How to rent out your car, Airbnb-style

Money, Business

Here in the age of Airbnb, Uber, and the rest of today’s peer-to-peer and gig economy options, there’s no shortage of possible ways to make money. But there’s another option you might not have heard of yet: renting your car out the same way you rent out your apartment or house.

How it works

Sign up with a service like Turo or HyreCar and list your car for hire (just the car; you won’t be driving). The concept is the same as Airbnb, except that you’re renting out your wheels instead of your spare room. You list the dates your car is available for rent and set your price for the rentals. You’ll post photos and details about your car (including registration and a detailed inspection), and you’ll also select pick-up and drop-off locations.

Renters who find the rate and dates acceptable can rent your car directly through the service’s website. You and the renter will review and rate each other on the website after the rental period ends.

It’s good because…

Both Turo and HyreCar provide collision and theft insurance, so you don’t have to worry about what happens if the renter damages your car or if your vehicle is stolen. Roadside assistance is also included, so you can be sure your car will be cared for in the event of a breakdown.

Both services also provide liability insurance, which protects you if your vehicle is involved in an accident that causes personal injury or property damage. And since you can say yes or no to any potential renter, you stay in control of who’s using your vehicle. You also choose the pick-up and drop-off locations, which means you can select safe public spaces.

It’s bad because…

As with any situation where you’re renting to a stranger, there is the unknown factor. Even though your car is insured, if it’s damaged, you could be without the vehicle while it’s repaired. Moreover, the liability insurance provided by the service might not cover all the expenses of a serious injury accident—leaving you and your personal insurance coverage on the hook for the balance.

In addition, strangers may not treat your car with the same care you would, so there may be increased wear and tear. What’s more, you’re relying on the renters to post fair and accurate ratings of your car and the rental transaction, which can be dicey.

Renting your car out can be a great way to make some extra cash—just make sure you understand the process as well as the risks.