Sharing economy: shift from owning to renting

 Woman grinds a table

Sharing economy: shift from owning to renting

Sharing instead of owning outright is currently the trend. No wonder, since this allows us to protect the environment and our wallets. Thanks to social media and sharing platforms, the sharing economy is currently enjoying a certified boom. But what should you look out for when using these platforms as a renter? We have the answers and further information on the topic.

Sharing economy: What is it all about?

In the sharing economy, property or services are rented out in exchange for money. The sharing economy is about transactional sharing, sharing in exchange for payment. True to the motto: sharing instead of owning, renting instead of buying. In the sharing economy, goods of all kinds are used collectively (collaborative consumption). It does not matter whether we share tools, homes, or immaterial things such as services; the goal of the sharing economy is a more efficient and sustainable use of resources. Before a new purchase, it is good to ask yourself, in the spirit of the sharing economy, whether you really need the product in question and how often you will actually use it. Because, if we are honest with ourselves: when was the last time we picked up our sewing machine, ski case or carpet cleaner out of the basement? 

Sharing platforms spark boom

If we rent items instead of buying them, we are not only being kind to the environment, we are also being kind to our wallets. Renting is a more eco-friendly alternative to ownership. Digitalization and social media have significantly simplified access to the sharing economy. While initially only private individuals were able to exchange or lend equipment and items on a manageable scale, today companies are increasingly getting involved. They have harnessed the principle of the sharing economy and developed innovative business models and platforms around it. Today, these platforms ensure that supply meets demand even more quickly. In this way, platform operators such as Sharely, Uber or Carify enable providers to make their resources and skills available to a large target group. Users can then find the right product or service online in a matter of seconds: whether it is an e-bike on Sharely, a ride on Uber, or a vehicle on Carify.

Advantages of sharing platforms

Whether you're lending your belongings privately or through a platform: in both cases, resources are being shared and a contribution is being made to conserving the environment. Both models of the sharing economy promote sustainable consumption. In addition, in both cases you can earn a little extra by lending out your belongings. In contrast to lending out your belongings privately, online platforms offer numerous advantageous. 

  1. Wider reach: you can reach more people on online platforms. This allows renters and lenders to find one another more quickly. 
  2. Trust and security: platform operators vet both renters and lenders. This allows us to feel more confident that we won't have to deal with scammers. A rating system can help when trying to determine how reliable a person is. If in doubt, you can also contact the platform operator.
  3. Quality: The rating system helps to safeguard the quality of products and services.
  4. Comfort: Platforms facilitate the exchange of information, payment processing and also logistics. Platforms offer us a regulated framework, which simplifies the renting process for us.

In addition, some platforms offer insurance coveragefor rented items in the rental price – for example Sharely and Carify, with whom we cooperate. As a result, the items are also insured against damage when they are rented out. This benefits both renters and lenders.

Sharely: Rent and lend day-to-day items

Sharely is Switzerland's largest rental platform for items of all kinds. On Sharely private individuals and companies can rent and lend various items: from drones, to household appliances such as pasta machines, to boats. 

Carify: Autos im Abo-Modell

Those without their own car can rent one from car subscription provider Carify. On Carify, those looking to rent can find a huge range of vehicles that are available to rent on a monthly basis. As soon as their subscription has expired, they return the vehicle to its owner. In our article on the topic "Car Subscription" you will find additional information about car rentals. 

Insurance for rental cars and car-sharing

Do you use car-sharing services or frequently drive vehicles owned by others? Avoid expensive surprises with our insurance for rented and shared vehicles.

Get to know your insurance options

Sharing economy: The trend and its limits

As shown by various surveys, the sharing economy is becoming increasingly popular in Switzerland. In 2019, some 28% of Swiss internet users took advantage of the offers of services within the sharing economy. Those aged between 20 and 29 are particularly happy to rent, often via sharing platforms. But will this trend maintain or even increase its current popularity in the future? This depends on several factors. For example, purchasing power in Switzerland is very high and we humans are experts in optimization: If we can have something delivered to our homes at a click of a mouse, we may think twice before renting it instead. However, attitudes and behaviors can change and are often generation-specific. Nevertheless, companies are under pressure to constantly improve their offerings and the rental experience, in order to offer renters and lenders real added value. Ensuring more people share, instead of buy.

We have answers to the most frequently asked questions about the sharing economy.

What do I have to look out for, if I lend something to someone in exchange for payment?

Provided that you are not lending your belongings out on a commercial basis, household contents insurance is usually sufficient. "not[...]commercial" here means that you are not making a living from your lending activity. But do check to see if your belongings are also protected against loss or damage due to breakage under your household contents insurance. In general, taking out additional cover known as "accidental damage" as part of your household contents insurance is sufficient in situations like this. At Zurich, we are now offering house contents All Risk Insurance for cases like this. 

What do I have to look out for, if I rent something?

We recommend that you take out personal liability insurance, if you are renting someone else's belongings. This pays for damage that you have caused to other people and their property. For example, if you accidentally damage the cordless drill you borrowed from your neighbor. 

If you are renting via platforms offering their own insurance coverage, we recommend that you check their personal liability insurance; the insurance coverage offered by these platforms is not always sufficient.

What do I have to look out for when renting a vehicle?

If you regularly use rental vehicles, it is sensible to take out insurance for rented and shared vehicles. The deductible, the amount that you must pay out yourself following an accident, is usually very high for rental vehicles. Of course, you can reduce the deductible under your insurance policy with the rental car company or car sharing platforms. In many cases, this reduction will cost you more than the annual premium of our insurance for rented and shared vehicles. With our insurance, there is no deductible for you to pay.

What insurance cover can I get, if only drive rental cars now and again?

If you occasionally drive vehicles owned by others, then we recommend you take out personal liability insurance with additional cover for "driving third-party vehicles" "Occasional driving" could mean, for example, that you use the vehicle less than a certain number of days in a year. With us, that number is 26 days in a year. In addition, you should ask the car owner in advance whether the vehicle has comprehensive insurance cover. Read more in our blog post on third-party driver's insurance.

More articles

Young woman attaches surfboard to the roof of the car

Damaged a borrowed car – what now?

Damaging a borrowed car can be expensive. You can get insurance for it: with additional private liability insurance coverage for "Driving third-party motor vehicles."
Bike in motion

Mountain biking: play it safe!

Mountain biking makes you feel good! Yet this is a pastime that’s not entirely without risk. Daniel Schefer, founder of the Swiss Bike School, tells you how to play it safe.
Laughing woman

As a result, you enjoy all-round protection at home.

Household insurance covers household contents insurance and personal liability insurance and is the basic insurance for your home.
Child with a tablet

Safe online surfing and shopping

Quickly check the weather, order socks online or stream a movie – the internet makes our lives easier. But private individuals can also be hacked, defrauded during online shopping or robbed via the internet. Seven questions and answers on the subject “safe surfing and online shopping”.