Are Turo car rentals covered by credit card insurance?

Jun 17, 2021

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Rental cars have gotten much more expensive in many markets during the pandemic. I was often able to find great deals on rental cars through Autoslash before the coronavirus pandemic wrecked the car rental industry. But, these deals are far less frequent now.

I’ve found some decent rental rates through the carsharing service Turo. And I’ve seriously considered renting a car through Turo multiple times now. But, each time, I ultimately 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. So, today I’ll discuss whether credit card insurance covers Turo car rentals.

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In This Post

What does Turo say about credit card insurance?

Women driving a rental car
(Photo by Russ Rhode/Getty Images)

Turo makes it clear on its website that you shouldn’t automatically assume that credit card insurance will cover your rental. For example, Turo Support states, “your credit card company may 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 peer-to-peer car sharing 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 and contact them if you have coverage questions.

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

Related: Not just for flights: Save money on summer road trips with points and miles

Amex’s stance

Woman holding a wallet with credit cards
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/The Points Guy)

American Express outlines the car rental loss and damage coverage for each card online. However, in looking through the benefits guide provided on Amex’s website, I found that Amex’s insurance excludes the following:

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

Based on this exclusion, it’s clear that Amex won’t provide coverage for most Turo car rentals. But, I still called the number on the back of The Platinum Card® from American Express for confirmation. And an agent told me that Amex’s insurance wouldn’t cover rentals through Turo unless I completed the rental through a commercial car rental agency.

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.

Turo considers itself a peer-to-peer carsharing company, not a commercial car rental agency. Plus, Amex’s landing page for premium car rental protection has the following note:

Coverage is not available for ride-sharing companies that allow individuals to rent out their personal vehicle.

So, Amex’s premium car rental protection won’t cover most vehicles you rent through Turo. However, you may be covered if you rent from a commercial car rental agency that’s a Turo commercial host. If you have any questions about a specific rental, I recommend calling Amex before booking your rental car.

Related: Can’t find a car rental? Here are 7 secrets that may help

Chase’s stance

Woman holding a wallet with credit cards
(Photo by Isabelle Raphael/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”).

The initial Chase agent transferred me to a benefits specialist, who said Chase’s insurance doesn’t exclude all Turo rentals. But, the agent said Turo rentals are excluded unless you complete the rental through a commercial car rental agency and get a car rental contract showing that you are renting from a commercial rental company and not from an individual.

If you have any questions about whether Chase’s insurance will cover your Turo rental, it’s best to call and speak to a Chase benefits specialist before booking. This way, you’ll know whether you should buy insurance through Turo when you book.

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

What about other card issuers?

Woman holding a wallet with credit cards
(Photo by Orli Friedman/The Points Guy)

Most credit cards will not provide car rental coverage on most Turo rentals. But, 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. By doing so, you can 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.

Related: Should I purchase rental car insurance for a rental car booking?

How does Turo car rental insurance work?

Hyundai Ioniq Hybrid Lyft rental car
(Photo by Andrew Kunesh/The Points Guy)

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.:

  • Premier plan
    • Cost is 100% of the trip price with a minimum charge of $14 per day
    • Secondary third-party liability insurance coverage with a limit of $750,000
    • Primary physical damage contract limiting your responsibility to $0 for physical damage to your host’s vehicle
  • Standard plan
    • Cost is 40% of the trip price with a minimum charge of $12 per day
    • Minimum third-party liability insurance coverage required by the state where the car is registered
    • Primary physical damage contract limiting your responsibility to $500 for physical damage to your host’s vehicle
  • Minimum plan
    • Cost is 15% of the trip price when the trip price is more than $250 and 25% of the trip price when the trip rice is less than $250, with a minimum charge of $10 per day
    • Minimum third-party liability insurance coverage required by the state where the car is registered
    • Primary physical damage contract limiting your responsibility to $3,000 for physical damage to your host’s vehicle

These plans aren’t inexpensive. After all, for a sample one-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: 11 common rental car mistakes — and how to avoid them

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. Again, I’d recommend explicitly asking about peer-to-peer rentals.

Some personal car insurance policies may also provide physical damage protection when 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 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. 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 covered.

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

Featured image by GoodLifeStudio/Getty Images.

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