Would You Consider Renting Out Your Car For Cash?

Got a car you don’t use? Or even one you do, but can spare for a few hours to a complete stranger? You could be making some cash using new peer-to-peer car sharing services that set up car owners with people in need of a ride.

To wit: CNNMoney profiles one man who happens to have a BMW 5-series that he doesn’t need to use all that often, so he rents it out for $15 an hour or $75 per day through a national company called RelayRides.

“With monthly payments and insurance, I was in the black last month,” he said. “Basically, I have the car for free.”

There’s another smaller competitor company, Getaround which is in a few certain markets. The companies each provide up to $1 million worth of liability insurance coverage on cars while they’re being rented.

Owners have the right to refuse rental requests, of course, even if they just don’t like the sound of someone. Or perhaps someone leaving trash in your car won’t make you likely to rent to them again.

There are problems, as in one recent case where a RelayRides user’s car was involved in a fatal wreck. In that example it’s tricky to figure out who pays the damages, so insurance industry insiders warn car owners to check with their providers before using a peer-to-peer service.

“We advise consumers who participate in peer-to-peer ride sharing to read their insurance policies carefully and talk to their insurance agent to make sure they know exactly what is covered,” said Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute.

Rent your car for cashn [CNNMoney]


Edit Your Comment

  1. etz says:

    absolutely not

    • chefboyardee says:

      I came to say the exact same thing. I LOL’ed when I saw that the first post beat me to it verbatim.

      • chefboyardee says:

        derp. didn’t show my comment on refresh, even 2 minutes later, so i tried again. looks like it took the first time and the comment system is just slow to refresh.

        i know i’m talking to a wall but can we get a delete button, or at the very least an edit button, if the comment system is going to be this hosed?

    • chefboyardee says:

      I came to say the exact same thing. I LOL’ed when I saw that the first post beat me to it verbatim.

    • Mr. Spy says:

      My exact words upon reading the title. I clicked to see other people say it. I do not leave disappointed.

  2. msbask says:

    You’re going to take the chance that a stranger kills someone with your car, increasing your car insurance until the end of time, to make a few bucks?

    Uh. No. No, thanks.

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      I guess you missed the part of the article that talked about this.

      • JHDarkLeg says:

        The part that didn’t address his concern?

        • kpsi355 says:

          “We advise consumers who participate in peer-to-peer ride sharing to read their insurance policies carefully and talk to their insurance agent to make sure they know exactly what is covered,” said Loretta Worters, vice president of the Insurance Information Institute.

          Yeah, that part.

          • sendbillmoney says:

            Merely talking to my insurance agent isn’t going to protect me. “But my agent said X!” “Do you have any proof our agent said X? We deny it, but even if our agent did say X the four corners of your policy say Y.”

      • msbask says:

        I didn’t miss it, it’s just irrelevant. If the service provides a $1M liability policy while your vehicle is being rented great, but what happens when someone sues for $2M? I’ll tell you what happens: You’re screwed.

        The article suggests that “it’s tricky to figure out who pays the damages” and that’s true, which is why in most cases everyone pays.

      • Sudonum says:

        How about the part that talks about checking with your own insurance before you do this. I know what they’re going to say…. “it’s a business use and you don’t have business coverage…” Same reason that you never tell them that you use your personal vehicle for business at all. I once had an insurance co try to deny a claim because they thought I was running errands for my place of business when I had someone run into me.

  3. Blueskylaw says:

    I wouldn’t mind as long as insurance (not mine) would cover any and all liability and damages to my car and other people’s lives and property. That and they would have to pay me at least $150 per day because I know the tires would always come back a little balder at the end of the day.

    • Coles_Law says:

      Here’s the thing: Even if another insurance company covers 100% of the liability, your insurance would consider renting your car out as a business use and would murder you on premiums if they didn’t just drop you.

      • humphrmi says:

        Besides the fact that regardless of who covers the damages in an accident, if your car is listed in an accident report, your insurance rates go up, even if they don’t pay a dime.

  4. George4478 says:

    Nope. I may enjoy going all ‘Dukes of Hazard’ at railroad tracks in a Hertz rental — and I pay for that privilege — but I don’t want a car I own to be treated that way.

  5. homehome says:

    If it’s just sitting there, then why not use it to make some money. Make sure you good insurance and background checks, etc. I know a guy who rents out his car. Beast ferrari, he maybe drives it twice a year and it’s just sitting there.

