What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (2024)

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By Kurt Manwaring

May 20, 2024

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (9)7 min read

At a glance

There isn’t a What to Know Before Renting a U-Haul manual, but there should be. Chances are you’ll need to use the company’s moving services at some point, and Move.org is here to help you get the biggest bang for your buck by breaking down costs, policies, and more.

We even reveal some of our best tips for booking a U-Haul.

So read on, and become an expert in what you should know before renting a U-Haul:

  1. How does U-Haul work?
  2. How much does U-Haul cost?
  3. What time does U-Haul open?
  4. What is U-Haul’s reservation guarantee?
  5. Does U-Haul offer moving labor services?
  6. What other services does U-Haul offer?
  7. What are some tips for moving with U-Haul?
  8. Recommended resources

Need more of the 411 on U-Haul? We've got a full review, and even a comparison against some of their competitors.

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (10)

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How does U-Haul work?

The concept behind U-Haul is simple: the company takes your money in exchange for letting you borrow one of its trucks to move your stuff.

What are the requirements to rent a U-Haul?

You don’t need an accident-free driving record to book a U-Haul, but the company does have some minimum requirements:

  • Wondering if you can rent a U-Haul at 18? The answer is yes! The minimum age to book a U-Haul is 18 years old.
  • You must have a valid driver’s license.
  • You must provide two forms of meaningful assurance that your rented equipment will be returned on time and in good condition.

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (13)

Meaningful assurance

U-Haul’s meaningful assurance requirements are for verifying your identity. Acceptable forms of assurance include your phone number, residential lease agreement, and employment verification.

Can my friend drive the U-Haul truck?

If you’re traveling with a friend or family member, you can take turns driving as long as everyone has a driver’s license. Just be aware that in the event of an accident, whoever signed the rental contract is responsible for the damage.

So choose your friends wisely.

How do I make a U-Haul reservation online?

You’re never more than a few clicks away from making a U-Haul reservation online. While you can make a reservation on the phone or in person, online reservations take less than two minutes if you know some basic information:

  • Pickup date, time, and location
  • Drop-off date, time and location
  • Moving truck size

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (14)

Need moving supplies?

We break down what you need to pack, load, and haul your stuff—and how to get it. Read our moving supplies guide to learn more.

Do I need a credit card to rent U-Haul equipment?

Yes and no. You need a credit card or debit card to make an online reservation, but you can pay for your rental with cash when you pick up your truck. U-Haul accepts all major credit cards:

  • American Express
  • Discover
  • Mastercard
  • Visa

How far can I move with U-Haul?

U-Haul offers both local moving services as well as one-way rentals for long-distance moves.

The main difference between the two is where you pick up and return the rental trucks. You return the truck to the same location for local moves, but drop it off at a different location for long-distance moves.

We get into the price differences between local and one-way rentals below.

How much does U-Haul cost per day?

U-Haul costs $90–$110 per day for local moves and more than three times as much per day for long-distance moves of at least 1,000 miles (not including taxes, fees, and insurance).

U-Haul truck rates per day

10 ft. truck

15 ft. truck

17 ft. truck

20 ft. truck

26 ft. truck

Local move (50 miles)

$90

$100

$110

$110

$110

Long-distance move (1,000 miles)

$495

$520

Not available

$780

$1040

Data current as of 12/22/22. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Because U-Haul has so many trucks across thousands of locations, its prices are low and rarely change. But you should be aware your U-Haul quote doesn’t include travel expenses like gas, food, and lodging. That’s not a big deal for local moves, but the costs to rent a U Haul per day can add up over longer distances

How much is U-Haul per mile?

U-Haul costs approximately $1.39 per mile for local moves of 50 miles and about $0.80 per mile for a long-distance move of 1,000 miles. Curious if U-Haul charges by hour? The company charges a flat fee per truck so you won’t be able to save by renting for a couple of hours versus the whole day.

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (15)

U-Haul cancellation policy

U-Haul requests you cancel your reservation 24 hours in advance, but there are no fees if you have to bail at the last minute.

