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Thinking About Renting Out Your Car? Make Sure You're Aware of the Risks

Whether you need to make some cash, or are looking for a car for a day, NBC 7 Responds looks at what you need to know.

NBC Universal, Inc.

Renting out vacation homes is common, but apps are now letting people rent out their garages, swimming pools, even their cars. Whether you're looking for some extra cash, or need a car for a day, it pays to be prepared.

"It started with just one, then two, each of us with our individual cars," said Ashley Schorr, a Turo host. "We used it first just to make the car payment."

Schorr and her partner now have a small fleet of six cars that they rent through Turo, one of the apps along with Getaround that let people rent out their cars to others.

The two of them have been in business since 2018, and say protecting themselves starts with a good insurance plan.

"Any person that rents a car from me can choose different levels with different deductibles," said Schorr. "Most people's car insurance actually covers car rentals."

The Federal Trade Commission also knows people are looking to make money by renting out their space or cars. In an alert in August, they warned that you should prepare before an accident costs you big.

"Will your insurance cover problems while someone else is driving your car?" asked Rosario Mendez with the FTC. "Is the application going to offer you some kind of protection or insurance?"

That's why you should read the policies carefully. Do you need to get a new policy for the rental, or does the app or your existing insurance provide enough coverage? Both Turo and Getaround said their policies are able to help if an accident happens.

"Both the guest and the host are covered from the beginning of the trip to the end of the trip and that's important to know because you're on a trip as a guest, you want to make sure you're protected," said Ruth Yankoupe from Getaround. "If you're a host, you also want to make sure that you have coverage while that car is being used."

Finances aren't the only worry. The FTC warns that you also are giving up some of your personal information if you rent out something like your car or home.

"Anyone might be able to see the location of the car because you have to share where it is," said Mendez. "If you have to leave the keys so the other person can drive, then there's a risk that other people knows where it is and that the keys are inside."

Both Turo and Getaround said they do not provide the location of the car to potential customers until shortly before the rental period begins. Getaround also said it has anti-theft devices available for hosts to install that can prevent cars from starting if they are stolen.

If you have problems renting a car, or listing your car on the app, the FTC is asking that you report those through their online portal.

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