When was the last time you saw a rental truck?
Chances are it wasn’t too long ago. With so many rental trucks on the road, and all the rumors about it being the cheapest option for long-distance moving, it’s only natural that you would consider renting one for your upcoming move. But, before you start looking at rental trucks, there are some things you may want to consider. And since almost everyone knows someone who’s rented a U-Haul truck, let's start with some important things you should know before renting a U-Haul.
Thinking About Renting a Truck from U-Haul? Here are Some Things You should know.
Your Move isn't Necessarily Guaranteed When You Make a Reservation
U-Haul does guarantee your reservation, but not until later. And by later, I mean the day before you pick up the truck. At that time, a U-Haul representative from your preferred pickup location will contact you to verify the equipment size, location, and pickup time. Once you both agree, the reservation is considered “guaranteed.” If they can’t get in touch with you, the reservation isn’t considered guaranteed.
Before it's Guaranteed, the Truck You Reserve isn't Always the Truck You Get
When U-Haul calls you the day before you move, they’ll let you know if they need to make changes to your reservation. For example, if the location where you prefer to pick up doesn’t have the truck size you need, U-Haul can give you a truck that’s the same size or bigger than the one you reserved. If it's bigger, you could be looking at higher fuel prices. And what happens if they call the day before you're planning to move and advise that the size truck you need (or a larger one) isn't available? That’s a great question.
Here’s another great question: What if you speak with a U-Haul representative the day before your move, verify equipment size, location and pick-up time, but on the day of your move they fail to follow through? According to the U-Haul website, you’re eligible for $50 compensation. Normally they'll do their best to locate a truck at another location, but that could mean driving out of your way to pick it up. Bummer.
Here’s the deal – whether compensated or not, rearranging your moving plans because the truck you need isn’t available can be a BIG inconvenience and frustration.
You Could Pay a Pretty Penny at the Pump
Let’s be frank – U-Haul trucks don’t get great gas mileage. The smallest truck gets 12 MPG and the largest gets only 9. Combine that with a cross-country move and you’re in for an expensive ride. If you’re curious how much gas would cost in a rental truck, type your origin and destination into this rental truck fuel calculator and hit “Calculate.” Or, take a look at this example move from New York to Dallas in this post all about U-Haul truck gas mileage.
There are Specific Licensing Requirements for Renting a U-Haul Truck
U-Haul requires its customers to be at least 18 years old and have a valid driver’s license to rent a truck. So, even if your licensed 16- or 17-year-old child is able to drive, they can’t help take on the work of driving the rental truck. Something to think about if your family is making a long-distance move and you are the only one who can drive the truck.
U-Haul Trucks Aren't Designed to Carry More than Three Passengers
In fact, the smallest truck only seats two adults. This may not be ideal if you have a large family and plan to tow your car.
Another thing to think about is safety. Did you know that not all U-Haul trucks have passenger’s side airbags? According to Safercar.gov, frontal air bags have saved 25,782 lives between 1987 and 2008.
U-Haul trucks don’t have back seats and most don’t satisfy local requirements for child safety seats, either. That’s important to note if you’re traveling with young children. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends keeping children in the back seat at least through age 12. If your move will take you through several states along the way, check out this list of child passenger safety laws by state – they’ll apply to rental trucks, too.
And lastly, don’t forget seat belt safety! According to the National Safety Council, seat belts are credited with saving more than 75,000 lives from 2004 to 2008. When it comes to seat belts in U-Haul trucks, most are equipped with three; However, the middle seat is a lap belt, not a shoulder belt.
U-Haul is a Franchise
When you move one-way with U-Haul, you’ll interact with the managers or employees at the pickup location and the drop-off location. Since U-Haul is a franchise, you may or may not get the same level of customer service at each location.
U-Haul Trucks are Used Often
So before you drive away with the truck, make sure it’s in good working order. Check out this story from USA Today about a woman who packed her stuff into a U-Haul truck, and when she turned it on, the “check engine light” came on. Just 40 miles outside of her destination, the truck went up in flames and she lost everything. If something doesn’t feel right, ask for a different truck. And always be prepared in case of an emergency.
What else is there to know about U-Haul?
What better way to learn more about U-Haul than to hear it straight from their customers? The Better Business Bureau, epinions.com, and even U-Haul’s Facebook page can help you learn what real customers are saying about their experience.
Oh, and there’s one last thing you should know – but it’s not about U-Haul. It’s about U-Pack®, an affordable alternative to U-Haul. With U-Pack, you do the loading/unloading, but you don’t have to drive a rental truck. And that’s not even the best part. U-Pack prices are often comparable to renting a truck and driving it yourself. If you’re thinking about U-Haul truck rental, go ahead and get a quote from U-Pack to compare prices. Just call 800-413-4799 or get a free quote online.