U-Haul late fees

U-Haul charges a $40 late fee for each extra day you keep your rental truck. It also charges $20 per day for trailers and towing devices.

So, if you agreed to return your $40 truck by 10 a.m. on Thursday, you’re technically responsible for the U-Haul late fee, which would be another $40 at 10:01 a.m.

Be sure to ask about a grace period if you’re late. Many U-Haul locations give a small (but unspecified) amount of wiggle room to account for things like bad traffic and long lines.

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (16)

Pay by the hour

Home Depot Truck Rental offers trucks by the hour, which can be an affordable alternative to U-Haul if you don’t need a full day to move. Learn more in our Home Depot Truck Rental Review.

Want a full-service mover?

Company

Company type

Move.org rating

Packing & loading services

Pricing

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International Van LinesProfessional mover

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (18)

4.8

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (19)Yes

$$$

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (20)10% Move.org discount, military personnel, seniors

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American Van LinesProfessional mover

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4.5

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (23)Yes

$$$

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (24)None

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North American Van LinesProfessional mover

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (26)

4.8

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (27)Yes

$$$

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (28)Seniors

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PODSMoving container company

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4.6

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (31)No

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What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (32)25% Move.org discount, military personnel

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1-800-PACK-RATMoving container company

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (34)

4.5

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (35)No

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What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (36)Move.org readers, military personnel

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What time does U-Haul open?

With more than 20,000 locations, U-Haul is the nation’s largest truck rental company. Hours of operation vary depending on whether you are going to a company store or an independent dealer who operates a second business like a hardware store or auto repair shop at the same location.

Company stores are open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., but you’ll want to check with independent dealers for their hours of operation.

U-Haul hours of operation1

Company stores

Independent dealers

Monday–Thursday

7 a.m.–7 p.m.

Varies

Friday

7 a.m.–8 p.m.

Varies

Saturday

7 a.m.–7 p.m.

Varies

Sunday

9 a.m.–5 p.m.

Varies

What is U-Haul’s reservation guarantee?

U-Haul advertises a reservation guarantee, but it’s not quite what it sounds like. Rather than guarantee your truck, U-Haul will give you $50 if it isn’t ready or available on moving day.

U-Haul reserves the right to both give you a different truck than you requested and require you to pick it up at a different location than you planned on. The reservation guarantee is essentially a $50 check to ease your pain should things go wrong.

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (37)

A real guaranteed reservation

If you don’t want to take a risk with U-Haul, consider using Penske Truck Rental—it has legitimate reservation guarantees. Learn more in our Penske Review.

Does U-Haul offer moving labor services?

Many companies offer hourly labor services to help you with portions of your move like packing and unpacking or loading and unloading your rental truck. U-Haul Moving Help® doesn’t offer enough services for us to consider it a true moving labor company, but it does shine in one area.

Another thing we should mention is that U-Haul's pricing has increased considerably over the years. At $186 for three hours, U-Haul Moving Help is less expensive than the average price of our best moving labor companies

The costs are also significantly higher when compared to TaskRabbit (our pick for the cheapest moving labor company).

U-Haul Moving Help vs. TaskRabbit hourly prices

U-Haul Moving Help

TaskRabbit

Loading and unloading

$62

$40

Moving (truck included)

Not offered

$49

Donation pickup and delivery

Not offered

$36

Packing and unpacking

$160

$37

Data current as of post date. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

Silver lining: U-Haul's hourly rate covers the cost of atleast 2 people, not just one. And TaskRabbit's pricing can change from Tasker to Tasker, as they say on their website. But if you don’t want to get help through another company (or you simply can't find it), you can’t beat U-Haul Moving Help for loading and unloading services.

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (38)

Need new furniture delivered?

Dolly.com is our pick for the best retail delivery service. No other moving labor company has as many retail partners or prices as low. Learn more in our Dolly.com Review.

What other services does U-Haul offer?

In addition to moving truck rentals and hourly labor, U-Haul also provides several transportation and storage services:

  • Moving supplies
  • Propane and accessories
  • Self-storage units
  • Towing equipment
  • U-Box moving containers
  • U-Haul trailer rentals

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (39)

The best moving container companies

U-Haul isn’t the cheapest moving container company we’ve found (that honor goes to SMARTBOX), but it is the most widely available. See why else it’s worth considering in our review of the best moving container companies.

