Are Turo car rentals covered by credit card insurance?

Jun 12, 2020

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While traveling, I sometimes need a rental car. Luckily, I can often find great deals on rental cars through Autoslash. But, on a few occasions, Autoslash has failed to find any inexpensive options that fit my needs. In these cases, I’ve also checked the carsharing service Turo.

Although I’ve seriously considered renting a car through Turo multiple times, I’ve instead opted for a more expensive rental through a traditional car rental company. And, the primary reason each time was a concern about insurance.

As you might know, many credit cards offer rental car coverage when you pay with your card. But, Turo is a peer-to-peer rental platform instead of a traditional car rental company. That begs the question: Are Turo car rentals covered by credit card insurance? We’ll investigate that in this post.

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What does Turo say about credit card insurance?

car rental insurance
(Photo by Russ Rhode/Getty Images)

Turo makes it clear on its website that you shouldn’t automatically assume that your rental will be covered by credit card insurance. Turo Support states “your credit card company will not provide coverage for a Turo trip” in one article. Then, in another article, Turo Support further explains:

It’s very unlikely that your credit card company provides coverage for damage to a car booked through Turo. It’s even less likely that it provides liability coverage for injuries or damage you may cause to other people or their property. That’s because Turo is not a rental car company — we’re a person-to-person carsharing platform — so credit card companies may provide no coverage for a car booked through Turo.

Of course, we can’t provide advice on the specific terms of any coverage that your credit card may or may not offer. You’ll want to carefully review the terms they provided you with and contact them if you have coverage questions.

So, let’s take a closer look at the terms of popular credit card issuers that offer car rental coverage.

Related reading: Maximizing points and miles on summer road trips

Amex’s stance

(Photo by Isabelle Raphael / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

American Express outlines the car rental loss and damage coverage for each card online. In looking through the benefits guide provided on Amex’s website, I found that no coverage is provided for the following:

Vehicle sharing or peer to peer arrangements which allow independent owners to rent personal vehicles.

It’s clear that Amex won’t provide coverage for most Turo car rentals. I called the number on the back of The Platinum Card® from American Express to confirm this. I was told that rentals through Turo wouldn’t be covered unless the rental was completed through a commercial car rental agency and I received a car rental contract.

But, what about Amex’s Premium Car Rental Protection? Amex’s Premium Car Rental Protection program may provide primary rental car coverage when you enroll an Amex card in the program and then use your card to pay for an eligible rental. However, this coverage explicitly defines a rental company as follows:

“Rental Company” means a commercial car rental agency that is licensed under the laws of the applicable jurisdiction and whose primary business is renting private passenger automobiles. A Rental Company does not include a moving van rental company or any business which may incidentally rent an automobile to a customer, such as an auto dealership or auto body repair shop.

So, since Turo doesn’t consider itself a commercial car rental agency, and likely isn’t licensed in each jurisdiction, I think it would be very unlikely that Amex’s Premium Car Rental Protection would cover Turo car rentals.

But, to confirm I called Amex’s Premium Car Rental Protection enrollment line and asked the agent whether Turo rentals would be covered. He hadn’t heard of Turo before, so I explained the service to him. He then took a few minutes to look through exclusions and then asked me what state I live in and whether Turo offers insurance plans for car rentals. When I said Turo offers three insurance plans on most rentals, the agent concluded that he didn’t see a reason why a rental through Turo wouldn’t be covered.

Although the agent I spoke with concluded that Turo rentals would be covered, I’d recommend calling for yourself – perhaps multiple times to ensure you get a consistent response – before assuming Amex’s Premium Car Rental Protection will cover your Turo car rental.

