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P2P Car Owners Can Monitor Renters’ Driving

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GetAround's mobile app

GetAround’s mobile app

Cruizing Club (CC), a project at the TechCrunch Disrupt Hackathon, San Francisco, makes it possible for anyone renting out their car to monitor the driving ability of the person they rent it to, as Josh Constine writes for TechCrunch. CC connects to Vinli (a connected car platform that plugs into a car’s data port, which is found under the dashboard on cars built after 1996), and scores drivers on their ability, Constine writes.

Constine writes:

Just because a renter didn’t crash your car, doesn’t mean they didn’t damage it. You don’t want to rent to someone who red lines the engine, drives in too low a gear, or burns the tires peeling out.

Such peer-to-peer (P2P) car sharing services as Getaround, RelayRides, and FlightCar let personal car owners rent out their cars, and although the companies offer insurance for any physical damage done during the rental period, they have not had a way to monitor the driver’s behavior, Constine writes. As Patrick Hoge writes for the San Francisco Business Times, each of the above three companies has a different strategy. San Francisco-based GetAround installs hardware in people’s vehicles to control who can access them for what are mostly short-term rentals, Hoge writes.

Those digital locks made it possible for GetAround to access 450 of the 900 on-streeet parking spots that San Francisco made available for car sharing companies in 2014 in a two-year pilot project, Hoge writes. RelayRides no longer focuses on short-term, or hourly rentals, instead, renting the vehicles out for long-term trips, he notes. FlightCar is mostly focused on renting privately owned vehicles to travelers flying into airports in San Francisco, Boston, Los Angeles, and Seattle, Hoge writes.

Cruizing Club’s developers, Tom Rutka and Quynh Pham, write that their product would be a benefit to car rental agencies, as well as to individual car owners who rent out their cars to other drivers. In a video (which you can see below), Rutka says CC’s online dashboard shows car owners a list of cars they are renting out, how much money they have made, which cars are rented out, and which cars have been returned. The dashboard also lists the cars, the speeds they were driven at, the telometry, and the score that CC gives each driver who has rented the car.

Russ Heaps writes for Auto Trader that car owners face the most risks with P2P sharing, because strangers will be driving their cars. P2P companies do background checks on drivers who seek to register with them, looking at the driving records before signing them up, Heaps writes. In an article in Forbes entitled “Beware the Liability of Sharing Your Car with Strangers,”  M.P. McQueen writes that insurers and legal experts suggest drivers check their insurance coverage before renting out their cars.

Ashley Kane writes for EverQuote in an article titled “Peer-to-Peer Car Sharing Risks“:

Most car insurance policies extend coverage to anyone that the car owner lets drive their vehicle. This is called permissive driver coverage and is under a driver’s personal policy. However, rarely, if ever, is this allowed for commercial use. If the P2P program you’re a part of doesn’t offer auto insurance coverage for those driving your vehicle, take the time to research your options. Consider buying commercial coverage to be sure you and your car are protected, or find a way to vet the renter’s car insurance and driving history. The last thing you want is for a stranger to drive your car, and then to be stuck with the damages for your own car or other vehicles.

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