App allows you to rent your car to earn cash

August 10, 2018 09:29 AM

Would you rent out your own car to a complete stranger to make cash? People are doing this with a car-sharing service called Turo.

The service is available in 49 states -- New York is the only place in the U.S. where it's not allowed.

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Turo is the Airbnb for cars. You list your car on the app, you set a price, and people can rent it for however many days you choose. The app allows you to arrange a place for the exchange of the car. The renter will pay through the app and you will get a direct deposit with your earnings.

Michelle Peacock, vice president and head of government relations for Turo, says people can earn enough to cover the cost of car ownership.

"We know that our customers that share cars earn about $650 on average a month," Peacock says. "If they rent their cars for nine days, that usually covers the cost of car ownership."

So why isn't this available in New York state? Officials from the State Department of Finance told News10NBC there are concerns with insurance coverage.

A representative from the state sent this statement saying in part, "Individual consumers seeking to rent their personal vehicles via an online car-sharing programs need to understand that they may be responsible for damages and injuries stemming from accidents during the rental period and that personal car rental programs may violate the terms of their personal auto insurance policies."

Peacock says Turo customers are protected under their insurance umbrella. They offer $1 million in liability insurance and full replacement or repair of the car. The company also offers coverage for renters.

"If car owners didn't feel like we had their backs, we would not have anything to offer, so before a car was even listed on the marketplace we worked with the insurance industry to create this unique product and it is working very well."

Peacock says Turo has also faced opposition from the rental car industry holding the company up from expanding into New York state.

"The biggest stumbling block for us quite candidly is the traditional rental car industry," Peacock says. "They have been waging a nationwide campaign to pass legislation that would make Turo, who owns no cars have to comply with rental car regulations. We aren't opposed to being regulated, but we don't think it's appropriate to take this brand new industry and shoehorn it into a vintage regulatory model."

News10NBC reached out to the American Car Rental Association (ACRA) about those accusations. A representative sent a statement saying in part, "ACRA's position with respect to peer-to-peer services is simple:  If you are in the business of renting cars, then you have to play by the same rules as everyone else."

The statement goes on to read, "P2P [peer-to-peer] operators currently operating offer no protections of any kind with respect to automobile recalls, meaning consumers can unknowingly rent a car with a potentially dangerous safety problem. Laws regarding liability for accidents, property damage, personal injury, etc., for rental car companies are well-established, creating transparency into who is responsible for what in the event that something goes wrong. By positioning themselves as technology companies, and not car rental businesses, leading P2P operators to claim these consumer protection laws do not apply to them."

Peacock says Turo has created its own group insurance policy that has been working to offer coverage in all states and thousands of cities. There are thousands of cars posted on their marketplace.

So are there any plans to bring this service to New York state any time soon? Peacock says she is confident the next legislative session will allow the company to make significant progress.

There is legislation in the Senate and Assembly that would regulate the peer-to-peer car-sharing industry and allow Turo and others to operate in New York. The proposed bills are currently in the Senate Rules Committee.


Kaci Jones

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