What are some tips for moving with U-Haul?

Getting the most out of your move with U-Haul is about more than knowing how much it costs to rent a truck.

It’s also about applying the tricks of the trade that can save you time and money.

Talk to a human

U-Haul has an online chat feature with real humans (no bots), but you can find it in one of only two ways:

  1. Click on “Get rates” from the company’s main page.
  2. Click on “Chat live with a moving expert” via U-Haul’s Frequently Asked Questions page.

Utilize this feature to get questions answered without having to commit to a U-Haul truck rental or spend forever waiting in a phone queue.

Schedule early in the morning

We recommend that you schedule your U-Haul truck for early morning pickup. It doesn’t increase your chances of getting the truck you want, but it does give you some wiggle room to go to plan B in case your truck isn’t available.

Use a moving container as portable storage

Moving containers are worth considering as an alternative to rental trucks if you’re traveling across the country or just don’t like to drive.

When you arrive at your new home, you can actually keep your moving pods in your driveway or parking spot and use them as portable storage. Of course, if you prefer traditional storage units, we have a list of the best self-storage companies.

Read the fine print

Every move is different. Be sure to double-check your U-Haul rental details to avoid misunderstandings like those we pointed out earlier:

  • U-Haul doesn’t have late fees, but it will charge you for being late.
  • U-Haul has a reservation guarantee but doesn’t guarantee your truck is reserved.

Methodology

We conducted intensive research to identify the best moving companies for long-distance moves and local moves, in addition to container moves, truck rentals, and hourly moving labor:

  • Compare pricing transparency. We gather quotes, check for binding estimates, and read customer reviews about pricing to ensure each moving company’s prices are trustworthy.
  • Review accreditation. We check every company’s records in the Federal Motor Carrier Safety Administration’s database to confirm companies are properly authorized to transport household goods.
  • Mystery shopping. We review every company’s website, pose as customers in calls to companies, and read customer reviews to analyze every company’s moving services, transit protection, and customer service. We also interview actual customers to learn how their moves went from start to finish.
  • Site visits. We invite moving companies to our headquarters in Salt Lake City, UT, to share data and expertise. We verify the information they provide by comparing it to data gathered through independent research and interviews with other movers.
  • Regular review. We routinely repeat this process to update our recommendations to reflect current data and trends. We also revise each review annually and make updates throughout the year.

Recommended resources

Still looking for options? Consider one of our best rental truck companies:

  • Budget Rental Truck Review
  • Enterprise Rental Truck Review
  • Home Depot Rental Truck Review
  • Penske Rental Truck Review

People also asked . . .

  • What Is the Cheapest Way to Move?
  • Can I Move During the COVID-19 Outbreak?
  • What Are the Best Moving Container Companies?
  • What Are the Best Car Shipping Companies?
  • What Are the Best Full-Service Moving Companies?

Sources

What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul | Move.org (40)

Written by

Kurt Manwaring

Kurt Manwaring brings nearly a decade’s worth of research experience as a business consultant to the Move.org team. He specializes in taking complicated issues (like moving) and presenting them in a way that everyone can understand. His writing has been featured in hundreds of publications, including USA Today, Martha Stewart Living, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Heavy, Slate, and Yahoo! Lifestyle. He brings a BS in sociology and an MPA (masters of public administration) to the Move team. He would love to hear about your moving experiences and questions at kurt@move.org.

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FAQs

How much does U-Haul hold on a credit card? ›

Whether you pay a deposit depends on your method of payment. No deposit is required if you're paying by major credit card. If you're paying with cash, the following is due when you pick up your equipment: In-Town truck - $100 or estimated rental charges (whichever is greater)

What should I pack for U-Haul first? ›

Load heaviest items like your washer and dryer into the truck first. Fill gaps using furniture pads and/or smaller items to minimize shifting.

