Budget Truck Rental Review: Is Budget Really Saving Your Wallet?

If you’ve been considering Budget truck rental for your upcoming move then you’ll want to read our review of their pricing, liability coverage, and more. Find out if Budget is the right fit for you.

Overall rating

2.8 / 5

The short answer

Budget is the best option for you if…
  • You’re moving a household smaller than a 2–3 bedroom home
  • You can comfortably drive a large truck
  • You’re looking for an affordable option (discounts available)
  • You’re only traveling in the continental United States.
When it comes to pricing…
  • Mileage will be included with one-way rentals and you’ll pay per mile for local moves
  • Your final quote will look something like this: Truck and included mileage (for one-way rentals) + Add-ons (optional) + Liability coverage (if selected) + Taxes and fees + Gas.
  • You’ll pay a minimum deposit of $150
When it comes to insurance…
  • You can choose from three levels of coverage, depending on your needs.

The long answer

You may recognize Budget as the name of a car rental service, and that’s because they are both owned by the same parent company, Avis. One of Budget’s most appealing selling points is its affordability. Budget offers customer several opportunities for discount codes depending on their needs, hence the name Budget. These discount codes make Budget a competitive contender against U-Haul and Penske.  

To get a quote for the cost of a truck rental, customers can visit Budget’s website and receive an automatic quote without needing to call in. This is a highly convenient feature if you’re short on time or just doing preliminary comparisons between movers.

However, while their quote platform is easy to navigate and the process straightforward, the final price page would often show an error when we tried to update or change Budget’s automatically applied discount code in our quote. This is a technical issue that may be avoided by applying a relevant discount code before getting to the end of the quote.

There are three truck sizes for customers to choose from:

  • 12’ truck: 1–2 rooms or studio home  (seats two)
  • 16’ truck: 3–4 rooms or 1 bedroom home (seats three, towing capable, and comes with a loading ramp)
  • 24’ truck: 5-8 rooms or 2–3 bedroom home (seats three, towing capable, and comes with a loading ramp)

To rent any of these trucks you’ll need to be at least 18, but if you’re between the ages of 18–23 you’ll be required to provide two forms of ID when picking up your rental.

Like every moving truck company we’ve reviewed, Budget’s locations will differ in quality of service based on ownership and management since their locations are franchised. When selecting your pick-up and drop-off locations, be sure to look up individual reviews on Google or Facebook to get a better idea of quality and service times.

Budget Rental Truck availability

One of the perks of using Budget for your move is that they have locations all over the United States, with the exception of Hawaii and Alaska. Budget has over 1,700 locations nationwide, so it’s likely you’ll have a few options when looking for a dealer close to you.

But despite Budget’s broad availability, you should know that Budget’s trucks are prohibited from crossing through Canada and Mexico. If your move requires that you go through either of these countries, then Budget is not the best choice for your move.

With the exception of cargo vans and trucks with lift-gates, all of Budget’s trucks can be used for local or long-distance moves. Budget only allows you to use towing equipment for a one-way move if you rent a Budget truck. So if you’re planning on using your own vehicle to tow you won’t be able to use their equipment.

Move types

These are the types of moves Budget offers:
  • Local: Your move is considered local as long as you are planning to return your rental truck to the same location you picked it up from.
  • Long distance: Budget refers to long-distance moves as one-way moves. However, you don’t have to travel very far. As long as you return your rental truck to a different Budget location than from where you picked it up, Budget will consider it a one-way rental.
  • Business moves: If you’re moving offices or relocating your small business, then Budget offers special prices for your move.

Budget Rental Truck pricing

Budget’s pricing system is very similar to those of other rental truck competitors. And although it’s not revolutionary, Budget’s pricing stood out to us because of its discounts. The following is a list of the types of discounts Budget offers customers:

  • Military personnel
  • Police, fire, and EMT
  • Students
  • AARP Members
  • Motor Club
  • Bar Association

To receive the best possible pricing for your truck rental, Budget recommends booking a truck between Sunday and Thursday. Since most people move on the weekend, it makes sense that Budget’s rates are better on these days.

Budget uses an online quote generator similar to U-Haul and Penske’s so you can get an automatic quote, which is highly convenient. These are the factors Budget considers when creating your quote:

  • Truck cost per day
  • One-way move vs local move
  • Mileage
  • Any add-ons (boxes, dollies, or furniture pads)
  • Liability coverage
  • Taxes and fees
  • Applicable discount codes

Ultimately the formula for your rental total will look something like this:

  • Local move total = Truck + Miles + Add ons (optional) + Liability coverage (if selected)  + Taxes and fees + Gas.
  • One-way move total = Truck and included mileage + Add ons (optional) + Liability coverage (if selected) + Taxes and fees + Gas.

When placing your order online, Budget will ask for your credit card. You won’t be charged anything for your reservation until you pick up your truck. Budget will charge a deposit to the card they have on file only after you show up to pick-up your rental.
The deposit is $150 for one-way rentals and the greater of $150 or 1.5 times the cost of your total. Plan for this when budgeting for your rental, since the $150 won’t be refunded until a few days or weeks after you complete your move.
If for any reason you choose to cancel your moving truck rental, be sure to do it more than 48 hours in advance. Otherwise you’ll be hit with a $50 cancellation fee. While this seems fair, many customers have run into problems when cancelling a rental due to low inventory (despite it being a Budget problem). More on this below.

