2024 U-Haul ® Truck Rental Review (2024)

My move with U-Haul®

Author: Francesca Di Meglio

Updated: Saturday, June 8th 2024

Table of Contents

  • How does U-Haul work?
  • How does U-Haul work with local moves?
  • How does U-Haul work with long-distance moves?
  • How much does U-Haul cost?
  • Downsides of using U-Haul
  • What I learned using U-Haul
  • Should you choose U-Haul over other truck rental companies?

How does U-Haul work?

U-Haul has the largest rental fleet in the DIY moving industry. In fact, U-Haul has more than 21,000 locations in the United States and Canada.

Go to U-Haul's website and you'll find it's simple enough to choose and complete a rental. You can find out about local vehicle availability and rates using a tool on the site, or by calling 1-800-GO-UHAUL. A representative can help you determine the size of the truck you will need for your move and discuss availability and scheduling with you.

Afterwards, you pick up the truck on pickup day, load it up, head to your destination, unload your stuff, and return the vehicle to the same U-Haul location (or a different one for a long-distance move). To avoid additional fees, you must complete the move within the agreed-upon timeframe. Also, don't forget to budget for gas, fees, and toll costs!

How does U-Haul work with local moves?

Local moves are simple with U-Haul. Actually, they are not much different from long-distance ones.

The one, main difference is that with a local move, you will pick up and drop off the truck in the same location. According to the U-Haul website (and the side of their trucks), truck rates begin as low as $19.95. If you need extended miles or more days, you can get the company's "best rate guarantee and special truck rental rates" on cargo vans and pickup trucks.

You should try and stick as closely as possible to the expected timeframe or risk getting charged additional fees.

U-Haul charges per mile you drive their vehicle, and this is where the majority of your expenditure will come from. Depending on where you live, the price fluctuates between $0.69/mile to $0.89/mile or greater. This, as well as other U-Haul fees, are in addition to that $19.99 rental fee.

You can also rent needed equipment from U-Haul, such as dollies, boxes, moving pads, and much more, although many of those necessary items come packaged in when you book time with a local mover.

When your truck rental is combined with the services of HireAHelper, you can easily execute a Hybrid™ Move, which costs a fraction of a Full Service move while still saving your back.

How does U-Haul work with long-distance moves?

The biggest difference between long-distance moves versus local ones is that you'll have to find U-Haul locations near both your original and final destination for pickup and drop off. U-Haul defines a long-distance move as dropping off the vehicle at a different location from where you got it. Yep, even if it was, say, one town over.

Because there are so many U-Haul locations, you should not have a problem finding places near both homes. However, you might have to go a bit out of your way in either direction, depending on location and availability, and you will have different rates on your rental, for better and worse.

Here's the process: You will determine the size truck and date of pickup. Then, you will pick up the vehicle, load it and bring it to your destination. In your estimate, you will have an expected timeframe for your move. You should try and stick as closely as possible to the expected timeframe or risk getting charged additional fees. Keep in mind moving out of state inevitably will cost more than a local move because of the greater distance.U-Haul defines a long-distance move as dropping off the vehicle at a different location from where you got it.

How much does U-Haul cost?

Prices vary based on equipment and distance of the move

For a local move

My local move was quite affordable. For a move from Fort Lee, New Jersey to Ridgefield Park, Jersey, which is just a couple of towns over from me, I rented a 26' truck for a 3 to 4 bedroom home for $180. In my case, there seemed to be a pick up available in Fort Lee. Plus a couple of fees, such as environmental fees, gas and mileage, the transportation portion of my local move was around $250.

For a long-distance move

I made a reservation for a 20' rental truck (which is used to move belongings from a 3-bedroom house), Safemove (the basic and most popular insurance option, which costs $102), and the rental of one each of basic moving equipment (utility dolly, appliance dolly, furniture dolly, and 1 dozen furniture pads) for a move from Fort Lee, New Jersey to Kissimmee, Florida. My quote was for $2,094.00 before taxes and gas.

U-Haul defines a long-distance move as dropping off the vehicle at a different location from where you got it.

How did that break down? U-Haul estimated the trip to last no more than 5 days or 1,302 miles. You will be charged around $.40 for each additional mile and $40 for each additional day. (Prices vary slightly by geographic location.) If you drive fewer miles than anticipated, you will get some money back. There is also a $5 environmental fee on all truck rentals. Be sure to sweep out the truck or risk having to pay a cleaning fee!

Miscellaneous costs and rebates

If you don't get your preferred pick-up location, U-Haul promises to give you $50 back. The same is true if it fails to make good on the size equipment or pick-up time you want.

Also, you can change the date of your move at any time and there is no penalty. You're better off making a reservation as soon as you find a price you like and then changing the date later if you need to. This locks in the rate, which is subject to change at any time, warned a customer service representative on the phone. One caveat to this policy is that if you cancel on the day of pick up, you are charged $50. You can change the date on the day of pick up without worry or fee. On the other hand, you can change the date of pickup on pickup day without worry.

While you might have to travel farther for pick up because truck rental is based on availability, you could order a truck in the morning and pick it up a little later in the day if you want to move on the spur of the moment or have a project to do that requires a truck. In my case, the equipment rental qualified me for one month of free storage at any U-Haul storage location, which could come in handy.

How does insurance with U-Haul work?

There are a multiple insurance options, and you get to pick yours when you pick up your truck.

