my Turo review, then clearly you want to make a little extra cash (or a lot) on the side as a host. The good news is that Turo is incredibly easy to get on board with as a host.

Start with creating an account on Turo.com. It’s totally free to set up and shouldn’t take you too long. The steps include:

  • List your vehicle(s) – you can have more than one
  • Set your availability and price
  • Rent your vehicle(s)
  • Get Paid

Easy right?

While creating your profile you will need to include the make and model of your vehicle and include several photos. Note that there is a checklist in place to ensure that your vehicle is eligible. There are universal requirements as well as country-specific requirements. For example, in Canada, the car can be no older than 12 years. You can find all of those details here.  

When it comes to pricing, you can set it yourself or choose automatic pricing in which the Turo algorithm will set it for you based on price and demand. Finally, remember Turo does have a vetting process for guests. When guests sign up, they need to provide their personal information. Turo will look up their insurance history and only approve drivers that have a good record. Someone who has been in multiple accidents, likely won’t get approved.

Turo review pricing

As a host, you have a lot of options. At any time, you can block off your car for personal use. You can also have more than one car on the platform. Some hosts have a whole fleet. How you manage your car/s is up to you. Many hosts will just rent it from their home, but some hosts who have multiple cars will even rent parking spots in high demand areas so they can increase their income.

Which leads to the real question you are wondering: how much money can you actually make from Turo? According to Turo, small business hosts on average earn $9,337 CAD in annual income from one car listed, $28,010 CAD from three cars listed, $46,684 CAD from five cars listed, and $84,031 CAD from nine cars listed.

Not bad for something that might just otherwise sit unused in your driveway! Heck, you could even build a small business out of it which is why many hosts find Turo to be worth it.

Turo insurance

Of course, one of the biggest questions when it comes to these car sharing services is insurance. Here is how Turo insurance works for guests and hosts. 

For Hosts

Turo offers insurance coverage to hosts in eligible Canadian provinces in which Turo operates (Ontario, Alberta, Quebec, Nova Scotia, British Columbia). Coverage in Canada is provided by Intact Financial Corporation and pays $2,000,000 in liability protection and physical damage protection (up to a maximum of $105,000). 

If you live outside of these provinces or choose to decline Turo insurance, you can still become a commercial host in which you waive all Turo protections. Learn more here.

It’s important to note that even though your personal insurance will not be used by Turo, they must be notified and approve of you participating in a peer-to-peer car sharing program. If they don’t approve, then your personal policy may be voided. 

For Guests

In this Turo review, I’m going to go over insurance for guests. There are 4 different options that guests can choose depending on the deductible (max out of pocket expense):

  • Premier plan: The maximum coverage plan with $0 deductible
  • Standard plan: $500 deductible
  • Minimum plan: $2000 deductible
  • Decline plan

In all plans, even including “Decline protection”, guests are still covered by a $2,000,000 third-party liability policy. Full details can be found here.

All plans come standard with CA$2 million liability coverage provided by Intact, or ICBC in British Columbia. That protects you if you’re in an accident and someone tries to sue you. Roadside assistance is also included as a guest, so you can call for help if you’re in an accident.

How much does Turo take?

So, what’s the cost to you as a host? Don’t worry. You don’t have to pay to sign up and become a host. You also don’t pay a monthly fee. Which might leave you wondering; but, wait. How does Turo make money then?

Turo takes a cut of each trip price. That cut is dependent on the type of Turo plan chosen with the standard plan being a 70/30 split. As in, you get 70%, Turo takes 30%. This may seem high, but it’s actually lower than Lyft and Uber when you consider the fact that guests pay for your gas and you get fantastic insurance overage.

Keep in mind, the host sets the daily price, discounts, and delivery fees (within Turo’s limits). If you charge incidental costs (tolls, cleaning, smoking fees etc.) you will get 100% of that. If you offer extras, you’ll get 90% of that cost. And finally, if you charge for driving extra distances, late return then you will get a percentage based on the protection chosen. 

Is Turo cheaper than car rental agencies?

It really depends. If you’re renting a basic economy car, then car rental agencies will likely be cheaper. For some people, this will be the only real downside in my Turo review. However, if you’re renting a luxury vehicle or you want a specific car, then Turo will often be cheaper. That said, costs shouldn’t always be your number one concern as convenience and customer service should factor into your decision.

With Turo, you can search for a car rental in your immediate area. Whether that be at home or while you’re on vacation, you can quickly find a car that’s close by. If you used a car rental agency, you might have to go to the airport or one of their pickup locations which aren’t that convenient. Also, with car rental agencies, you rarely know the exact car you’ll get. They just tell you the type of car e.g. economy, SUV. With Turo, you can rent a specific vehicle for your needs. E.g. a jeep if you’re going camping or to the beach.

