Turo 101: How to skip the car rental agency but still rent a great car

Turo, a peer-to-peer car rental service, has become a viable alternative to traditional rental car agencies. Here’s how it works: You create a Turo account; the company verifies your identify and takes your driver’s license information. Once approved, which usually happens instantaneously, you can plug in the dates and location of the rental and start shopping. Reviews written by previous users can help with that. You can filter your search results by make and model, mileage included, price and other options.

Prices range from $20 to more than $200 per day, depending upon whether you go for an aging Dodge or Porsche convertibles, for example. (Cars must meet certain standards, including being no more than 12 years old and having no more than 130,000 miles.) Opt for the lower end, and the cost can beat traditional rental car companies. Select a car, submit a request, and then wait for the car’s owner to approve; they have up to eight hours to do so. If they approve, you’re booked. You also choose between three insurance options: none, basic or premium.

When the rental begins, you pick up the car — or have it delivered to you (some owners will provide this service for a fee or free). Turo sends reminders before a trip begins and as its end approaches. Any communication between owner and renter takes place via the app. As your own insurance policy, take photos before you take off and upon your return. Meet up with the owner at your agreed upon drop-off site when the trip ends.

Good news for Gen Z: Renters 21 or older are welcome (though you may need to provide proof that you’ve been driving two years). Traditional rental cars require renters to be 25 — or cough up a big insurance fee.

Those long lines at car rental offices? They could be in your rearview mirror.

Kerri Westenberg

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