D. Gilson is a writer and author of essays, poetry, and scholarship that explore the relationship between popular culture, literature, sexuality, and memoir. His latest book is Jesus Freak, with Will Stockton, part of Bloomsbury’s 33 1/3 Series. His other books include I Will Say This Exactly One Time and Crush. His first chapbook, Catch & Release, won the 2012 Robin Becker Prize from Seve...

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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Reviewed by Jeffrey Johnson
Insurance Lawyer

UPDATED: Jul 19, 2021

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Did you know that there are services that allow you to rent your car to others? Commonly called “car sharing,” rentals between private individuals facilitated by third parties are a growing option for those who don’t own cars as well as for drivers who want to earn some extra money from automobiles that sit unused most of the time. This is not to be confused with ridesharing apps like Uber or Lyft. Strangers would actually be renting your car and driving it themselves.

It’s estimated that there are about 26 different car-sharing programs within the United States. Between them, there are more than half of a million users who share thousands of cars. While there is a benefit of earning money by renting your car, it’s important to learn about the pros and cons of this process and what it means for your insurance coverage on your personal auto insurance policy.

What Is a Car Share Service?

Car sharing is an alternative to traditional rental car companies. The difference is that drivers rent cars from individual car owners rather than from larger car rental companies. They may pick up at a designated spot or ask you to do a drop off at an airport or other location.

Renting out a car from a car share service may be best for renters who only need a car for a short amount of time and need it at any time. Drivers can find a vehicle for rent through a mobile app with most car sharing platforms. Unlike traditional rental cars, these are not meant to be taken long distances. Some renters put mileage limits on their cars with a fee for every mile after. Renters cannot typically pick a car up in one city and drop if off in another.

Car owners can list their vehicles on a car-sharing marketplace in order to rent their cars out to others. The car must meet certain qualifications in order to be approved to be listed and rented on the platform. The qualifications and requirements can vary by car renting service.

A car rental service in this form can be convenient for both car owners and drivers looking to rent. The owners can make some extra money while they are not using their car. Renters have the convenience of being able to get a car quickly and at pretty much any time. The rental prices to rent a car through one of the car-sharing services available may depend on the types of cars you are looking to rent as well as your location.

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What Are My Car-Sharing Marketplace Options?

There are many car-sharing services available today with which you can rent your car to others. Some of the most popular ones are Turo, Getaround, and SHARE NOW (formerly Car2go).

Turo, formerly RelayRides, is the first and largest car-sharing marketplace. It is headquartered in San Francisco but with owners that rent their cars dotted across the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom. Turo allows owners with automobiles under 12 years old and fewer than 130,000 miles to participate in their car-sharing service.

Beyond those two requirements, the company also expects cars to have a fair market value of $150,000 or less and a clean title. Turo claims that car owners who list their car for rent on their car-sharing marketplace earn an average of $706 per month. Price and payment can vary based on a number of factors. If you look on Turo now, you might see some cars renting for $706 a day. Prices vary widely based on demand.

In 2011, General Motors teamed up with Turo (then RelayRides) to allow GM car owners to leverage OnStar in their cars to rent their cars to others. OnStar’s connectivity solution allowed RelayRides’ members with increased security, reliability, and accessibility. OnStar allowed car owners to lock and unlock cars remotely so owners would not have to meet and hand over their keys to the renter. A renter could use their smartphone to get access to the car.

General Motors launched their own peer car sharing service in 2016 called Maven. Unfortunately, GM shut Maven down in 2020 as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.

How Is My Personal Auto Insurance Policy Affected When I Rent My Car?

Personal auto insurance policies typically don’t cover any incidences when your car is being used for commercial use, including when you are renting it out. However, most car sharing services include car insurance coverage for when the renter is using the car. They may charge you an extra fee for it on each rental. Don’t take a chance of your personal insurance denying a claim. While your insurance would cover family members borrowing your car or even damage due to theft as long as you have the right coverage, they are not obligated to cover business ventures and risks.

Before listing your car, make sure you understand the insurance coverage and limitations as well as if there is a fee you will need to pay for insurance. You should make sure there will be no gaps in your auto insurance policy and the insurance options offered by the car sharing service. Make sure your state’s insurance requirements are met.

The insurance coverage offered by the car sharing companies typically includes liability insurance, uninsured/underinsured motorist protection, personal injury protection, and comprehensive and collision coverage for the renter up to certain limits. Turo provides insurance through Liberty Mutual.

Car sharing platforms also tend to offer roadside assistance to those who rent a car through their platform. Both Turo and Getaround offer 24/7 roadside assistance in case of emergencies.

What Are the Positive Aspects of Renting Your Car?

What are the positive aspects of renting your car via a peer car sharing service? They include:

  • Renters are normally pre-screened, including a full background and DMV check before they’re allowed to participate. The screening process can give car owners some peace of mind.
  • Some companies install anti-theft technology that monitors where vehicles are located.
  • You can meet the renter in person to exchange keys if you wish to conduct your own personal screening before letting them drive away in your car.
  • Because your personal insurance policy won’t pay if your car is wrecked in a major accident during the rental, it’s standard that most car-sharing services provide comprehensive and collision coverage to protect your investment. The insurance plans offered by each car sharing company may differ so make sure to take that into consideration when choosing a platform to list your car on.
  • Income stream. There are car owners that earn upwards of $900 a month or more just from car-sharing rentals. It can be a great way to earn some extra income or have a small business.

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What Are the Negative Aspects of Renting Your Car?

While there are quite a few positives to participating in a car-sharing program, there are some potential negatives and risk you should think about before renting your personal vehicle, including:

  • Owners are responsible for increased maintenance and maintenance costs and must ensure their car meets state inspection guidelines as part of the agreement. Your vehicle must be kept clean and well maintained at all times. This can also include your vehicle registration and other documents.
  • If your car experiences damage from an accident or is totaled or stolen as a result of the car-sharing program, it’s possible you’ll miss out on it for an extended period of time.
  • You might be responsible for responding to reservation requests and renter driver e-mails and requests, as well as other scheduling chores.
  • Insurers might revoke your coverage if they learn you’re participating in car sharing.

Renting your car on one of these car sharing platforms is a great way to earn money while you aren’t using your car. Just make sure that you are aware of any risks or issues you may run into before listing your car for rent.