car insurance

Cashing in: Car-Sharing Platforms Allow Users to List Personal Vehicles for Rent

People who rent out their cars on peer-to-peer platforms should consider getting a commercial auto insurance policy, experts say

NBC Universal, Inc.

Antonio Desir loves cars.

“This is my baby right here,” he said, as he pointed to a white Jeep Wrangler.

Antonio started renting out his Jeep in April when he signed up to be a host on Turo, an online platform that allows people like Antonio to rent out their cars.

“I’ve probably made … maybe $70,000,” he said.

Since signing up, business has been booming for Antonio, allowing him to expand the number of cars he’s renting out on the platform.

“I moved into three and four,” he said. “Because business was going so well, I decided to get 16.”

He started this business as a way to have additional income.

“After I left my job, I wanted to be self-sufficient," he said.

Antonio is not alone.

“There’s been record interest in Turo hosts that are joining the community for the first time,” said Andrew Mok, the chief marketing officer for Turo.

Mok said they were seeing more people turning to their platform to make money, as well as an increase in the number of people turning to Turo to rent a car.

“A lot of guests discovered Turo for the first time because car rental prices were either sky high or there are no car rentals available,” Mok said.

Users can search Turo’s site for a particular car or destination. Click on Miami, and you can rent anything from a BMW 7 Series to a Tesla to a 2016 Subaru Legacy.

“You’re getting a car from a real person,” Mok said.

Getaround, another popular car-sharing site, has also seen more activity.

“In just South Florida alone, we’ve actually seen the number of hosts sharing their cars increase by over 70% since January,” said Pat Notti, the vice president of marketing and operations for Getaround.

Cars listed on the Getaround site are available to rent per hour, and what’s available tends to be closer to your typical economy or midsize car. Their user base tends to be people who are looking for an alternative to car ownership, Notti said.

“When you look on the platform, you’ll see a lot of cars that you’d want to use in everyday life,” Notti said.

Both Getaround and Turo offer insurance coverage for those who use their platforms to rent out their vehicles.

“It’s protection for certain elements, certain areas of coverage for a vehicle,” said Mark Friedlander of the Insurance Information Institute. “It’s not the same as buying a commercial policy.”

That’s why most people who rent out their cars on peer-to-peer platforms should consider getting a commercial auto insurance policy, Friedlander said.

“Talk to your insurance agent as a first step to make sure you understand the coverage ramifications and learn what you need to do to be fully protected,” he said.

Antonio, meanwhile, chose to get a commercial policy for his cars since he was focused on growing his fleet of cars.

“I want to see if I can expand,” he said. “If I could have about 30, I’ll probably be happy with that.”

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