a black car parked on the side of a road

I’ve never had a lot of love for the rental car industry. Sorry. From Hertz locking customers up for legal rentals, to a disjointed process which spells hassle from check in to drop off, I’ve always hoped a better system could exist.

You know, one where a car actually comes to you, where there’s no dodgy upsell and the hassles of uncertainty around documented damage are a thing of the past. That’s the goal, right?

After exhausting all possibilities and pro tips for rentals from standard providers, I turned to the Turo platform in hopes of finding something better. What I found could spell my last rental from a major company, ideally… ever.

a blue car parked in a parking lot

A Great Turo Experience

First, Turo offers a great mobile and desktop experience. I don’t need to search by each individual rental location, and that’s obviously because every host on the Turo platform offering their car is a location in themselves.

Like Airbnb, you search for a car in a city or location and it shows you what’s around. Traveling with my family, with lots of moving pieces, I wanted something “around” to come to me. I quickly found an incredible Turo host who sold me on the platform.

Turo Car Rental Pricing

With Turo, the car owners or operators set the rental pricing — not some centralized company with low margins and massive debts. Accordingly, pricing can be all over the board.

You might find rentals far more expensive than traditional companies, but you may also find nicer cars for far less.

Facing 4th of July week pricing in New York, the cost for me to rent a gorgeous Tesla Model Y — my favorite Tesla, btw — was less than the cost of a “standard”, somewhat less inspired vehicle. Like a Mazda Miata. No hate for Mazda, just slightly different.

Not only did our incredible Turo host, Daniel, work to get us great information about the experience, he was willing to deliver the car to us outside of the city. And one even better, he was happy to pick it up too.

Yep, I rented a fabulous car for two weeks with drop off and pick up service, for less than what I was faced with renting from any big box rental company, where I would’ve had to grind to a rental lot at JFK, and again on my way out of town.

a blue car parked in a parking lot

Checking In And Rental Features

We had a ‘Turo Go’ rental, which is where ID’s and info are validated before arrival. For cars equipped with ‘Turo Go’ app access, you can actually open your car just using the Turo app. No host interaction is needed.

I was worried about “he said, she said” style issues with a Turo rental, but that worry was quickly alleviated during check in.

Whether you pick up in person with the host or privately via the app, you are given a chance to document any preexisting dings and scratches. Unlike the antiquated rental companies which simply take a pencil to paper and make a few mark notes, Turo has you upload realtime photos of the car surfaces — if you want.

The car was in excellent condition, but I was able to digitally document standard wear and tear, which created a perfect log ahead of the rental starting. At check out, I was able to upload photos showing no change in condition. Again, these are optional, but it’s a super easy feature right in the app.

It’s intelligent enough to map out the photos too.

What About Insurance?

Turo offers its own insurance cover and renters can also select their own coverage, or use any preexisting coverage they may have through credit cards and other services.

We were able to confirm the rental could be covered with our own insurance and felt that was adequate. I definitely appreciate having options here and didn’t feel like the process was any different than a standard rental. Turo, of course, want to upsell onto their platform insurance policy.

a statue of liberty with a body of water and trees
Image by AnnaBellaCaramella from Pixabay

I Really Love The Rating System

A common knock on Airbnb, VRBO and now Turo is that there aren’t “brand standards” the way you’d find at a standard hotel, or rental company. Every person, car or place you rent is different.

I get it, but I think thats just a concern for people who don’t do any research or look through photos. I’m kind of meticulous with that stuff and read reviews for details of key answers I’d like to find.

I was attracted not only to the Model Y, but to the feedback of my “5 star” Turo host. The car looked great and in reality, it matched exactly.

All reviews of Daniel’s rentals indicated him being a wonderful, accommodating and fair person to deal with, hence the full 5 star rating. That was exactly the experience we had — and the rating systems keeps intelligent renters diligent about returning a car in the best condition.

There will always be jackals on any platform, but with Turo’s stellar app interface and ID verification, I don’t see how bad apples could last more than one go around on the platform.

Turo: I’m Now A Big Fan

I had a seamless, modern and fun rental experience with Turo and it’ll be really hard to settle for any less on future rentals.

Add in the fact that Capital One is offering 10X points for Turo bookings made with the Venture X Card, and 5X for Capital One Venture cardholders and the appeal grows a bit more.

Above all, I’m excited that Turo’s emergence into market will likely push stagnant car rental companies into the modern world too. There’s something amazing about person to person sharing, particularly when the cars are awesome.

Gilbert Ott

Gilbert Ott is an ever curious traveler and one of the world's leading travel experts. His adventures take him all over the globe, often spanning over 200,000 miles a year and his travel exploits are regularly...

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1 Comment

  1. I was seriously considering renting from Turo but, as a Brit, there is one big problem – the insurance! Sure, Turo, offer to sell you their insurance, and there are three levels of cover, but I was unable to work out which of the offers would provide sufficient cover. The highest level of cover offered seems to double the cost of the rental whereas I can obtain the level of cover that I feel comfortable from a UK company for less than $100 for a rental from a traditional car rental company!

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