If you’ve been trying to book a rental car right now . . . well, good luck. With rental prices sky high, many people are looking to alternatives to booking a traditional rental car. Whether that means just using a rideshare everywhere you go, or booking a U-Haul in Hawaii, travelers are doing whatever they can to save some money on their car. A common alternative that people are turning to is Turo rental cars.

You may be wondering about Turo rental cars, and we’re here to help. Let’s take a deep dive into everything you need to know about Turo rental cars.

What Is Turo Rental Cars?

For starters, Turo is a car sharing platform where individuals can list their cars for rent. It has often been called the AirBNB of car rentals. Rather than rent a car from a large multinational corporation, you’re renting a local car from a local owner.

How is Turo Different From Traditional Rental Cars

Turo rental cars are different from traditional rental cars. With traditional rental car companies, you pick the category of car that you want and you show up and they hand you the keys. You can’t be certain about the type of car you’ll receive, since it will depend on inventory at the time.

With Turo rental cars, you’ll be able to select the specific rental car that you want. If you want a more affordable car with great gas mileage, you can find plenty of Hondas. But if you want more specialty cars like a Tesla or Porsche, you can find those options as well. The ability to select a specific car let’s you know exactly what you’ll be getting. As a tall guy, it’s invaluable to know that I’ll be able to choose a car with plenty of leg room.

Additionally, with Turo rental cars you often won’t see an upcharge for certain benefits. If the car already has built-in navigation, you won’t need to pay extra to access it.

When you book a car with Turo rental cars, it may not be conveniently located for you. You might have to take a rideshare or a taxi to get to the pickup location. Many Turo car operators will offer to drop the car off at the airport, but it may come with an additional drop off fee.

Another major difference is the year of cars available. Most rental car companies try to keep their fleet relatively young. This means you can expect your car to be no older than 2-3 years old, typically.

On the flip side, Turo let’s its renters provide cars up to 12 years old. You may be getting a slightly older car, but often they’re cheaper because of the age and mileage.

turo rental car

Pricing: Turo Rental Cars vs Traditional Rental Cars

When it comes to pricing, Turo is different from the rental car companies. Turo can often offer a pretty affordable alternative to traditional rental cars. You probably won’t find significant discounts in popular destinations like Hawaii, but other locations will often be more affordable with Turo.

Taking a look at Phoenix as an example. I can get an economy rental car for $68 a day. The rental company says it will be a Kia Rio or similar car.

Pricing Turo Rental Cars vs Traditional Rental Cars

Meanwhile, through Turo, I can get a Kia Rio at the same location for the same days for only $28 a day. That’s a savings of about $400 during the entire trip.

kia rio 2011

Additionally, many Turo hosts offer discounts for longer trips, or booking far in advance. These won’t be significant, maybe $10 or $20, but every little bit counts.

What Type of Car to Expect From Turo

When you book your Turo rental car, the type of car is set. Rather than booking a specific class of car, you are booking a specific car. I’ve had the rental car category bite me before. On a trip to Siesta Key in Florida, I flew into Tampa and rented an SUV. What I ended up with was an SUV, but it was a small, cramped, and uncomfortable to drive Mitsubishi Outlander Sport.

If I had booked through Turo, I would have known exactly what car I was going to get. That’s a big plus of Turo: you get what you book.

For those balling on a budget, you can choose the Kia Rio above to save a lot of money versus booking with a traditional rental car company.

If you’d rather have a more exotic experience, you can even choose cars like a Bentley or a Ferrari.

ferrari ff 2013

Typical Restrictions With Turo Rental Cars

Turo rental cars do come with a bit more restrictions than traditional rental cars. With most rental car companies, you always get unlimited mileage. Turo lets drivers set the mileage that you’re allowed to drive.

Some Turo operators do grant you unlimited mileage, while others will limit you. More exotic cars typically come with mileage restrictions while more affordable economy cars often have unlimited mileage included. Just be sure to double check, and be sure you aren’t going over the mileage allowance for your trip.

Turo Rental Car Age Requirements

Traditional rental car companies require renters to be 25 or older. Younger renters may be able to book a rental car, but they’ll pay even more with an underage surcharge if they can book a car at all.

Turo does have some age restrictions, but they do make it easier for younger renters to get in a rental car. For starters, the restrictions are based on your age at the time of booking, so if you’re about to bump up in age group, maybe wait before booking.

Turo’s age restrictions vary from country to country, and you can find all the age limitations on Turo’s site. However, in general here’s what you’re looking at.

To book a rental car with a total market value of more than $20,000, you must be 21 or older.

If you want to book a Deluxe Class car, you’ll need to be 25 or older. A deluxe car is one with a market value between $45,000 and $85,000.

A super deluxe car, or a specialty car are cars that have a fair market value of more than $85,000. To book one of these classes of vehicle you’ll need to be 30.

If you’re younger than 21, you can still book through Turo but you can’t book with commercial hosts. You can only book with peer to peer hosts. Most cars you find on Turo are peer to peer hosts. Commercial hosts are rental car companies listing their cars on Turo. You’ll be limited to booking a car with a market value of less than $20,000 and you’ll have to select a Turo protection plan.

Young drivers aren’t exempt from young driver fees on Turo either. If you’re 18-20 you’ll pay a minimum young driver fee of $50 a day. Drivers aged from 21-25 will be assessed a minimum young driver fee of $30 a day.

