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7 Things You Should Know about U-Haul® before Renting a Truck

June 9th, 2015 - 9:52 AM

Checking out U-Haul rental rates?

It’s summertime! If you’re traveling the interstate this time of year, chances are you’ll see plenty of rental trucks along the way. That’s because May through August is the most popular time to move. And, as you might guess, peak moving season typically means higher moving prices—which leads some frugal consumers down the DIY path. If that’s where you are now, and truck rental services like U-Haul® seem like the cheapest way to move your belongings across the country, there are some things to consider before reserving the rental truck

1.Reservations are guaranteed, with some stipulations

Regardless of when you submit your reservation, it isn’t guaranteed until the day before you’re scheduled to pick up the truck. At that time, a representative from your requested pick-up location will contact you to verify equipment, location, date and the pick-up time. Once you both agree, the reservation is then considered “guaranteed.” If the U-Haul representative is not able to get in contact with you, the reservation is not considered guaranteed.  

2.The truck you reserve may not be the truck you get

If the size U-Haul truck you request isn’t available for your move day, the representative will let you know when they call the day before your move. In some cases, they may recommend picking the truck up at an alternative location, or they may offer a truck that’s larger than the one you rented (which may not seem that big of a deal until it comes time to pay for fuel).

In addition, according to uhaul.com, if you verify the details with a U-Haul representative the day before your move, but on the day of your move they’re unable to fulfill your request, you’re eligible for $50 compensation.  

3.Rental trucks don’t get great gas mileage

The smallest rental truck gets about 12 MPG and the largest gets only about 9. Combine that with a cross-country move, and you may be in for an expensive ride. If you’re curious how much it would cost to fuel a U-Haul for your move, type your origin and destination into this rental truck fuel calculator and hit “Calculate.” It will give you a good idea of what to expect. Or, take a look at an example move is this blog post about U-Haul truck gas mileage.

4.There are specific requirements for operating a U-Haul truck

Though no special driver’s license is required, you do have to be at least 18 with a valid driver’s license to rent and operate a U-Haul truck. It’s also important to keep in mind that the person who signs the contract is fully responsible for the equipment.

5.The maximum a large U-Haul truck can hold is 3 passengers

This seems to be a popular question in moving forums. If you’re traveling with a large family (or small children), it may matter that U-Haul trucks do not have back seats. Most larger trucks can accommodate up to three passengers (with the middle seat having a lap seatbelt), and the 10-foot truck holds up to two. It’s important to note that the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends keeping children in the back seat at least through age 12. Since U-Haul trucks don’t have back seats, they’re not recommended for small children.

And, while we’re talking safety, you may also want to consider that though some U-Haul trucks are equipped with frontal airbags on the passenger side, not all are. According to safecar.gov, frontal air bags have saved 25,782 lives between 1987 and 2008.

U-Haul Truck

6.U-Haul locations are franchises

A one-way move with U-Haul means you’ll interact with managers or employees at both the pick-up location and drop-off location (once you submit the reservation, it is handed off to the rental location for handling).

7.U-Haul trucks are used often

Because these trucks travel cross country frequently, they’ll often have lots (and lots) of miles on them. Considering this, it’s important to make sure they’re in good working order before you hit the road. A quick Google search of “U-Haul breakdowns” comes back with several consumer experiences. There’s wisdom in being prepared, checking things out ahead of time, and having a plan if something does go wrong.

What else is there to know about U-Haul?

As with most products and services, the best way to learn more about what you can expect is to read consumer reviews. The Better Business Bureau, Yelp, and social media profiles (Facebook, Twitter, etc.) are a great place to start.  

More U-Haul® related resources

U-Pack vs. U-Haul

What is the largest U-Haul you can rent to move across country?

How fast can I drive a U-Haul truck?

What is the gas mileage of a U-Haul rental truck?

Why U-Haul won’t rent a trailer for a Ford Explorer

Moving Trucks FAQs

*This is a re-post, originally posted 9/18/2013