How much does U-Haul cost per mile locally? ›

But in general, average mileage fees are between $.59 and $.99 per mile driven. If additional miles/days are needed, we offer special rates on cargo van and pickup truck rentals. Be sure to choose the right size truck for your in-town rental.

What is the live verification process for U-Haul? ›

Your truck will be ready an hour before your pick up time. Complete the online Live Verification Approval process. This will include taking photos of your drivers license and adding some additional contact information.

Why did U-Haul charge me so much? ›

a result of: Mileage fees, as much as 89 cents a mile in some cities. Damage protection, typically $10 or more (and most credit cards do not offer rental truck protection). Environmental fees.

Does U-Haul only accept credit cards? ›

A major credit card or debit card with a major credit card logo is required at time of pick up for all Cargo Van and Pickup Truck rentals and will be authorized at that time. Can I use a debit card to reserve or rent U-Haul equipment? Yes, debit cards with a Visa or Mastercard logo can be used to rent U-Haul equipment.

Do movers load boxes or furniture first? ›

Load your heaviest items first. Whether you're a DIY or professional mover, this usually means furniture goes in before boxes, unless you have large, heavy boxed items such as a TV or a floor mirror. Place dressers, chairs, appliances, couches and other large items against the back wall.

Do you pack before movers come? ›

Start packing your belongings several weeks before the moving companies are set to arrive. You can start with items that you don't use on a regular basis, like things in storage or clothing that is currently out of season. As the big day gets closer, you can start packing things that you use on a more regular basis.

What room to pack first when moving? ›

We've listed the garage, guest room and basem*nt as our recommended first rooms to pack. You'll note we don't recommend leaving the kitchen until last, as it's quite a time consuming room with a mix of non essential and essential items.

How are U-Haul rates calculated? ›

In-Town move rates include a flat fee for the rental period, plus a per mile charge. One-way move rates are determined by a combination of truck size, point of origin, destination and the date of the move. The price includes an allowed mileage and a set number of days to complete your move.

Will a couch fit in a 10 foot U-Haul? ›

Space. Ten feet may not sound like a long enough truck to fit your whole life into, but you can fit much more than you think. If you have larger items to move, such as couches, mattresses or desks, along with your many boxes, there is plenty of room to do so.

What is the size of the smallest U-Haul truck? ›

The 10ft truck is our smallest box truck rental available for long distance One-Way moves and local In-Town moves. The 10ft moving truck can easily fit a king sized bed, frame, loveseat, two end tables, and a four piece dining room table with spare room for boxes filled with household items.

Does uhaul put a hold on your card? ›

Credit / Debit Card Hold Times

U-Haul places a hold on your account on all local moves. Once you return your equipment and we have an exact amount to charge your account we use the amount held to collect the total amount due.

Does uhaul have GPS tracking? ›

Although some independent U-Haul dealers ensure their trucks have GPS tracking, over 90% of truck rental companies do not equip their vehicles with GPS tracking devices. This makes it the responsibility of the renter to protect the U-Haul equipment. Here are some tips to help prevent U-Haul truck theft.

Does U-Haul have live chat? ›

How much is a hold on a credit card for a rental car? ›

Credit and Debit Card Rules

Generally, at the time of a U.S. corporate-operated location rental, we'll require a credit card hold of total estimated rental charges plus 25% or $200, whichever is greater.

How much is a credit card hold? ›

A credit card hold isn't a charge. It's a temporary hold or block on a certain amount of your credit limit. In some cases, the hold may be larger than the final transaction amount. But you'll only see the final transaction amount on your statement after the hold is removed.

How much do gas stations hold on credit card? ›

Gas stations may hold up to $175 on credit cards when customers pay for their fuel purchases at the pump. All the major credit card networks cap their hold amounts at $175, as Visa, Mastercard, Discover, and American Express raised their hold limits from $125 to $175 in 2022 to keep up with record-high U.S. gas prices.

Does U-Haul give you a certain amount of miles? ›

Each trip includes a mileage allotment with fees that are incurred if exceeded. In-town or local moves are priced based on a flat rate and mileage. You must consider both factors when choosing which size moving truck to rent.

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