Turo is shaking up the car rental world. Think of it like the Airbnb of renting a vehicle.
Car owners across the world rent out their vehicles on the Turo, giving you a chance to save both time and money. Skip the long lines and high fees at the car rental kiosks at the airport, filter for car preferences, and even get picked up and dropped off at the airport to save.
Looking for honest Turo reviews? Read on for our experience.
How Turo Works
Here's the gist of how Turo works:
- Sign up: The process is simple, but make sure to do it ahead of time so Turo can verify your identity and list you as an approved driver. Have you driver's license ready.
- Search your destination and dates: Browse vehicles that fit your price range
- Pick your vehicle and review the details:
- Check how much gas and the total distance is included in the price.
- Look at the host’s reviews.
- Be sure to review Turo’s insurance policy. Your personal car insurance plan may extend to your Turo rental– check with your insurance company to be sure. Otherwise, make sure to look into one of Turo’s plans to be sure you’re covered in case of an accident.
- Book the car: Just like Airbnb, some rentals will instantly be approved while others can take eight hours or longer for owner approval.
- Pick up the car: Most owners offer delivery, though some will tack on a fee. Choose where you want the car to be dropped off – the airport, a hotel, or pick it up yourself.
- Explore the city in the car.
- Meet the owner to drop off the car.
I tried it all out for the first time on a recent trip to Denver. Here's how it went.
Where Turo Works
Turo rentals are available across the U.S. and Canada, along with a growing number in major European cities. And in many cases during the rental car shortage this year, Turo may be your best bet to actually get a rental car.
Thrifty Tip: Want to use Turo on your trip abroad? Learn how to easily apply for an International Drivers Permit.
I knew I wanted to rent a car in Colorado so we could easily get out to our glamping site and Red Rocks, so we decided to try out Turo. I had already made my profile, so I started by searching for a car.
Search & Filter
I chose “Denver International Airport” as my delivery location so we could pick up and drop off the car right at the airport. Some Turo hosts charge quite a bit for delivery (to the airport or elsewhere) and some charge nothing, so I filtered for delivery charges of $25 or less. Be sure to filter out exorbitant delivery charges to save more on Turo.
Then, I filtered price to under $50 a day to see the best options in my budget.
Many different options popped up, but a Mini Cooper caught my eye. Here's what the individual Turo car details look like:
Here, you'll see the basic details and features of the car. For our trip, an automatic transmission comfortable for two people with great gas mileage worked perfectly. Further down, you can read more details and reviews of previous renters.
Plus, delivery and pick-up from the airport was just $25 total! Considering how far the Denver airport is from downtown Denver, this is a steal.
Turo offers owners their own protection plans, but there is an option for the renter to purchase their own additional protection through Liberty Mutual Insurance. These policies provide secondary coverage for third-party liability: your own car insurance may cover primary coverage for rental cars.
You can choose from Premier, Standard, and Minimum coverage for differing amounts, depending on your rental length. These policies cover varying amounts of protection, out-of-pocket costs for damage or theft, and physical damage costs.
If you do choose to decline coverage, check with your own insurance and credit card companies to see if you are covered.
Turo Hidden Fees
Note that there is a “Trip Fee,” the portion of your booking that Turo takes for customer service and running the platform. Be sure to check how much this adds per day to your rental.
Here is the breakdown of the final stage of booking and costs:
Note that some Turo hosts charge a fee to drop off and pick up the car from the location. You can avoid this additional fee by filtering your search results for cars that offer free delivery.
Thrifty Tip: Many car rental companies charge young drivers between 21 and 25 a hefty surcharge. Turo charges drivers under 25 up to $15 a day (or 30% of the entire trip price), so it's generally a far better option for younger drivers.
Turo Communication Pre-Arrival
Be sure to turn on notifications for the Turo app on your phone. This will allow you to communicate with the car owner before your trip.
I got a few notifications of my upcoming car rental the week before my trip. Coordinating with the car owner was slick: Turo's messaging interface allowed me to share flight information.
It is important to note that to use Turo, you'll need to have the app and be able to use it on your trip. This is the key to communication, as well as picking up and dropping off your rental.
When you begin your Turo rental experience, the app will prompt you with a few reminders. First, it will request you “check-in” the car – take some photos of its current condition and confirm you've picked the car up.
The Turo app will remind also you of “Trip Rules,” such as bringing your license, keeping the car tidy, the correct gas for the car, and the number of miles included in the rental. You can also see the pick-up instructions and guidelines.
The car owner, Shawn, picked us right up from the arrival door. Most of the information was covered in the car profile on Turo, but he also pointed out the windshield wipers, lights, turn signals, push to start, car chargers and AUX cord, and so on.
Some Turo rental owners will be more hands-off, letting the app do the work for the pick-up and drop-off procedures. So your mileage may vary.
After this brief three-minute overview at the airport, we parted ways with Shawn and were off!
Communicating with the car owner during our trip was simple. We used the in-app messenger to go over any other questions and coordinate drop-off details for the end of our trip. Our car owner was attentive and responsive.
We didn't have any issues with the car during our trip but felt assured knowing that the owner would respond quickly if we did. Our Mini Cooper fit perfectly into smaller parking spots around Denver!
Dropping off the car was just as easy as picking it up! First, be sure to follow the “Check Out” process on the Turo app:
Once you've uploaded some photos of how you left the car and gone through the check-out prompts, you're set to turn it in.
