The Sharing Economy Grows with Turo's Entrance into Canada

Described as the Airbnb of cars, Turo comes to Canada offering car owners in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec the opportunity to rent out their car for a profit.

Owning a car can be expensive. There's the initial cost of the purchase, upkeep, maintenance, gas, auto insurance, and parking to name just a few car-related expenses. But now that Turo is available in Canada, car owners in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec may be able to offset those costs by renting their cars out to drivers who are in need of a vehicle.

What is Turo?

Turo is a San Francisco-based company that's typically compared to Airbnb. It is a peer-to-peer car rental service that connects car owners with drivers - often travellers-who are in need of a rental. If you want to rent your car out, Turo will help you find drivers in need of a set of wheels.

In a blog post by the company's CEO Andre Haddad, the whole idea behind Turo is "to put the world's one billion cars to better use".


How is Turo different from Uber?

Whereas Uber drivers are responsible for taking passengers where they want to go. Turo, on the other hand, allows car owners to hand over the keys and renters to go on their merry way. According to Turo, renters save up to 30 per cent compared to traditional car rental agencies, while car owners can "turn that depreciating asset into an earning engine".

What cars does Turo accept?

In Canada, only passenger vehicles legally registered in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec are eligible to be listed on Turo. Additionally, the vehicle must be a 2006 or newer model with fewer than 200,000 kilometres. Typically, vehicles cannot be valued at more than $75,000, although if it is a classic or specialty vehicle, Turo will consider the listing on a case-by-case basis.

What about insurance?

Most auto insurance policies in Canada won't cover personal vehicles for commercial purposes; however, there is now an exception to this rule-at least in Alberta, Ontario and Quebec.

"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 in a statement.

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So if you're a Canadian who wants to join Turo, you need to insure your car through Intact Insurance or belairdirect. And before you list that car, you need to keep them in the loop. Both insurers have modified their guidelines to allow for this type of peer-to-peer rental, but it's not automatically a part of your policy; it needs to be added.

How does the insurance work?

For all intents and purposes, your personal auto insurance coverage won't change. You'll still have the same coverages, options and limits when using your vehicle personally-to run errands, visit family, or to get away for the weekend to the cottage. The difference lies in when you're not using your vehicle-when you've rented it out through Turo. Turo's commercial insurance policy will kick in and cover your car while it is being delivered to the renter, as well as the period of time that the car is in their possession.

Turo plans to expand into the rest of the provinces, and is working to get more Canadian insurers into the idea of peer-to-peer rentals.

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