What to Expect From the Pick Up and Drop Off Process

Most people booking a rental car are flying to their destination and hoping to pick them up at the airport, making it easy and convenient to get your car. Turo operates a bit differently. Your rental car operator likely doesn’t live at the airport (unless it’s Tom Hanks in The Terminal). This means your pick up and drop off process may not be so seamless.

Your first option is to reach out to the car owner and see if they offer pickup and drop off services. Many operators offer this complimentary service for airport pickups. Some may do it for a small fee, expect $25-40 as this rate is set by the operator. Others may not offer it at all.

If your car operator doesn’t offer pickup services, you’ll have to get to the rental car pickup location. Thankfully, most airports have plenty of rideshare services or taxis available to help get you to the rental car.

For off-site pickups, your car operator will provide you with instructions. They may meet you at the car, or they may leave the keys in a secure location. Most pick up and drop off instructions are on the car rental page, so be sure to familiarize yourself and feel free to ask your operator if you have any questions about the process.

turo rental cars

Fees to Expect With Your Rental

Most of the fees that you’ll expect with Turo rental cars are similar to those you’ll face from traditional rental companies.

Be sure to return the car clean, or you’ll be assessed a cleaning fee. Fill up the tank, or you’ll likely pay a premium for the operator to refill the gas. Again, some operators may charge you for pick up and drop off services at the airport.

Unlike traditional rental car companies, Turo operators can set these fees themselves and they should be disclosed on the car rental page. Fees can vary wildly, so take these into consideration when choosing your vehicle. Some will ask you to take the car through a car wash of their choice for cleaning prior to drop off. Be sure to familiarize yourself with the operator’s policies to avoid being charged a surcharge.

Another big fee is an unlimited mileage fee, or excessive mileage. Again, the operators can set these independently. Some offer just a few extra bucks a day for unlimited mileage, while others may charge a few dollars for every extra mile driven. Expect higher fees on higher end cars than on economy cars.

Does Credit Card Insurance Apply on Turo

The ability to use credit card insurance on Turo is risky. Turo advises its renters to not rely on rental car insurance from credit cards to cover Turo cars.

American Express explicitly states that peer to peer sharing of cars is not covered under their rental car protections.

Chase requires the car be rented from a commercial rental car company that is licensed under the laws of the jurisdiction you’re renting in. Since Turo is just a platform for people to list their cars, they may not be licensed in the state you’re renting in. Plus, Turo doesn’t consider itself a commercial rental car company. In general, don’t expect rental car insurance from Chase to cover your Turo car rental.

The only issuer that may apply is Barclays, as there are reports out there that they have covered Turo rental cars. However, it isn’t explicitly stated in any benefits guides so you’ll be taking a risk by relying on a Barclays card.

Does Your Regular Car Insurance Cover Turo

If you’re wondering if your regular car insurance will cover Turo, this is a question best asked to your insurance company. In general, you shouldn’t expect your regular car insurance to cover you beyond basic liability when renting with Turo.

rental cars

How Turo’s Insurance Works

Your best bet when booking a rental car with Turo is to consider one of Turo’s insurance plans. You can choose to waive these, but your Turo rental does include guaranteed liability coverage that meets the state minimum requirements. However, if you want any protection for the vehicle itself, you’ll need to purchase one of Turo’s insurance plans.

You can choose from four different levels of insurance with Turo depending on the level of coverage you want.

The cheapest option is to decline additional coverage. Although you’re declining coverage, you will still get the minimum level of liability required by the state you’re renting the car in. However, you won’t be covered for any damage to the car, so if you have an accident no matter how minor, you’ll be covering the cost of repairs out of your own pocket.

If you want some coverage for your Turo rental car, you’ll need to purchase either the minimum, standard or premium package.

The minimum protection package offers a $3,000 deductible and costs 15-25% of the trip cost. This means you’ll be on the hook for the first $3,000 in damage, but your insurance coverage will pick up the tab for anything beyond that.

Turo’s standard protection package increases your liability coverage to one million dollars, a big step up from the state minimum. The damage deductible is lower as well at only $500. The cost is a bit higher though, at 40% of the trip cost.

For maximum protection, consider the premium package. Turo’s premium protection package costs 60% of the rental price, but includes one million dollars of liability coverage, no damage deductible and covers flat tires.

Remember, you’re not required to purchase any of these, but your personal insurance and any coverage from your credit card likely won’t apply for any damage occurred. The purchase of a protection plan will obviously cost more, so be sure to compare the total price of your Turo rental car with the price of renting through a traditional rental car company where your credit card insurance will apply.

Best Credit Cards to Use for Turo

Although you won’t get insurance coverage, Turo typically codes as travel with most card issuers. Because it codes as travel, you’ll want to use a card that earns you the most points on general travel, such as the Chase Sapphire Reserve® or the American Express® Green Card.

Keep your eye out on your Amex Offers, as Amex occasionally has an Amex Offer for savings on Turo car rentals. This can help shave some money off your rental cost.

Final Thoughts

Turo is a great alternative to traditional rental car companies. The ability to select your car directly, and for underage drivers to be eligible to rent cars are some of the many advantages that Turo has over other rental car companies.

Keep in mind that your credit card rental car insurance likely won’t apply to Turo rentals, so if you want protection you’ll need to purchase one of Turo’s protection plans. This cost should be taken into account when comparing the cost of Turo to traditional rental car companies.

Whether you’re looking for an economy car or an all out exotic experience, Turo is a great option to consider before your next rental car.