  6. kfspins says:

    I read about this in March in the NY times. Here is a quote from that article.
    “RelayRides insurance won’t be adequate in the event of a catastrophic accident and that your own insurance company may take away your insurance if it even hears that you are lending your car to someone in exchange for a few dollars an hour.”
    I am borrowing a car from my parents and was told by the insurance company that if anything happens it would be my parent’s insurance that would be hit.
    Don’t do it unless you’re sure you are okay.

  7. TheMansfieldMauler says:

    I can’t believe anyone does this. You know those cars are getting ragged out. Also the insurance issues would be a nightmare.

    What happens when the car gets seized because the person you rented it to used it to transport drugs? Even if you get it back, it’s going to sit in impound until the court’s ruling, which could be months or even a year or more.

    • suez says:

      Plus, who gets the points and fines if that car runs lights with cameras? Who’s responsible for parking tickets and towing fees? It’s so NOT worth the worry and headaches.

  8. aloria says:

    This sounds like an insurance and maintenance nightmare.

  9. caradrake says:

    How would this work if someone rents your vehicle and gets a ticket for running a red light where there is a camera, or doesn’t pay a toll? Those fines go to the person that the tag is registered to, right?

    • Loias supports harsher punishments against corporations says:

      It would go to the license holder. However, I’ve heard of many a situation where you argue that ticket away because you state that you are the not the driver, which is evidenced by the picture accompanying the ticket which is not you.

    • JJFIII says:

      Same as any other rented car. Provide proof to Relay Ride who was renting and boom you are hit with the ticket. This happens ALL the time int he rental car industry and is not an issue. The ONLY issue is insurance and liability. Enterprise has a blanket policy.

      • TheMansfieldMauler says:

        Sure that works with a rental agency because the car is registered to a company, and it’s easy for the court to see that. I’m not so sure it would be that easy with a personally owned vehicle registered to an individual.

  10. crispyduck13 says:

    Oh yeah, nothing could possibly go wrong here. Where do I sign up?

  11. BradC says:

    If you need your car so little that you can rent it out, why not just sell your car and rent one when you need it?

    • JJFIII says:

      I need my car Mon-Friday, but not that much on the weekend (we can use the boyfriends). Not everybody lives in YOUR situation

      • Here to ruin your groove says:

        You —>”I need my car Mon-Friday, but not that much on the weekend (we can use the boyfriends). Not everybody lives in YOUR situation”

        In response to this—>”If you need your car so little that you can rent it out, why not just sell your car and rent one when you need it?”

        Maybe you should try the question again without your bitchy pants on.

      • DemosCat says:

        And what happens after you and your boyfriend break up?

        Even if you only need your car Mon-Fri and never on weekends, that still means you need your car 71% of the time.

        Personally, I would set the threshold at 50% or less. If I need my car only 50% of the time or less might I possibly entertain the idea of renting it out.

        If you only need a car half the time, that leads right back to BradC’s original question: If you need a car so infrequently, why own at all?

        If I lived in a city, not owning might be the smartest bet. Commute to work via public transit and rent a Zip car as needed.

        If I lived and worked on a farm, I’d still want a car/truck even if I only used it once a week.

        • Lisse24 says:

          I love Zipcar and enjoyed my membership for a long time, but their closest car is a mile from my current condo – which is just too far.

          Since I usually take long road trips nearly every weekend, I ended up purchasing the cheapest car on the market – I’m paying about the same as I did with Zipcar.

          Having had positive experiences with carsharing, I think this is something I would (and have) considered.

  12. Jane_Gage says:

    I signed up for it in Phila but there isn’t enough critical mass yet for it to be implemented. (It’s getting beat to shit anyway with all the deer and crack addicts.)

  13. GearheadGeek says:

    I won’t even let a valet park my car, I’m certainly not going to let someone go driving around in it all day. And I don’t have an expensive car, although it’s somewhat rare. No one would want to rent it anyway, because it has a real transmission rather than a slushbox.

    • DemosCat says:

      A real transmission? What kind? Three-on-the-tree, four-(five or six)-on-the-floor? Full syncromesh, partial syncromesh, or a rare double-clutching crashbox?

      Heck yeah, I’ll go for it. Where’s the rental agreement!