Budget Rental Truck’s customer service

Here are some issues you should know about before booking with Budget:

  • Reservations aren’t really reservations. When you book your truck online (or over the phone) you’re only guaranteeing the cost of the rental—not pick-up or drop-off location, time, or truck size—even though you’ve listed your preferences when booking your truck. The key word here is preference. So if Budget’s inventory is running low on the day of your move then you may have to change truck size or go to a different location.

On average, Budget does its best to meet your schedule and preferences, but you may still be affected if there are delayed returns by other customers. This is rightfully frustrating because most moves don’t offer much flexibility (not to mention the stress of having to make last-minute changes).

  • The $50 cancellation fee applies even if you cancel because of Budget’s fault. We know this isn’t the standard for Budget customers, but enough complaints have been voiced online to warrant us mentioning it. If you arrive to pick up your rental and no truck is available at your preferred location or time, then Budget will try to make arrangements for a different truck or location. If the substitution does not work for you then chances are you’ll try to find an alternative to Budget. If you do this and cancel your reservation, then Budget will still charge you a $50 cancellation fee for not canceling your rental 48 hours in advance.
  • Delay in returning the $150 deposit. To be fair, this is not a Budget issue as much as it is a timing one. When you return your rental truck, your card is charged the total of your rental in addition to the $150+ deposit you paid upon pick-up. Sometimes it can take anywhere between a week or two to receive a refund on the deposit (depending on your bank), so we recommend using a credit card for your rental to avoid any overdraft fees.
  • If you’re between the ages of 18–23 expect to pay more. Again, this isn’t an issue of service, but if you’re within this age range then be aware that you’ll be charged an additional $25 a day for your rental. This can really add up if you’re using your rental truck for several days. Budget is the only rental truck service that charges extra for young drivers, so we recommend comparing prices if you foresee this being an issue.

Liability coverage

Budget offers three types of protection plans for customers, each with different levels of coverage.

Value ProtectionChoice ProtectionComplete Protection
Roadside safety net
Physical damage waiver
Supplemental liability
Personal accident and cargo coverage
Roadside safety net
Physical damage waiver
Supplemental liability
Personal accident and cargo coverage
Value Protection Choice Protection Complete Protection

Physical damage waiver: This waiver protects you from having any liability for damage caused to the truck—with the exception of overhead damage due to collision.

Supplemental liability:  This is an actual insurance policy Budget provides through ACE American Insurance Company that protects you from third-party claims if you are at fault for an accident.

Personal accident and cargo coverage: This type of coverage provides you with protection for yourself and/or your passengers in case you’re physically injured in an accident. It also protects your belongings up to a limit of $25,000 for a one-way rental and $12,500 for local rentals.

Roadside safety net: This is similar to roadside assistance (which is included with all rentals regardless of coverage choice). The key difference is that roadside safety net covers truck issues due to your own neglect: losing the keys or locking your keys in the truck, tire damage due to hitting a curb, rim replacement, jump start services, and fuel assistance should you run out of gas.

The variety of coverage offered by the Value, Choice, and Complete plans is something we really loved. It gives the customer the ability to customize their rental based on their needs. For example, if you’re only moving five miles away from your current home then you may feel your accident risk is lower and choose to go with the Value protection plan over the Complete protection plan.

Obviously, the more protection you select, the more expensive it gets.  But ultimately you’re the one who knows what’s best for your move, and Budget’s coverage options let you choose what works for your move and your budget.

Claims process

Budget’s claim process will differ depending on the cause of your claim, but to get the process started you’ll need to call Budget’s claim office. You can also write to Budget’s claim department, but snail mail isn’t as quick or easy as a phone call. Budget’s claim process would be improved if there was an online submission platform.

Once you’ve reached out to Budget for your claim, you’ll be required to fill out an accident/incident report for Budget’s records. The form for this is difficult to find on Budget’s website, and it’s likely emailed to you once you open a claim, but otherwise, you can find it here.

If you’re filing a claim due to an accident on the road, Budget recommends treating it like you would any accident. Call 911, file an accident report, reach out for roadside assistance if necessary, and file a claim with both Budget and your own insurance. We aren’t sure why Budget recommends filing a claim with your own car insurance since most auto policies don’t cover truck rentals, but we’ll leave it to your discretion to decide on whether to do this.

Furthermore, you’ll be charged a “loss of use and an administrative fee” when you file a claim for damage to the rental truck. While the loss of use fee may only apply if you’re at fault for the damage, the administrative fee applies for all claims, regardless of the cause.

Additional services offered Budget Rental Truck

Budget offers customers more than just truck rental services. Here are a few additional options to consider:

  • Storage through a partnership with Extra Space Storage®
  • Moving staffers for loading and unloading
  • Towing equipment for their vehicles
  • Moving supplies
  • Car and motorcycle shipping through DAS

The bottom line

Overall, Budget is an excellent choice if you’re looking to save money, even best if you’re doing a smaller move. Because their biggest truck is estimated to hold a 2–3 bedroom home, Budget may not be the best service if you’re planning to move a household bigger than this. If Budget is right for your family, then we highly recommend going with a liability coverage plan, since Budget has some great customized options.

If you’ve used Budget before what was your experience? Share with our readers in the comments below!

Doride Uvaldo-Nelson

Doridé Uvaldo-Nelson is an Arizonan writing and living out of Utah. She’s moved over ten times in the span of five years and learned something new every time. Check out her local guides on Salt Lake City living on move.org.