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Buying & Leasing a Car

Make Extra Cash by Renting Your Car

Put your car to work for you when you’re not using it.

You may cringe at the thought of letting a casual friend, let alone a stranger, drive your car. But what if you could earn a few extra bucks by renting it out? Several car-sharing services facilitate such deals, putting you in touch with potential renters and providing insurance to protect against damages and liability.

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RelayRides is the most widely available and versatile of the bunch. Its marketplace feature links you directly to people looking to rent for at least a day in more than 2,500 cities (although the company doesn’t operate in New York State). You can check up on potential renters, who have online profiles and are prescreened by the company.

Your car must be a 2005 model or newer and have fewer than 100,000 miles on the odometer. RelayRides recommends pricing based on demand in your city, but you can charge whatever you like. In the month of August, the average active user made more than $500 after RelayRides’ 25% cut to cover administrative fees and insurance, says Steven Webb, director of communications.

RelayRides isn’t as high-tech as better-known car-sharing services, such as Car2Go: You have to co­ordinate pickup and meet the renter to exchange keys. The company touts its $1 million primary liability insurance, but if your car is totaled, you’ll receive compensation only up to the actual cash value of your car. And unless you’ve taken “before” photos of your vehicle immediately prior to renting it, coverage excludes dings, dents or scratches less than 6 inches long.

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