    • Bort says:

      i agree real transmissions rock, esp when it thwarts some would be thieves

      • DemosCat says:

        Yep, my pickup is a manual (5 on the floor). That cuts down on people wanting to borrow it. :)

        Years ago, someone attempted to steal a friend of mine’s Isuzu, which was a diesel with manual transmission. They didn’t get very far.

  14. pengajim says:

    Where is this guy with the 5 series? I’d love to rent it that cheap for a day. A day at a high performance driving school. I would absolutely pay $75 to hoon someone else’s car.

  15. rawrali says:

    Every personal auto insurance policy that I’ve looked at has an exclusion that bars coverage if you are renting the vehicle out in any way (i.e. an actual rental or acting as a taxi service). Your insurance company would likely drop you as an insured if they found out you were doing this, and it would be difficult to find coverage elsewhere. A personal umbrella policy would likely deny coverage as well, leaving you open to a judgement in excess of the $1M liability limits. This would only make sense if the company had about $10-20M in excess and umbrella policies that also covered you. $1M won’t cut it.

    • buddyedgewood says:

      Yep, my insurance (AAA in AZ) goes so far as stating that unless I’ve specifically listed someone other than myself on the exclusion form, no one but me can drive my car. Even if I’m drunk and letting a sober buddy drive me, in my car, home. Seems a bit excessive, but I guess that’s why I pay relatively low insurance.

      • smartypants503 says:

        Doubt this is true. An “Exclusion Form” would imply that names on said list would be excluded, not included. Never heard of a state that does not allow permissive operation.

  16. benh999 says:

    I’m not sure I’ve ever heard of a stupider idea.

  17. catastrophegirl chooses not to fly says:

    eagerly awaiting this as a plot twist on CSI when someone’s car comes back with bloodstains in the trunk

    • DemosCat says:

      LOL! No kidding, private renting your car is a really stupid idea.

      Besides the insurance issues already sited by others, you raise an excellent point. What if someone decides renting a privately-owned car makes the idea bank heist getaway vehicle? Or uses it to transport drugs, bodies, you name it?

  18. samjung23 says:

    No way. Not with the way some morons treat their cars.

  19. lovemypets00 - You'll need to forgive me, my social filter has cracked. says:

    No, no, no, a thousand times no. I can see people using fake ID’s to get cars to run mobile meth labs, or who knows what, and then the poor owner gets a stinking mess back when the car is returned, and can’t track down the real culprit. Or someone uses the car to haul around their 200 lb Mastiff that hasn’t been bathed in years. Or smokes the world’s cheapest cigarettes in it, and it stinks to high heaven from then on.

    I will lend my car to a close friend, and have had close friends lend me their cars, but I would never rent my car to a stranger.

  20. BurtReynolds says:

    No. But I also don’t think anyone would want to rent my 12 year old, nearly 200,000 mile Civic.

    I’ve had this car for 10 years and only a handful of people have drove it other than me and various mechanics pulling it into a bay for some maintenance. Letting someone drive my car is kind of like letting someone crash in your bed. You don’t just let anyone do it.

    • KyBash says:

      Mine is an ’85 Buick with 275,000 miles.

      I don’t have to worry about theft — it’s not just that no one would want to steal it, but starting it is a bit tricky.

      • HogwartsProfessor says:

        I have a ’93 Buick with less miles and it starts up, but no one would want to rent a car on which neither driver’s side windows roll down, and that doesn’t have air conditioning. :P

  21. Hartwig says:

    Tempting, but i doubt the 75 dollars would make me feel better about someone thrashing on my car for a day. You don’t tend to rent high end cars for a day to drive them slowly.

    • AustinTXProgrammer says:

      But is a 5 series really high end? I mean a 528 or 530 is a really nice car, but not high end.

      There is a very short list of people I’ll let drive my M3.

  22. MrEvil says:

    I put my F150 on Getaround. Once My Crown Vic gets it’s transmission fixed I’ll probably have the truck available for more hours per day than I do now.

    Thankfully Texas very narrowly defines Vicarious liability. I’m no lawyer, but my understanding of Texas law is that you can’t be liable for property damage or injury caused by someone that you loaned your vehicle to. I could be liable if that person was out doing an errand for me in the vehicle and acting in that capacity.

  23. KyBash says:

    It would depend on how well the service tracks its customers. The owners should be able to give feedback on each renter (and vice-versa). If you can look up that they’ve always left the car clean, no apparent damage, and they only rent on alternate Tuesdays so she can take her grandfather to a clinic, then what’s really wrong?

