It’s not that long since the idea of renting out your own home to a stranger was a laughable idea. Now it’s a huge business and often the first option people choose for a short break. Cars, however are still seen as much more our castles than, well, our castles, although companies are springing up to challenge that perception.
If you commute by train, or have a company car, or just don’t use your car very often then you are likely to to paying good amounts of money on insurance, tax and repairs for something that loses value every year. Peer-to-peer car rental - something like Easycar Club, from the same stable as Easyjet, or newer arrival hiyacar could be a good option to monetise an unused asset.
It does mean getting over a bag of assumptions and, quite frankly, foibles about our personal space and personal possessions. I’d be concerned about cleaning up other peoples’ dirt and when I look at my own car and consider renting it the normally invisible sprinkling of Welsh sand, old receipts and kids’ detritus stand out starkly. Even after they are absolutely, definitely hoovered away...
Renters need to return your car in good condition, which you check in person or, with hiyacar’s QuickStart, they take pictures which they send to the app - but it might smell different, or need the seats and mirrors adjusting, small things which might make the car feel less yours.
There are certain provisos besides our emotional attachments: the car you rent must be your own, recently MOTed, and fully roadworthy. You post when it is available on their website and then can choose what offers to accept. Easycar Club lets you can set your own fee, of which they take 10%, and £8 per day goes to insure the driver, whereas hiyacar suggests the fee according to the make of car and condition - and then takes up to 30% commission.
Things to watch out for:
- Check the car carefully for more minor damage such as scratches on return;
- Be sure that you won’t need your car at the time, as cancellations attract fines;
- The car insurance for the rental drivers is handled separately and for reputable companies is fully comprehensive, but check with your own insurers that this will not invalidate your own insurance;
- Whilst it should not invalidate normal insurance, this type of rental would invalidate a gap insurance claim as this is classed as hire and reward. Something to think of if you have a high finance balance on the vehicle. If the other party writes your vehicle off you could still be left liable for the finance balance.
If on the other hand, you are someone who travels a lot or long distance and likes company then something like BlaBlaCar might fit the bill. This is essentially being paid to offer lifts to hitchhikers, but with appropriate safety checks on either side. This is not about making large amounts of money, but more covering costs while having company for that longer trip or airport ride. There’s even a indicator for each user of how much they are prepared to chat during the journey.
It remains to be seen whether these options will become part of our daily lives, or whether we reticent Brits will keep our rides to ourselves, but certainly both of these options result in fewer cars carrying more people, both easing congestion and reducing pollution, and if that can be achieved will putting money in our pockets, perhaps we should reconsider our attitudes.
By Jools Crowley at 12 Jan 2018, 00:00 AM