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Turo started up around 2010, and since then, it has made a name for itself as a carsharing platform that allows vehicle owners to make some money while providing a reasonably priced and convenient rental for those needing transport. But is it legit?

Turo is a legitimate platform that screens and approves potential hosts and guests. Turo provides liability cover, 24-hour assistance, and has various policies to protect both parties. Do your research before using Turo to ensure you are not liable for additional costs and to avoid getting scammed.

What do you need to know about Turo to ensure you aren't scammed or don't run into nasty situations that you are liable to pay for?

Is Turo Legit?

Turo is a legitimate carsharing platform that operates internationally. It aims to provide vehicles to rent at your convenience, at a lower price than traditional rental agencies charge – but it's not just about those renting. It also provides an entrepreneurial springboard for those who have a vehicle they can use to generate an income.

Although the platform has numerous checks and balances in place to protect both the hosts and those renting cars, you should still know a few things to ensure your safety. Let's look closely at what Turo does and how you can keep yourself safe, whether you are looking to rent a car or to list your vehicle for rental.

What Services Does Turo Offer?

Turo is listed as a peer-to-peer carsharing company in the United States, although the official terminology is ‘car sharing marketplace' on the Turo platform. Turo differs from traditional car-rental agencies that see a corporation owning a fleet of cars and hiring them out for use; the Turo platform functions as a middleman for private citizens and civilians who have a vehicle they would like to rent out.

The entire process is run via the Turo app and website, connecting people seeking a vehicle to use during a specific time with those who have a car available. You can search for a vehicle for your particular needs by make or destination. You can even select a specific vehicle category, including electric, premium, or pet-friendly ones.

Other types of cars include classic or vintage cars and off-road specific vehicles that can be taken onto rougher terrain. The service is flexible; you can select how long you want to rent a car and see what matches are available.

What You Need To Know About Turo

If you're wondering whether the Turo platform is legitimate, it's likely because there has been some controversy, or you may have heard some bad reviews. In June 2022, a California Appellate Court ruled that Turo should not be seen as a car rental company since it is an online platform that connects people who have cars available to rent to those who want to rent them.

While this may concern some, it shouldn't sway you from using the service safely. The consequences of this ruling are that Turo doesn't get the same legislative protections as traditional rental agencies, but that doesn't mean Turo isn't safe. The platform has insurance and various policies in place to provide a secure service to both hosts and renters.

Turo aims to make it quicker and more accessible for people to find a car when needed. Some advantages of using Turo are less red tape and admin, free cancellation up to 24 hours before the trip, and lower fees. Here are some Turo basics:

  • To book or host a car on Turo, you need to sign up for an account that requires that you are older than 18 in the United States. You need to have a valid driver's license and pass the approval process, which Turo guides.
  • Turo offers three protection plans – Premier, Standard, or Minimum – which cover you with third-party automobile liability insurance.
  • The Turo app provides access to roadside assistance, phone support, and customer services around the clock.
  • The process of renting a car via Turo is simple once you've registered and been approved: find the car you want to hire by entering a location and date; book the trip on the app or website, select a protection plan, and connect with the host; take delivery of the vehicle.
  • Anyone approved to drive the vehicle you've booked via the Turo process is covered, and adding additional drivers is free of charge. However, all drivers must meet the minimum criteria and have a valid Turo account.
  • Cancellation up to 24 hours before the start of the trip is allowed, and should the host cancel the booking, Turo will assist you in finding a suitable replacement rental. Your fees can be held or refunded to you in this situation.
  • Turo requires that hosts clean and disinfect their vehicles before every new rental is taken, and Turo hosts are given training materials on all these issues.

If you want to make money, Turo provides the opportunity and tools for you. Here's what you need to know if you want to become a Turo host:

  • As long as you have registered and been approved as a legitimate host, you can have more than one vehicle rental and choose when and for how long it is available to others.
  • Hosts are covered with liability insurance by Turo, and everything can be managed easily and quickly over the Turo app.

What You Should Know To Avoid Problems With Turo

Some people have left negative reviews of Turo, but more often than not, there are preventable reasons for their bad experiences. Now that you have insight, it's easier to identify ways for renters and hosts to protect themselves from any issues.

Here is what you need to know to avoid stress, additional fees, and break-downs:

  • Check the reviews properly: Whether this is reviews and ratings for the car, host, or person renting your car, you should ensure you've perused the available information thoroughly. When you then hand over the car or take delivery of a vehicle, ensure the person you're meeting is the right one and that the car aligns with what it is listed as.

The car's make, model, and condition should be exactly as stated online – take pictures and discuss any discrepancies immediately. You are likely to pick up if there are issues with previous users from their reviews – for example; reviews may suggest that a car listed “as new” has significant damage they were charged for.

  • Thoroughly examine the car you're renting at handover – inside and outside: A common complaint has been that the vehicle has a lingering cigarette smell. If you don't note it in advance, the host may claim it's your fault for smoking in the car and hold you liable for odor removal at cost.

Similarly, for hosts, those hiring your car may make similar claims which aren't correct. Don't rush handovers; take the time to examine the car together and agree on the condition.

  • Do your homework on the car: Especially for long-term rentals and those with advanced tech, find out how the vehicle works and performs in various environments. You'll also need to know how to deal with recharging if it's not something you're familiar with or how to operate drive modes.
  • When things go wrong: The Turo app has a 24-hour emergency line and customer support team; familiarize yourself with those contact details.
  • Safety: Those renting and those hosting need to have a valid and approved profile on Turo, but take the time to correlate this information when you take/hand over the car. Never complete a handover with someone not listed on the profile. Similarly, the Turo app protects your address, email, and phone number and only makes it available once the trip is booked.

Conclusion

Turo is a helpful platform that can benefit those wanting to make some extra money and those who need a rental vehicle at a reasonable price. While the Turo platform has processes and insurance in place to cover renters and hosts, it's still up to you to ensure you do your homework properly to ensure your safety. Turo is a legitimate service that should be used responsibly.

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