    I can’t speak to other insurance policies, but mine covers me if I’m driving a rental. I’d insist that anyone renting my car have a similar policy.

    That said, I fully expect this to be a disaster waiting to happen!

  24. krunk4ever says:

    Even if their insurance takes care of accidents, you’re on the hook for wear and tear. How much more mileage will it adding. Maintenance schedules will definitely be pushed up.

  25. Kuri says:

    Giving how people can treat, well, anything that’s rented, FUCK NO.

  26. sirwired says:

    This idea is utterly nucking futs.

  27. insertwittyusernamehere says:

    I used to work for a car rental place. The way people treated the rental cars – there’d be NO WAY would I ever let anyone hire out my car.
    Some of the cars looked like they had been taken on a 6 month 4WD adventure, even though it was a 1.2ltr hatchback that they’d had for 24hrs. You’d have to factor in cleaning it after every lease… and the ones that ended up like this took forever to clean!!
    Some people decided that even though we had a strict “No Smoking” policy, they could smoke in the cars. You could never get the smell out and then everyone else who hired out the vehicle would complain about the smoke smell.
    People losing the keys, parking in tow away zones and refusing to pay the tow fine/impound fee. People thinking it’s ok to leave the key “hidden” on the tyre while they go to the beach.
    I went to check in a car once, and this guy had full insurance so he wouldn’t be liable for any damage, but we still had to go over the car. He parked it in our parking bay, right in front of the “Please Park Here” sign…. actually he parked it IN the sign. Just ran into it. Didn’t even reverse slightly so it didn’t look like he’d hit it. It was a metal pole FFS. People just really have no respect for rental cars.

    There’s also the insurance and liability issues everyone else has raised. Rentals around here are fairly cheap – there’d be no way you’d be able to compete on price AND make it worth your while.

  28. WalterSinister2 says:

    An idea that is ok in theory, but falls to pieces because people are stupid jerks who don’t even take good care of their own stuff, much less a rental. What’s the compensation for the permanent smell of smoke when someone breaks the “no smoking” rule? Also, I can’t see my insurance company going for this.

  29. maxamus2 says:

    Nah, I don’t want people fiddling with my radio stations.

  30. TouchMyMonkey says:

    I’m totally Seinfeld with my car. No one but me gets to defile it.

  31. You Can Call Me Al(isa) says:

    I don’t even let my boyfriend of three years drive my car. It’s my car!

  32. dolemite says:

    Hell no. You ever seen what people do with rental cars or simply cars that aren’t theirs? Treat them like crap and try and destroy them, that’s what.

  33. icerabbit says:

    Nope. No chance.

    Our family doesn’t even borrow or drive our cars, let alone a stranger for some rental fee.

    You’d have to be a really good friend before I hand you the key.

  34. u1itn0w2day says:

    No way. Once you rent out your car it’s not your car anymore it’s a rental.

    A car is more personal and needed than property. I can’t even get relatives to treat my car the way I want to and do.

  35. Hungry Dog says:

    Considering how I treat rentals and I treat them alright…no. I’ve seen people do things to cars that would make Hannibal Lecter sick.

  36. No One Ever Asks Me says:

    My truck and I have a relationship of mutual respect. I take care of her needs, she gets me where I need to go. Letting some stranger tool around in her would just be inviting a major break down that I simply cannot afford.

  37. GRCAMPBELL says:

    I do this. I think unless you live in a city, then this doesn’t make sense. It’s more like a ZipCar than a rental car.

  38. raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

    I’ve heard of “Community cars,” where a group of people who cannot afford a car on their own pool their resources and buy a car that they all pay to maintain and insure. But that sort of arrangement probably works better in some communities than in others.

  39. Shorebreak says:


  40. The Porkchop Express says:

    What if the renter puts a dead body in the trunk? No officer (or your honor), you see I rented my car out to this nice guy named Ted. Very polite gentleman, but I think he may have put that there.

  41. failurate says:

    I wouldn’t buy a rental car and I sure as hell wouldn’t turn a car I bought into a rental car.

  42. aleck says:

    I am pretty sure his insurance does not cover it. If something happens to the car or renter, the owner would be SOL.

  43. pattymc says:

    There was a NYT article a few months ago about a woman, I think it was in Boston, who is being sued for a fatal accident involving her rented out car. The liability issues are murky and likely to adversely affect whoever is doing the renting.