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Rent Out Your Car


Rent Out Your Car
Photo credit: pixelthing / Flickr

Do you own a vehicle that you do not need to use every day? If so, would you like an opportunity to put that car to work to earn some money that might defray some of the cost of car payments, auto insurance, and upkeep?

Sure, you could informally lend your car out yourself in exchange for a modest payment. But if your car represents a sizable investment, this move might be risky. How do you screen drivers and make certain that they carry proper insurance? You might have a better experience if you join a peer-to-peer car-sharing service that will help you rent out your car.

How Do Peer-to-Peer Car-sharing Services Work?

Peer-to-peer simply means person-to-person. Peer-to-peer car-sharing services are different from traditional rental companies because they help match up people who need to use a car with private owners who do not need to use their cars every day. These services do not own their own fleets of cars, but the cars of their members serve as their fleet.

The service acts as a middleman or broker, and they take a percentage of each transaction. In exchange for sharing revenue with vehicle owners, the service may provide both renters and owners with several benefits, and these could include:

  • Websites and mobile apps that match borrowers and lenders
  • Booking management
  • Insurance and roadside assistance
  • Background screening
  • Customer service

How Much Can You Earn By Renting Your Car?

RelayRides, a large peer-to-peer car-rental company, says that their average member makes about $250 a month by making their vehicles accessible for short-term use by other drivers. In exchange, renters get affordable access to nearby vehicles.

In order to maximize your revenues, it helps to take some time to prepare a good listing with attractive photos, keep your car clean and maintained, and even provide some extras. For example, satellite radio, A-GPS, or even local maps and guides stowed in the glove compartment might draw more interest.

Pitfalls to Renting Out Your Car

Even though you can earn money by renting our your car, be aware that extra use will increase your mileage and might increase your upkeep expenses. Good services should provide their own third-party insurance, but make sure you check with your own insurer to make certain that renting your car out does not violate the terms of your personal policy.

Some experts caution that state insurance rules have not always kept up with this relatively new industry; therefore, be certain you understand how you are protected in case the borrower does cause an accident that results in property damage or an injury. There has been at least one reported case where a victim’s family sued a car-sharing company, driver, and the vehicle owner after a fatal accident.

Are All Car-sharing Companies the Same?

Some large car-sharing companies have their own fleet of cars, so they are not active in the peer-to-peer market. Even some traditional rental car services arrange hourly rentals, and they call this car-sharing. In order to rent out your car, you need a peer-to-peer car-sharing service.

Additionally, make certain that you understand the agreement that comes along with your vehicle’s membership. Credible services earn their fees by providing protection for both renters and lenders, but there is no guarantee that all of them do. Before you sign your car up with any service, you might look for third-party reviews to learn about other vehicle owners’ experiences.

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