Turo In Tampa: What To Know About The Car Sharing Service

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By Marcus Fernandez

Turo, the car sharing service that many people call the “Airbnb of cars,” has arrived in Tampa. This means we can finally avoid the shuttle bus ride from the arrivals terminal at Tampa Airport to stand in a long line at a car rental agency and pay inflated per-day prices plus fees and taxes.

With Turo, you can rent a car from its owner using a mobile application. You can have the vehicle delivered directly to you at the airport terminal. This innovative car sharing service is often more cost-effective and convenient than renting from a national car rental agency. However, it’s important to note that there may be some complexities to consider, particularly in the event of an accident with a rental car.

The experienced car accident lawyers at KFB Law want you to clearly understand your rights and obligations when using the Turo application to rent a vehicle or offer one for rent. If you have questions or need legal representation after an accident, contact the personal injury lawyers at KFB Law.

What is Turo, and how does it work?

Turo is one of several car-sharing companies that offer vehicle owners an application-based marketplace to list their vehicles for rent. People who need to rent a car use the application to find a suitable vehicle listed by its owner.

Owners set up their listings in the Turo marketplace. This includes the cost, terms and conditions, and availability of the vehicle listed for rent. People in need of a vehicle create an account using the Turo application. Drivers must be at least 18 years old. They must also possess a valid driver’s license and receive approval from Turo to rent a vehicle.

Insurance options offered by Turo

Turo provides insurance plans for both vehicle owners and renters.  Owners can choose from a variety of plans that offer liability insurance coverage, protecting them from claims made by renters or third parties in the event of an accident involving a rented vehicle.

Renters may choose liability and medical payment insurance options from plans offered by Turo. The company’s website alerts renters that car rental insurance provided by credit card companies and a renter’s liability insurance policy on their vehicle may not provide coverage for a rental booked through Turo. In other words, an insurance plan offered by Turo may be your only option. Declining coverage may leave you on the hook for claims made by other people against you.

Advantages and disadvantages of renting through a car-sharing application

Renting through Turo may be advantageous over traditional rental car agencies for the following reasons:

  • Rental agencies near you may not offer a wide selection of vehicle types, such as high-end luxury sports cars, cargo vans, electric vehicles, SUVs, and minivans.
  • If you’re shopping for a new car and want to try one out, the wide selection of vehicles offered on the Turo marketplace may allow you to rent and drive one for a few days before committing to a purchase.
  • Flexibility with a cancellation policy that lets you get a full refund if your plans change as long as you give at least 24 hours before the rental date.
  • Instead of being restricted to a location chosen by a rental agency, you directly coordinate the pickup and dropoff locations with the vehicle’s owner.
  • The cost to rent through a car-sharing service may be less expensive than going through a traditional rental car agency.

There are many advantages to renting through Turo. Unfortunately, consider what could be disadvantages:

  • Although Turo offers a liberal cancellation policy, you must pay for the car when you book the rental. Most rental car agencies allow you to pay when you pick up the vehicle.
  • Car rental insurance through a credit card or the auto insurance policy you have on the car you own may not cover a rental through a peer-to-peer car-sharing service, such as Turo.
  • Owners of the vehicles listed for rent on Turo set their terms, including price per day and fees. A car through Turo may or may not be less expensive than you’d pay at a rental agency. Shop and compare pricing and fees before deciding to use a car-sharing application. 
  • Vehicle owners may send invoices for additional charges after a Turo vehicle is returned. Owners can invoice renters for fuel charges, exceeding allowed mileage, road tolls, traffic violations, and cleaning. Usually, renters don’t have to clean vehicles before returning them. However, an owner can inform Turo if a car was returned not meeting the company’s policy on cleaning and disinfection. You might incur an additional $150 charge for the violation, along with a 3% processing fee.

You must go through an approval process before renting a car through Turo. Although its website indicates 18 as the minimum driver age, you may have to be older to rent high-value vehicles. 

A person can be denied for several reasons. Low insurance scores and something Turo calls “trust and safety issues.” The website does not explain what constitutes a disqualifying trust and safety issue. It states that anyone denied the right to rent through Turo for that reason will not be explained.

Issues arising in car accidents with Turo vehicles

You may be a safe driver who pays attention and obeys traffic laws. Even if another motorist causes a crash, you can still sustain injuries. There were 394,805 crashes on Florida roads last year, according to the Department of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles. Injuries statewide totaled 252,204, with 3,420 fatalities. Hillsborough County accounted for 27,469 of the crashes that left 235 people dead and another 18,876 injured. 

When a car accident results in injury, the injured party typically seeks compensation from the driver and owner of the vehicle responsible for the crash, as well as from their auto insurance company. If the car involved in a collision is rented through Turo or another car-sharing company, the owner’s or driver’s insurance company may not provide coverage for the crash.

Insurance coverage may be through optional insurance coverage offered by Turo and provided through its insurance carrier. Problems arise for someone injured in an accident when the driver of a rented vehicle declines the optional insurance coverage.  

Another important concern when renting through Turo is the potential for causing an accident that results in injury or death. If you declined the insurance coverage offered through Turo, the insurance on your vehicle may not provide coverage for the claim. Before renting a car through Turo, ensure that your insurance company confirms your coverage while driving it. Alternatively, to play it safe, consider accepting the optional insurance coverage offered by Turo.

What should you do if you’re in an accident with a Turo car?

To preserve your right to recover compensation after a car accident caused by someone else’s negligent or reckless behavior, it’s crucial to take the right steps at the scene of the crash. Failing to do so can weaken or jeopardize your claim. These steps include:

  • Call the police to report the crash: In Florida, drivers involved in a crash resulting in injury, death, or property damage of $500 or more are obligated by law to stay at the scene and report it to the local police. If you or anyone in your vehicle has sustained injuries, inform the 911 operator when reporting the accident. Remain in your car until police and ambulance personnel arrive. 
  • Exchange contact information: You must exchange your license, insurance, and contact information with other drivers involved in the crash. 
  • Eyewitness information: Get the name and contact information of anyone who witnessed the crash, but do not discuss the accident or what caused it with them. Your personal injury attorney will interview witnesses and obtain statements from them.
  • Take photographs of the accident scene: Use the camera application on your phone to take photographs of the accident scene, including pictures from various angles of the interior and exterior of each vehicle involved in the crash.
  • Seek medical treatment for your injuries: If you are not taken by ambulance to a hospital emergency department directly from the crash site, go to one on your own or contact a doctor for an examination immediately after police allow you to leave the accident scene.
  • Report the crash to the car-sharing service and your insurance company. Notify Turo of the crash within 24 hours. Also, notify your liability insurance company or the company that provided coverage through Turo.

Avoid discussing the accident with anyone until first speaking with your Tampa personal injury attorney. This is one of the most important steps to take following a car accident.

Speak to an experienced Tampa Turo car accident attorney

If you suffer injuries in a car accident involving a vehicle rented through Turo, you need the level of legal knowledge and skills that only an experienced Tampa car accident attorney can provide. Learn more about your rights by contacting KFB Law for a free consultation with one of our outstanding personal injury lawyers.