As post-pandemic life slowly returns to normal, travel is increasing. However, a shortage of rental vehicles is making it harder for those in need of transportation, and those that aren’t turned away are having to pay a hefty price.
The cost of rental vehicles, plus the lack of available inventory has resulted in consumers seeking alternative ways to reach their destinations, and peer-to-peer car rental apps like Turo are popping up all over the place, offering more affordable transportation solutions.
Peer-to-peer car rental apps? What does that mean?
In a concept very similar to Airbnb, Turo and other car rental apps allow vehicle owners to make their vehicles available for rent for a pre-specified period of time. Vehicle hand-offs, returns, and additional incidental charges are coordinated through a third-party app. The vehicle owners get to set the rates, determine the rules, and communicate with potential renters.
One of the biggest differences between peer-to-peer car sharing and traditional rentals is that the vehicle is owned by an individual rather than a large company, and therefore customers will pick-up and return the vehicle to a prearranged location rather than a lot.
Another difference in peer-to-peer car sharing and traditional car rentals is cost. Estimates have shown that peer-to-peer car sharing can be significantly less expensive that traditional car rentals, saving around 30% in some cases. While overall cost is determined by varying factors, such as vehicle type and length of rental, peer-to-peer car sharing can be more cost effective than traditional car rentals.
All of the peer-to-peer car rental apps work using the basic same premise:
The owner lists a vehicle on the platform, providing photos, pricing, and other pertinent information. A user of the platform browses the app to find a car they want to rent, specifies how long they want it, and submits a request to book the vehicle. If the owner approves, the users credit card is charged, and they can pick up the vehicle at the arranged time. Once the rental term is done, the renter returns the vehicle to its owner.
What peer-to-peer car rental apps are out there?
Currently, Turo is the largest peer-to-peer car rental app available with the widest availability. Turo is currently available in more than 5,000 locations worldwide, including Canada, Germany, and the United Kingdom, as well as in United States.
Turo also offers a wide rage of cars, from Tesla’s and BMWs to Toyotas and Hondas, and is set up to offer rentals by the day. However, the Turo app does not allow rentals by the hour, and may not be the best choice for running errands or quick jaunts.
Similar to Turo, Getaround is a peer-to-peer car rental app where the owner of the vehicle is able to list their vehicle on the platform and set the rental price. Unlike Turo, you never have to meet the vehicle owner, but rather, you pick up and drop off the car at a designated parking spot. You’ll unlock the car with a Bluetooth-connected app.
Another aspect that sets Getaround apart from Turo is the ability to rent a vehicle by the hour. If you need a vehicle for a short amount of time, such as running errands or getting to appointments, Getaround may be the option for you.
Hagerty DriveShare is a car-sharing service for classic and exotic cars. Unlike Turo and Getaround, Hagerty DriveShare offers a unique experience where customers can rent rare and exotic vehicles through the app, with selections from the newest luxury vehicles, to antique cars and trucks.
Once a customer has selected their vehicle, they will receive an email with reservation details, including pickup times and locations, mileage limits, and insurance information. Another difference with Hagerty DriveShare – some vehicles come with an option of a chauffeured rental!
Founded in 2000, Zipcar has been around longer than any other car-sharing system. Originally designed for those who desire a car-free lifestyle, members using Zipcar can rent cars by the hour or day using either the Zipcar app, or a special card called a “Zipcard”.
No need to worry about mileage fees, as you’re only charged for what you use. Gas and insurance are also included in the price.
Available in 400+ cities worldwide, Zipcar can be found in most major cities in the United States, Zipcar vehicles are not owned by individuals, but instead by Avis Budget Group, the provider of vehicle rental and rideshare services.
Lyft Rentals is a service offered by Lyft rideshare company. Similar to the Getaround app, Lyft Rentals is perfect for customers who only need a rental for a short period of time. After booking a rental on the Lyft app or the company website, you will pick up your rental and return it to a predetermined parking location.
Lyft Rentals offers a selection of vehicles rages from compact cars and sedans to premium models such as BMW and Tesla.
A bonus feature of Lyft Rentals is the availability of free add-ons. Customers can choose options such as USB phone chargers, ski racks, or carseats.
Serving locations in the Colorado area, eGo CarShare is a non-profit organization, and one of the only services that offers electric cars for rent. Customers can choose from over 50 vehicles and have the ability to rent them for as little as 15 minutes at a time, making eGo CarShare the perfect option for customers aiming to reduce their environmental impact.
Avail Car Sharing
Launched in 2020, Avail Car Sharing is one of the newer peer-to-peer car sharing systems, and is available near airports in most major cities. With Avail Car Sharing, vacationers or those traveling are able to borrow a safe and reliable car.
In order to use Avail Car Sharing, drivers are required to have a valid U.S. driver’s license and a spotless driving record. Users will simply need to log in online or download the app to view profiles of available vehicles, make your selection, and schedule a rental.
How does in insurance work with peer-to-peer car rentals?
When it comes to peer-to-peer car rentals, insurance can be complicated. Renters and owners alike should check their own personal auto policies as many carriers include language that excludes you from coverage when operating a peer-to-peer rental vehicle. This is an important distinction to note, as many personal auto policies can afford coverage to a traditional rental vehicle. It’s generally a good idea to review your personal auto policy prior to operating a peer-to-peer rental vehicle. You can also call your insurance carrier to clarify whether or not your own coverage could apply.
For owners of peer-to-peer car share vehicles, it’s especially important to review your personal auto policy. Many carriers have specific language excluding coverage for loss occurring any time a vehicle is being rented to others. While some peer-to-peer car share platforms offer coverage during the rental period, some only provide liability coverage, leaving owners on the hook for damages that occur to their own vehicles. Review your policies to be sure you have the coverage you need.
Until rental car inventory is back to normal, rental vehicles are going to be difficult to come by, and more expensive than ever to obtain. Car rental apps like Turo that offer peer-to-peer car sharing is an option that may help you get where you need to go at a price that works for you.
When it comes to insuring your own vehicle, get a quote today and let us help you get the car insurance coverage you need!