The shortage has opened the door for individuals to rent their own vehicles much like renting out a home on Airbnb. Some Alaskans are eventaking out
car loansand investing in additional vehicles to meet the demand. Turo is a car-share booking service that’s taken off as the rental car shortages continue.
What is Turo?
While you may not have heard much about it until recently, Turo has been in business since 2010. Founder and CEO Andre Haddad started the car-sharing business in San Francisco. In 2016,
Sharp Magazinereported that Turo rentals cost about 30% less than vehicles from big rental agencies.
Turo'swebsite calls the company the "world's largest car sharing marketplace." Vehicles are available in every state and more than 56 countries.
Why is there a lack of rental cars in Alaska?
In May, Roberta Warner, operations manager for Alaska Tour and Travel, predicted that her company wouldn’t be able to book cars for their customers until mid-August, according to
Anchorage Daily News. Normally, Alaska rental car agencies boost their inventories for the summer. Following the season, they sell off many of the extra cars.
In 2020, rental car demand was at an all-time low. As the economy recovers, the chip shortage continues to slow car production. This has in turn led to a lower-than-typical supply of rental cars available this year.
The 2021 rental demand has been relentless in Alaska and other states. More visitors have spent their time on the road rather than the more traditional cruise ship.
Alaskans seeing profit in Turo
With a lack of traditional rental cars available, car-share prices have seen a dramatic increase in rates, about 257% in Anchorage since 2019. Car owners set their own prices. They can also limit the number of miles driven in a day.
Anchorage Daily Newsreported that Jin Chen, who works in the travel industry, offered two vehicles on Turo for a couple of years. She purchased and added a third at the end of May. By early June, her Porsche Cayenne, Volkswagen Tiguan, and new BMW X6 were all booked for June and July.
Chen expected to earn $5,000 to $12,000 per car during those two months.
Like Chen, Cheyene Thomas, who works at an Anchorage car dealership, started renting out her BMW X2 on Turo. "Within five minutes I had like 10 bookings," she said. By mid-June, it was booked through August.
The system isn’t perfect, and it comes with some risks for owners. Chen said that one out-of-state group got two flat tires near Cantwell, and she had to buy a new tire set.
How to get car insurance for Turo
Car owners are responsible for their vehicles. For hosts, Turo offers five different insurance plans through
Liberty Mutual. Hosts can only decline coverage if they have commercial insurance.
Renters have a choice between four protection plans. You can opt out of the program as long as you have a personal car insurance policy that covers rentals.
If you’re looking to save money on car insurance,
Jerrycan help. The free app compares rates from name-brand companies to get you the best price without phone calls or long forms. If you’re confused about your coverage options, Jerry’s friendly agents can help answer your questions.