The car owner met us promptly at the departures area of the airline we were flying home. We chatted about our experience with the car and in the city, he thanked us for renting, and we were on our way.
Turo vs. Rental Car Agencies: Which is Better?
Our team has now used Turo multiple times, all with different hosts in different cities. We have all had positive experiences, but that's not to say that every rental will be perfect. The best thing you can do – like with other sharing platforms like Airbnb – is to filter your results and read the reviews of each car you consider.
Renting a car on Turo can be even easier than a standard car rental!
Turo is great because:
- The app is easy to use and communicate with the car owner.
- No lines or paperwork at the airport car rental stands – know what you're getting and get in and out in under three minutes.
- It's great for renters aged 21-25 who would otherwise be charged a higher cost by a rental company.
- Free or cheap pick-up and drop-off from the airport or another location.
Just keep in mind that:
- You'll need to download and use the app during your trip.
- Filter cars by free or cheap pick-up and drop-off at the airport or another location.
- Filter by daily price, amenities, and other car features.
Overall, we've had great experiences with Turo. The pick-up and drop-off processes were smooth and speedy, communication with the owners was easy within the app, and I loved not having to spend time in line or doing paperwork at the airport. I highly recommend trying it out at your next destination.
This post has been updated to show that Turo has started charging younger drivers a reasonable fee for rentals.
Is there a hold or security deposit
Nope, you’ll just pay in full when you book/reserve the car.
Turno cab is even easier than other standard cars. The app is easy to use and communicate with the car owner.
My concern with using Turo is that there is nothing stopping the owner of the vehicle from cancelling your reservation and leaving you stranded without a car. Am I wrong?
What if we go further on the miles
The penalties vary by owner.
First of all, I want you, readers, to know that I started my trip with an open mind and happy about my vacation in Honolulu. Let start by saying that the price was very low, but not without its problems. The first problem was that I had to pay $70 for the car to be dropped at the airport. A friend recently put her car on this site, and she said that the vehicle is left in the airport garage, and she leaves money for her customers to pay for the parking when they leave the parking site. Anyways, I started walking towards where the car was supposed to be, but I hit the freeway and walking with three children at 11 pm probably not a great idea, so I called a cab that charged me $10 to get me to the rental, which was in a very dark street in the middle of nowhere. I was exhausted, so I drove to my Airbnb in a car that was very almost asphyxiating due to the smell of gas. The next day we visited museums with the windows open; I barely used the car all day. The following day, we took a more extended trip to the beach, and we saw cockroaches. There were coming from everywhere in the car. I communicated with the owner because in the Turo website is the first thing they ask you to do. Well, I sent him this “I’m disappointed with the state of the car. First,
there is a strong smell of gas or similar that is overpowering, and we have to travel with open windows, and second, your car has cockroaches. I’m not sure if you’re aware of this, but it is very …” (disgusting, sickening, unsanitary, well add your adjective).
” It is too late for me to find another car, but I’m not happy about all these problems.” He said he would exchange it and asked someone to bring a car and take the filthy one. The friend said, “I’ll be there at 8:30 pm,” but at 8:30 pm, she said she’ll be late. I didn’t make a big deal about it; besides, I just wanted for the car to be gone. During the day, two big cockroaches walked through my legs, and another one fell practically on my daughter’s mouth when she was drinking water, but that is not all; my son killed around ten cockroaches in 20 minutes. She called and said that she was downstairs waiting; when I drove the car, the tire was flat, and when I went to get the spare instead of a tire, there was garbage. I asked her for her spare, and she said she didn’t have one, so I communicated with the owner, who said to call Turo.
I was not in any rush, and I could have waited until the next day to change the tire, but he told me to call Turo’s roadside assistant. I waited until 1 am for the car to get picked up, and I could not move. To make this story shorter. I called Turo, but they said that they could not talk to me and just text with me about any problem. I texted them, and I told them about the cockroaches. I sent them the pictures. I told them about the state of the car and all the bad things that happened. They said I am sorry we can’t help you. You didn’t call us the first day. I said I got to the car almost at midnight, and the only thing in my mind was to sleep. Besides, in your rules, it says contact your host, and that is what I did, and they said “Well, we are sorry, we can’t help you” I have been without a car for two days. Turo billed me for over $200 for towing that was not my idea, and denied me my money back because they don’t know how long the cockroaches were there. The cheated rises dearly, and now I have to rent a real car for double what I paid in Turo and pay Turo’s roadside fees. This company doesn’t care about the guest; it just looks out for the host, so be aware. They don’t look for solutions; they just give you the runaround, and then there are the car owners who rent trash in bad tires.
Turo is a very unreliable company! I was fraud 350 USD by their host. After that I wasted over 2weeks to call their customers services, unfortunately, they have no any assistance. In addition, they just said I am sorry about that. That it! Turo has a big issue in verifying their host and lack a system to support their customers! I suggest everyone don’t take a risk to rent a cheaper car in this company. Very terrible!
Our experience with Turo was excellent until we had an unexpected event that meant we were two hours late to deliver the car. The owner was very accommodating BUT Turo charged us MORE than TWO DAYS rental in fees. We expected to pay extra but that is unreasonable!! It bothers me that Turo chose to set up a scheme to make extra money like that. And of course, Turo Support was just a generic response always ending with “Remember, we are here to help if you need us. ” Hahaha.