Airbnb for cars

Pros and cons of Turo

Nothing is perfect, but it’s up to you to decide if the benefits outweigh the pitfalls. Here are some of the main pros and cons of Turo for both hosts and guests. 

Pros

  • Easy way to make money without much work on your end
  • Very flexible- you set the schedule and prices 
  • No fixed monthly costs
  • Comprehensive insurance & Liability protection
  • More convenient than typical car rental companies
  • Free cancellation within 24 hours of pickup 

Cons

  • There are a number of eligibility requirements you need to meet to qualify as a host
  • Booking frequency is very dependent on where you live. Obviously, it will be easier to get bookings in bigger and more popular cities
  • There is an exclusivity policy. If you list with Turo, you cannot list on other car-sharing platforms.
  • At the end of the day, you are allowing strangers into your car. This requires a lot of trust on your level as some guests may not be as kind and considerate as others when using your vehicle. 
  • Limited to 5 provinces in Canada

Is Turo legit?

Yes, Turo is a legit service. You can search them online and read plenty of user reviews on platforms such as Consumer Affairs, Better Business Bureau, and Trust Pilot. At the time of writing this article, reviews for Turo are pretty decent with 4/5 stars or higher on multiple platforms. 

To prevent fraud, there are a few different verification policies in place. Not only do you need to provide your personal information including your driver’s license when you sign up, but you also need to provide ID again when you do the pickup. This protects both the guests and the hosts.

Turo customer service

Turo offers 24/7 roadside assistance and responsive customer support 7 days a week. Guests and hosts both have access to online chats to help you with any issues you have. 

If you need roadside assistance you can call the following toll-free numbers. You will be directed to either a Turo employee or a third-party partner. 

  • In the United States, call 1.415.965.4525
  • In Canada, call 1.888.391.0460
  • In the UK, call 0344.243.8660

Is Turo worth it?

So, is Turo worth it? Well, that’s a pretty individual question that depends on your lifestyle and whether you would be willing or not to share your car with strangers. What I can say is that Turo is legit and as far as side hustles go, this one is about as easy as it gets. So If you need access to a car quickly, checking Turo first might allow you to get behind a wheel fast. 

Turo Review: Airbnb for cars

About Barry Choi

Barry Choi is a Toronto-based personal finance and travel expert who frequently makes media appearances. His blog Money We Have is one of Canada’s most trusted sources when it comes to money and travel. You can find him on Twitter:@barrychoi

7 Comments

  1. John on September 28, 2017 at 8:17 PM

    There is some monkey business here. Listed my Vehicle that is very similar to one other here in the DFW market. My rental rate was a lot lower than the other….for a Car 3 years newer. They suddenly send a message de-listing my car because it’s not on the “approved” list. The other Car; still on there.

  2. Jerry on June 12, 2018 at 9:08 PM

    Hi! I was wondering if I could post an article on Turo myself. I’m a Power Host in the LA area and want to spread the word of Turo. It’s a great tool to subsidize the cost of your car! I have the most up to date info on what it takes to be a successful Turo host.

    Here’s a small article I wrote on the topic, I’m going to be adding more content. http://sharingeconomysecrets.com/turo/how-much-can-you-make-on-turo/ Whoever is in charge please contact me if you have opportunities. Thank you!

  3. Ion Freeman on November 8, 2018 at 7:15 AM

    Did you ever actually useTuro? What do you think now?

    • Barry Choi on November 8, 2018 at 7:41 AM

      Ion,

      It’s been almost 2 years since I tested out Turo so I really can’t make comments on a recent experience.

    • Chris Kennedy on August 8, 2021 at 9:05 PM

      This Business Model Has Serious Issues!!!

      The problem with Turo is horrible customer service and they have no (QC) Quality Control over their Hosts.

      I recently had two Hosts cancel in back to back bookings within 24 hours, one 5 minutes before my 12:30AM Airport Pickup and the other 10 minutes after my scheduled pick up when I was standing at the car and the host informed me the car needed maintenance.
      I expressed my feelings with the first host via a response to his 12:25AM last minute text message, after arriving at the airport traveling on vacation with my daughter and then directly to customer service after each cancellation.Over the next month I was left on hold over 8 hours during 6 attempts to resolve the situation.They had offered a $100 credit after the first host canceled and then less after the second host canceled, my contention being they should have increased the credit offer and concern for my poor experience.

      After much back and forth they said my angry text with the first host violated their “standards”, then revoked any credits and canceled my membership!!!
      The CEO and his team NEED SERIOUS CUSTOMER EXPERIENCE TRAINING!
      Again, The Business Model Has Serious Issues!!

      • Ion Freeman on August 9, 2021 at 11:16 AM

        Yes, I tried it myself last month. On top of the insurance issue — you’re not strictly renting a car, so Amex rental car coverage and your personal insurance coverage don’t apply — you have the vicissitudes of the local car owner’s emotional state, as you would with airBnB.

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