Since most of you don't drive a truck of such heft everyday and you probably don't have a spare $40,000, I recommend getting some sort of insurance plan through U-Haul. You can choose any protection package and do NOT have to provide proof of insurance to rent most equipment. Here are your options:

  • Safemove

    Safemove is the basic plan, which is most popular with customers, according to their website. For a long-distance move, it cost me $102 and protected cargo, drivers, and passengers. For a local move, Safemove cost me $14.

    You will be free of responsibility for most accidental damage and harm to your goods from collision, fire, windstorm, and overturn of the rental truck. And there's no deductible on damage. It is subject to exclusions, however. When it comes to cargo, your coverage is for cash value and is also subject to exclusions, and there's a $100 deductible. You receive up to $25,000 of coverage on a one-way rental and up to $15,000 of coverage on an in-town rental.

    When it comes to the people inside the truck, you get up to $1,000 of coverage toward medical bills in case of an accident. And you are covered in the case of a fatality as well – up to $25,000 on lessee loss of life and up to $15,000 on passenger loss of life. It is subject to exclusions.

  • Safemove Plus

    Safemove Plus offers all the same coverage as the basic insurance with the addition of $1,000,000 in liability coverage. You also get exclusion-free coverage of any accidental damage. It isn't available everywhere (not at all in Canada, for instance), so ask about it if you're unsure. It cost me $179 for Safemove Plus for a long-distance move. The price is roughly $28 for a local move. Also, you will have to pay the deposit and rental by credit card if you choose this option, according to the website.

  • Collision Damage Waiver

    Collision Damage Waiver (CDW) is the only policy for in-town pickup trucks and vans. You are free of responsibility after the first $150 of damage. It's subject to exclusions and offers no increased premiums. If you refuse this option, you must show proof of insurance or you'll have to leave a higher rental deposit, according to the website.

  • No coverage

    No coverage is an option. But the company repeatedly warns online customers about the fact that most credit cards and auto insurance policies do not cover these rental trucks. And the truck I was renting had an approximate value of $45,000.

By the way, there are no trucks older than five years old, told me a customer service representative on the phone. An online rep wrote that U-Haul has the "newest fleet in the industry" but was unable to offer an actual age.

Downsides of using U-Haul

Don't be tricked into paying for services you don't need.

Once you settle on the size truck you want plus your preferred pick-up and drop-off, you will arrive at pages asking if you want additional services, such as packing supplies. Numbers automatically filled in the quantity box for each item. For example, there was a "12" already inserted under the "small moving box", and other quantities for all the rest.

If you didn't notice the inserted quantities and the "No, thank you…" link in small letters at the top of the page, then you might just order all those additional materials, which would have you spending $97.38 (before tax) more on your move! Frankly, you could get that packing tape at the local dollar store, and there are numerous ways to get your moving boxes, many of which don't require paying a cent.

What you might not realize is you really could use a ramp to load and unload items onto the truck, which is only provided with rentals larger than the $19.99 rentals.

U-Haul reps are pretty impersonable online.

Normally, online reps ask me if I have any further questions before they sign off and end the session. One person at U-Haul asked if I needed more help, but she and all the others ended the conversation before I was finished asking questions. When I was online, I ended up having to start five separate chat conversations to get my questions answered.

In addition, I was unimpressed with their knowledge of the company and services. Most of the time, they just copied and pasted the info I had already gleaned from the website. The reason I got in touch was because I wanted elaboration! Luckily, the phone reps were more helpful and knowledgeable.

What I learned using U-Haul Truck Rental

What you might not realize is you really could use a ramp to load and unload items onto the truck, which is only provided with rentals larger than the $19.99 rentals. This could be problematic for older people, the disabled, or anyone who has an injury. Keep that in mind. U-Haul does remind customers that its ramp is "low deck and wide stable," which means it could be less difficult to use than those of yesteryear.

How you order your truck is important. My advice is to order your rental online (for ease and convenience), but to ask questions to the customer service reps on the phone. I spoke with two of them, and they were friendlier, more accommodating, and more well-mannered than those online (which could just be a function of the method of communication).

You might have to go somewhere other than your preferred pick-up location to get your rental truck. It happened to me! This isn't usually a huge problem because you'll most likely be sent nearby. But, in my case, I had to go to Manhattan or the Bronx, both of which require crossing the George Washington Bridge (which often clogs with traffic and requires steep tolls). Ugh!

Be sure to factor in the costs of gas and tolls when determining your budget. You don't want any surprises.

Should you choose U-Haul over other moving options?

U-Haul is a great option for anyone who is looking to deal with an experienced company that has locations conveniently located just about everywhere. Of course, you have to be willing and able to drive the rental truck, which could very well be ginormous.

With the pickup and cargo van options, you can also opt for U-Haul if you are taking on a DIY renovation or home project. You can easily use the vehicle to transport supplies, such as lumber or appliances. Plus, if you need storage they offer U-Box at a couple thousand of their locations, but you ought to comparison shop first.

Keep in mind that driving such a big truck could be risky if you're not a confident driver. Also, there are some hidden or unexpected fees, so you have to be vigilant. As long as you are an educated consumer, U-Haul can be an affordable and decent option for completing your move.

2024 U-Haul ® Truck Rental Review (1)

Contributing Author: Francesca Di Meglio

Francesca Di Meglio is a writer, editor, and moving professional featured on Businessweek and About.com. As a wife and mother of two little ones, she is always on the move.

2024 U-Haul ® Truck Rental Review (2024)
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