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

August 8th, 2016 - 3:10 PM

Considering U-Haul trucks for your move?

If you’re traveling across the country, chances are you’ll see plenty of rental trucks along the way. If you’re planning a move, you might be considering a DIY option to keep costs low. While truck rental services like U-Haul® may seem to be the cheapest way to move your belongings, there are some important things to consider before making a reservation.  

Things to know about U-Haul truck rentals 

1. Reservations are guaranteed, with some conditions

Regardless of when you submit a reservation, it’s not 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.”

2. You may not get the truck you reserve

If they don’t have the requested truck size, you may have to arrange for pick up at a different location, or they may offer a larger truck (which may not seem that big of a deal until it comes time to pay for fuel).

According to uhaul.com, if you verify the details with a representative the day before your move, but they’re unable to fulfill them on the day of your move, you’re eligible for $50 compensation.  

3. Rental trucks don’t get awesome 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 since you’ll have to pay for fuel. 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

uhaul rental

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 most 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.

You may also want to consider that while some U-Haul trucks are equipped with frontal airbags on the passenger side, not all are. According to safecar.gov, frontal air bags saved 25,782 lives between 1987 and 2008.

5. 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. If you call the national hotline or reserve online, once you submit the reservation, it is handed off to the rental location for handling. At the various locations, you may encounter different hours, procedures and policies at the different locations, so make sure you’re aware of the specifics before booking.

6. Equipment is used often

Because U-Haul trucks travel cross country frequently, they’ll often have lots (and lots) of miles on them. Considering this, it’s important to make sure the truck is in good working order before hitting the road. A quick Google search of “U-Haul breakdowns” comes back with several stories from people who experienced a breakdown or other issue while moving. Prepare for your trip by checking the truck ahead of time and having a plan B if something does go wrong.

7. U-Haul rates don’t include unlimited miles

For long distance moves, when you rent a truck, you’ll get an estimate of your U-Haul price and a summary of your rental. That summary includes a certain number of days and miles included. They determine these details based on where you’re moving to/from. If you happen to need additional days or additional miles, those come at an extra cost.

What else is there to know before renting a U-Haul?

As with most products and services, the best way to learn more about U-Haul is to read consumer reviews. The Better Business Bureau, Yelp and social media websites such as Facebook and Twitter are great places 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?

U-Haul Truck Sizes

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

Moving Trucks FAQs

*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.