What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul

Kurt Manwaring
May 20, 2024
Icon Time To Read7 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.

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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.
Badge Definition
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
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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)






Long-distance move (1,000 miles)



Not available



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. 

Heads Up
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.

Price Tag
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.

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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


7 a.m.–7 p.m.



7 a.m.–8 p.m.



7 a.m.–7 p.m.



9 a.m.–5 p.m.


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.

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

Loading and unloading



Moving (truck included)

Not offered


Donation pickup and delivery

Not offered


Packing and unpacking



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.

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
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.


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.

Kurt Manwaring
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.