British Columbia

Turo car-sharing company expected to launch in B.C. in weeks

An insurance agreement with ICBC was the final hurdle to operating in the province.

Known as the AirBnB for cars, Turo lets private car owners rent their vehicle on its online platform

A screengrab of the Turo website. (Turo.com)

A vehicle-sharing platform that's been called the AirBnB for cars will launch in British Columbia in a matter of weeks, according to the company's vice-president. 

Turo's Cedric Mathieu said securing a comprehensive insurance agreement with ICBC was the final hurdle.

"This insurance product allows any individual private car owner to list their car on the platform, and for this car to be protected by the Turo-provided insurance while on the road," he said. 

According to Mathieu, owners decide at what price to list their car and the company takes a 30 per cent commission from every rental.

Owners also set mileage limits on their rental and cars are expected to be returned with the same amount of gas in the tank that they left with.

Mathieu says most Turo car owner — called members — are motivated to list on the platform to offset the cost of owning a vehicle or to earn extra money.

"The car is an asset people already have ... and 95 per cent of the time cars are sitting idle in the garage or driveway," he said.

The company claims hosts earn an average of $620 a month in regions where the program is already operating.

In the event of an accident, Mathieu says Turo's insurance covers liability and physical damage to the car with no deductible levied against the host and no impact to a host's personal insurance policy. 

He said the company screens potential renters to verify identify, age, driver's license validity and "other signals to evaluate risk" and sometimes denies access to Turo vehicles. 

The majority of cars listed on the platform are privately owned, although rental agencies also have access.

Turo's arrival in B.C. follows the recent departures of car share companies Car2Go rand Zipcar.

The San Francisco-based company first came to Canada in 2016 and says it has 850,000 members and 35,000 cars in Alberta, Ontario, Quebec and Nova Scotia.

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