Remember in college how we always had a friend who owned a big car, or even a van, and the poor friend was always doing favors for everyone else, taking you shopping for bulky items, helping everyone move at the end of the school year…?
Generally, that person was good natured and always happy to help, for a beer and a bit of gas money, but in retrospect, it was pretty abusive to always ask for such favors when you can rent a van for half a day and be done with it.
I never had a car in college, but rarely asked for favors either. Actually, I was near 30 when I bought my first car. Before that, every time I needed to move house or to go away for the weekend, I would rent a car or a bigger vehicle. It was cheaper than having to do maintenance and pay for insurance and gas on a car I would rarely use. Plus I was renting my parking space so that would have been one less source of income. The parking space rental alone would allow for two weekend rentals PER MONTH of a basic car. In my town, the rental company had an offer for £35 to rent a small car from Friday morning to Monday morning. I wouldn’t dare bother any friend with a car just to save that amount, while said friend loses a full day driving me to Ikea.
Nevertheless, if I had a car, I would be happy to lend it to friends, not drive them around, and make a little extra money. Actually, I did just that this summer when I rented my motorcycle to a friend who wanted to travel around Europe. He got a cheaper rental than if he would have rented to a company, and I got enough money to pay for the maintenance that was due, and some more. The only problem there, as many people asked when I told them what I did, is the insurance.
If you are renting for a few days, you can get short term cover from Insure Daily, and if you are looking for a long term rental, you may want to look into amending your insurance policy to add a new driver there. On my insurance, you could add a driver for a small fee, for a month or the remainder of the policy.
Also, as an insured driver, I can ride my motorcycle or anyone else’s and also be covered. But that depends on your policy, so better give your insurance company a call, rather than doing it online and then finding out that you were not covered while you were driving.
I also recommend that you draw a basic contract with your friend or the person you rent your vehicle to (now there are even websites that connect drivers and car owners to arrange temporary rentals, so you can rent to anyone). Will they fill the tank when they give the car back? Who pays for scratches and minor wear and tear? Does the car need to be parked in a garage overnight to be covered for theft? And so on. The more details, the better.
While renting your car to someone else is a great way to make a little money, if things go wrong, it can end up being very costly, so make sure you are covered.