San Francisco-based peer-to-peer car rental company Turo has expanded its service to Alberta, Ontario and Quebec, with plans ahead to expand across Canada.
Turo operates on the Airbnb model of private individuals renting out their private property to other people via a third-party platform.
“This is a significant milestone in our history; our first international launch and the opportunity to make car ownership and travel in Canada more accessible,” said Turo CEO, Andre Haddad. “The average compact car costs $9,500 per year to maintain. For the first time, Canadians can earn money from their cars and help fuel travellers’ adventures, all while being part of a vibrant community. It’s a significant step towards realizing our mission of putting the world’s one billion cars to better use.”
Most private vehicles sit parked and idle at least 95% of the time, which is a spectacularly inefficient use of heavy equipment.
Turo was founded in 2009, as RelayRides, and has attracted investment from Google and General Motors and now operates in 2,500 American cities and at 300 airports.
To be listed on the Turo platform, vehicles must be no more than 10 years old and have no more than 150,000 kilometres on the odometer, and cannot be worth more than $75,000.
Turo takes a 25% cut from the person renting their car out and adds a 10% fee for the person renting the car.
The company operates a dynamic pricing formula, which suggests an appropriate rate to car owners, although it’s ultimately up to each vehicle owner to choose a price themselves.
The company estimates that renting a car on average through the Turo platform costs about 30% less than from a traditional rental car company.
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At least one of Turo’s competitors, Getaround, also claims that it will be expanding to Canada soon.
In 2012, when Turo was still operating as RelayRides, a renter died and injured four people in another vehicle it crashed into.
The claims resulting from the accident exceeded the insurance provided by RelayRides, which ended up being the responsibility of the vehicle’s owner.
New York State remains the only American state where Turo doesn’t operate.
Vehicle owners who are interested in putting their cars out for rent via Turo must already be existing customers of either Intact Insurance or belairdirect, which are Intact Financial Corporation’s largest brands.
“We’re excited to offer Intact Insurance and belairdirect customers Canada’s first peer-to-peer car rental insurance option. Turo’s rental platform will offer consumers greater choice,” said Karim Hirji, Senior Vice-President, International & Ventures, Intact Financial Corporation. “As a customer-driven organization, Intact remains committed to designing unique insurance products to meet the evolving needs of Canadians.”
Intact has also been working with various jurisdictions to provide an insurance solution for Uber drivers, but has yet to announce anything concrete.
Aviva has introduced an insurance policy for Uber drivers in Ontario, and is working on negotiating packages for Quebec, Alberta and the Maritimes.
Although, as Driving.com points out, most Uber drivers aren’t likely to bother with insurance, even if it is available in their region.