Related reading: Amex Offers for rental cars: Earn cash back or bonus points

Chase’s stance

(Photo by John Gribben for The Points Guy)
(Photo by John Gribben/The Points Guy)

The Chase Sapphire Reserve provides the best travel protections among Chase credit cards, so I examined its guide to benefits. Under the “What’s not covered?” section of the auto rental collision damage waiver benefit, “leases and mini leases” as well as “vehicles that are not rented from a rental agency” are listed. The guide to benefits defines a rental agency as follows:

A commercial rental company licensed under the laws of the applicable jurisdiction and whose primary business is renting automobiles.

Turo does not consider itself a car rental agency. But, to double-check, I called the number on the back of my Chase Sapphire Preferred Card – which also excludes “leases and mini leases” and “vehicles that are not rented from a rental agency” – and the agent said that Turo rentals are excluded except when you complete the rental through a commercial car rental agency.

Related reading: Comparing built-in travel insurance with the Chase Sapphire Reserve and Amex Platinum

What about other card issuers?

(Photo by Orli Friedman / The Points Guy)
(Photo by Orli Friedman/The Points Guy)

It’s fair to say that most credit cards will not provide car rental coverage on most Turo rentals. However, I’ve seen a user claim in an online forum that the Barclays Arrival Plus World Elite Mastercard offered its auto rental collision damage waiver when you use your card to pay for Turo car rentals. So, I asked TPG Senior Travel Editor Andrea Rotondo, who is an Arrival Plus cardholder, to call the number on the back of her card and ask whether Turo car rentals would be covered. Andrea was told Turo car rentals would be covered, even after she explained that Turo is not a traditional car rental agency.

So, if you are looking to rent a car through Turo and your card generally offers car rental coverage when you pay for a rental car with your card, it’s worth calling the number on the back of your card to confirm whether rentals through a car-sharing platform such as Turo are covered. The answer will usually be no, but sometimes you may get a favorable response.

If you call the number on the back of your credit card and find that your card will cover Turo rentals that aren’t completed through a commercial car rental agency, please leave a note in the comments below.

Related reading: Best credit cards for rental car coverage

How does Turo car rental insurance work?

Turo also sells protection plans, which vary by market. You can see the full details on Turo’s website, but here’s a quick summary of the plans available for rentals in the U.S.

(Courtesy of Turo)
(Courtesy of Turo as of June 9, 2020)

These plans aren’t inexpensive. For U.S. rentals, Turo states that Premier protection costs 100% of the trip price (minimum of $14 per day), Standard protection costs 40% of the trip price (minimum of $12 per day) and minimum protection costs between 15% and 25% of the trip price (minimum of $10 per day). So, for a sample 1-week rental in Orlando that lists a $23.75 per day rental rate, Premier protection would cost $23.75 per day, Standard protection would cost $12 per day and Minimum protection would cost $10 per day.

Related reading: How to avoid letting rental car companies take advantage of you

Do I need to buy car rental insurance for Turo?

woman and baby with laptop and credit card
(Photo by Cavan Images/Getty Images)

Even if your credit card’s collision damage waiver covers your Turo rental, it won’t take care of any damage you cause to other cars and personal property. And, the credit card collision damage waiver won’t cover injuries to you, your passengers or pedestrians involved in the accident. Your car insurance policy may kick in here, but it’s a good idea to check your policy or call your provider to confirm in what situations you’d be covered. I’d recommend specifically asking about peer-to-peer rentals.

Some personal car insurance policies may also provide physical damage protection when you are driving someone else’s car, as long as the owner provided permission. But, again, it’s worth calling your insurance to check your policy details and determine exactly how much coverage you have if the worst happens during your Turo rental.

The decision of whether to purchase car rental insurance for your Turo rental is a personal and complicated one. I’d recommend ensuring that you have significant coverage from a damage and liability standpoint. The amount of coverage will vary, depending on how much risk you are willing to self-insure using savings or an emergency fund. So, in some cases, it may be worth paying for Turo’s Premium protection plan or purchasing an independent policy that covers Turo rentals to ensure that you’ll be well covered.

Related reading: When to buy travel insurance versus when to rely on credit card protections

Featured image by Dave G Kelly/The Points Guy.

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