Home / Categories / Truck Rental / 7 Things You Should Know about U-Haul® before Renting a Truck

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

April 11th, 2018 - 3:50 PM

If you’re thinking about U-Haul® truck rental, read this first

As a completely do-it-yourself option, you may assume that U-Haul prices are the most affordable when compared to other types of moving services. And since there’s likely a truck rental lot in your city, it could also seem like the most readily available option. While that may be the case for local moves, when it comes traveling long distance, rental trucks aren’t always the best fit. Here are some things to consider:   

U-Haul truck rental

Things to know before you rent a U-Haul

1. U-Haul reservations are guaranteed, with some conditions

It doesn’t matter how early you submit a reservation; it isn’t guaranteed until the day before you’re scheduled to pick up the truck. At that time, a representative will contact you to verify equipment, location, date and pick-up time. Once you both agree to the details of the move over the phone, your reservation is considered “guaranteed.”

If the truck size you requested isn’t available, they may offer a larger truck or have you get the truck from another location. According to uhaul.com, if you verify the details of the move with a representative the day before, but they are unable to fulfill your request on moving day, you’re eligible for $50 compensation.

2. U-Haul pricing doesn’t include one big thing: fuel

On top of the truck rental rate, you can add extras like damage protection, moving supplies and moving labor to your U-Haul price online. One expense that isn’t included, but that can have a big impact on a long-distance move, is fuel. The smallest U-Haul truck gets around 12 mpg and the largest gets about 9. So depending on the size of your move and the number of miles between origin and destination, it could get costly.  

If you’re curious how much it would cost to fuel a U-Haul, this rental truck fuel calculator can help. It takes your origin and destination, average rental truck fuel efficiency and current fuel costs to estimate your U-Haul truck gas mileage.

3. A one-way move includes a set number of days and miles

For a long-distance move where you pick up the truck at one location and return it to another, U-Haul gives a set number of days and miles for the rental, based on where you’re moving to and from. (For local rentals, there’s a per-mile fee). Though unlimited miles are not an option, extra days and miles are available to purchase in advance — the additional charge is $40 per day for trucks, $20 per day for trailers and towing devices, and $0.40 per additional mile.

4. U-Haul trucks can hold a maximum of 3 passengers

“How many people fit in a rental truck?” is a popular question in online moving forums. If you’re traveling with a large family, it may matter that U-Haul trucks don’t have back seats. The National Highway Traffic Safety Administration recommends keeping children in the back seat at least through age 12, so U-Haul truck rentals may not be the best option for families with small children or car seats unless you plan on driving your personal car and the rental truck. While many of the larger trucks can accommodate up to three passengers (with the middle seat only having a lap seatbelt), the 10-foot truck can only hold two people.

5. Equipment gets driven frequently

Because rental trucks are driven constantly, it’s very important to make sure they’re in good working order before hitting the road. This list can help you perform an inspection. Prepare for the trip by having a Plan B if something does go wrong. Any time you’re traveling long distance, it’s wise to keep your cell phone fully charged, know what you’ll do in case of a breakdown and have safety precautions in place. Consider searching online for “U-Haul breakdowns” to see how other people dealt with issues while moving.

6. Locations can be franchises

For a one-way U-Haul truck rental, you’ll interact with people at multiple rental centers. Many locations are franchises, which means even if you call the national corporate hotline to get a quote, make a reservation or ask questions, the individual businesses handle the move. Policies and procedures could vary — so double check details like operating hours and acceptable forms of payment.    

7. U-Haul inventory can vary​

Each location has different inventory available at any point in time, so they can only offer what’s on site. Even if they’re fully stocked, not all equipment is offered for every type of move. For example, the 24’ truck, cargo van and pick-up trucks are only for local moves. Trailers and towing equipment can be rented for any move, you would just need to find a location with the specific equipment you want

What else do you need to know before getting a U-Haul rental?

As with most products and services, customer reviews offer a great picture of what to expect. Check the Better Business Bureau®, Yelp® and social media sites like Facebook® to hear from actual customers.

Looking for U-Haul alternatives? U-Pack® is a “you pack, we drive” service — so we bring the equipment to you, you pack and load, and then we deliver it to your new home. Get a free moving quote to compare — U-Pack prices include fuel, taxes and the driver!

Learn even more about U-Haul truck rental:

Frequently Asked Questions about U-Haul Truck Rental

What Do I Need to Rent a U-Haul

How much does it cost to rent a moving truck one-way?

Moving Trucks FAQs

Cheapest One-Way Moving Truck Rental


*This blog was originally posted on 9/18/2013. It has been updated with current information.

U-Haul® is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc.  Use of third-party trademarks or registered trademarks does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by such third-party.