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Offsetting the Cost of Car Ownership With Metromile and Turo

Many people are challenged by the economic constraints of car ownership. Currently, car ownership costs between US$9,000 and $11,000 per year, including the cost of the vehicle itself as well as registration fees, insurance, ongoing maintenance, fuel, and parking fees.

In response to these economic burdens, technology companies are developing innovative ways to offset the cost of car ownership.

Some vehicle owners are opting to earn some money back with Turo, a car-sharing application operating in select locations within the US, Canada, the UK, and Germany. Functioning as the Airbnb for cars, Turo offers vehicle owners the ability to rent their car out to travelers for a period of time while also being insured by the company for any damages to the car while it’s in the guest’s possession. Turo’s mandate is to provide guests a unique selection of cars locally and to offer a money-generating platform for hosts.

Another cost-saving option specifically geared to car owners who drive low mileage is Metromile, a pay-per-mile insurance company that uses sensors and a mobile application to calculate and track the miles traveled by the driver, among other car information (e.g. GPS locator, car maintenance). Customers pay only for what they actually use or, in other words, for how far they drive. This business model is based off the assumption that car owners who use their vehicles less frequently are less susceptible to risk (i.e. car accidents or damages) and therefore should only have to manage and pay for their own risk.

The Metromile Pulse plugs into your car’s diagnostics port to track how many miles you drive and collect other data about your driving. Source: Metromile.

Our Take

As a vehicle owner, I personally would rent my car out on Turo. I walk to work and only drive on the weekends, and I could use the spare cash. Turo’s offering of a $2-million insurance policy does put me at ease; however, I would need to read the fine print and clarify with the company:

  • What exactly is covered under Turo’s insurance policy?
  • What is required to file a claim?
  • How do Turo’s car insurance and my personal insurance interact? Where do grey areas exist?
  • How do the sensors work?
  • What information is collected?
  • How is information processed? How is it used? Is it disclosed to third parties?

If you are intending to pursue Turo as a way to offset the cost of car ownership, I recommend asking questions similar to these and also checking with your personal insurance company to find out how your monthly payments and coverage will be affected.

As for Metromile, I align with their target demographic of low mileage drivers. While I would probably have a very low premium, I would want to clarify a few logistics:

Bottom Line

Turo and Metromile offer unique ways to offset the economic constraints of car ownership. As appealing as they may be to consumers, it is important to realize that whenever you are signing up for a service, you put your trust in these companies to provide a service platform that is secure against such situations as data breaches,physical harm, or property damage. While this may not be reassuring, it is the reality of most services both online and in the physical world. In conclusion, do your research and review testimonies of other users to gain further insight.

Want to Know More?

Special Letter: The Connected Car as a Platform

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