What You Should Know Before Renting a U-Haul

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 getting a U-Haul rental.

So read on, and become an expert in what to 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

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 rent a U-Haul, but the company does have some minimum requirements:

  • You must be 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.
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MEANINGFUL ASSURANCE

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?

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?

U-Haul costs $70–$90 per day for local moves and about twice as much per day for long-distance moves of 1,000 miles (not including taxes, fees, and insurance).

U-Haul truck rates per day

10 ft. truck15 ft. truck17 ft. truck20 ft. truck26 ft. truck
Local move (50 miles)$70$80$80$90$90
Long-distance move (1,000 miles)$135$142Not available $178$178
Local move (50 miles)
Long-distance move (1,000 miles)
10 ft. truck 15 ft. truck 17 ft. truck 20 ft. truck 26 ft. truck
$70 $80 $80 $90 $90
$135 $142 Not available $178 $178

Data current as of 4/22/20. 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 can add up over longer distances.

How much is U-Haul per mile?

U-Haul costs approximately $1.65 per mile for local moves of 50 miles and about $0.80 per mile for a long-distance move of 1,000 miles.

Heads up exclamation

U-HAUL CANCELLATION POLICY

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’s late fees

U-Haul isn’t entirely straightforward about its late fees. The company says it doesn’t have any late fees for truck rentals—but it will charge you for returning the truck late.

How much? An entire day’s rental.

So if you agreed to return your $40 truck by 10 a.m. on Thursday, you’re technically responsible for 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

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.

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 storesIndependent dealers
Monday–Thursday7 a.m.–7 p.m.Varies
Friday7 a.m.–8 p.m.Varies
Saturday7 a.m.–7 p.m.Varies
Sunday9 a.m.–5 p.m.Varies
Monday–Thursday
Friday
Saturday
Sunday
Company stores Independent dealers
7 a.m.–7 p.m. Varies
7 a.m.–8 p.m. Varies
7 a.m.–7 p.m. Varies
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.

Megaphone

A REAL GUARANTEED RESERVATION

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.

What U-Haul lacks in the number of services offered, it makes up for in low prices for loading and unloading. At $44 per hour, U-Haul Moving Help is about $20 per hour cheaper than the average price of our best moving labor companies.

The cost advantage drops quite a bit when compared to TaskRabbit (our pick for the cheapest moving labor company).

U-Haul Moving Help vs. TaskRabbit hourly prices

U-Haul Moving HelpTaskRabbit
Loading and unloading$44$45
Moving (truck included)Not offered$49
Donation pickup and deliveryNot offered$36
Packing and unpacking$48$37
Loading and unloading
Moving (truck included)
Donation pickup and delivery
Packing and unpacking
U-Haul Moving Help TaskRabbit
$44 $45
Not offered $49
Not offered $36
$48 $37

Data current as of 1/24/20. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

But if you appreciate saving a dollar and don’t want to bother getting help through another company, you can’t beat U-Haul Moving Help for loading and unloading services.

Bullhorn

NEED NEW FURNITURE DELIVERED?

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
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THE BEST MOVING CONTAINER COMPANIES

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.

About Kurt Manwaring

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, Country Living, Good Housekeeping, Heavy, Slate, and Yahoo! Lifestyle. He would love to hear about your moving experiences and questions at kurt@move.org.