2021 U-Haul Truck Rental Review

Bottom line: U-Haul rates are affordable for local moves—but the $19.95 rate you see advertised on its trucks rarely matches the final price.
Best Overall
uhaul
Our Rating
4.5 out of 5 stars
4.5
Julia Campbell
Researcher & Writer
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Published on April 30, 2021
12 min read

We all know about U-Haul. We’ve seen its white and orange trucks in passing and heard its name a time or two. There’s a reason it’s one of the best-known rental truck companies in America—it’s everywhere.

Along with nationwide availability, U-Haul offers one of the largest truck and trailer rental selections on the market. Plus, U-Haul costs are affordable if professional movers and moving containers are out of your budget.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Lots of locations
Pro Bullet Budget-friendly base rates
Pro Bullet Roadside assistance available on every move
Pro Bullet User-friendly website
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Reservations not guaranteed
Con Bullet Additional fees not spelled out
Con Bullet Unhelpful customer service

But make sure you do your research before signing a check. U-Haul rates are relatively low, but there are lots of fees that could crop up after you book.

We recommend this general formula to help you get a better idea of what your U-Haul costs will add up to:

Rental truck fee + mileage fee (local moves only) + damage protection + fuel costs + environmental fee + taxes = your total U-Haul price


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How much does a U-Haul truck rental cost?

U-Haul rates for truck rentals are as well-advertised as Subway’s $5 foot-longs. But just as your sandwich actually costs closer to $6.50, your final U-Haul costs will almost always be more than the advertised price.

For instance, a 10-foot truck starts at $19.95 per day, but for an interstate move from San Diego, CA, to Eugene, OR (a distance of almost 1,000 miles), U-Haul quoted us $1,121—and that’s because those advertised low rates are for local moves only. 

Plus, U-Haul is on the shady side when it comes to spelling out its prices—and customers routinely slam U-Haul for tacking on hidden fees.

We've outlined the U-Haul cost of each truck size for this move below.

U-Haul costs for renting a truck

Truck size
10 ft.
15 ft.
20 ft.
26 ft.

976 miles

976 miles

976 miles

976 miles

1,151 miles included

1,151 miles included

1,151 miles included

1,151 miles included

$1,121.00

$1,180.00

$1,475.00

$1,770.00

$1,516.93

$1,636.12

$1,931.12

$2,226.12

$300.93

$361.12

$361.12

$361.12

$90.00

$90.00

$90.00

$90.00

$5.00

$5.00

$5.00

$5.00

9 ft. 11 in. x 6 ft. 4 in. x 6 ft. 2 in.

15 ft. x 7 ft. 8 in. x 7 ft. 2 in.

19 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. 8 in. x 7 ft. 2 in.

26 ft. 2 in. x 8 ft. 2 in. x 8 ft. 3 in.

Studio to 1-bedroom apartment

1-bedroom home or 2-bedroom apartment

2-bedroom home or 3-bedroom apartment

3- to 4-bedroom home

*Based on an estimated gas price of $3.70 per gallon and an estimated gas mileage of 12 mpg for 10-ft. trucks and 10 mpg for 15-ft., 20-ft., and 26-ft. trucks.

Of course, there are differences between what’s included and what’s extra in local moves versus one-way, long-distance moves. And no matter your move type, additional supplies like a tow dolly can also unexpectedly raise your cost.

Case in point: you’ll find moving blankets and a tow dolly in your truck sealed with zip ties. If you break the seal, you’ll see a rental fee reflected on your final bill.

Think of it like a hotel room with a stocked mini-fridge—if you crack open a Coke now, you’ll pay for it later.

What you need to know about your U-Haul quote

  • It reflects only the base rate of your rental.
  • It doesn’t include an environmental fee ($1–$5).
  • It doesn’t include taxes (which can be as high as $50).
  • It doesn’t account for mileage or gas on some rentals.

Plus, those $25.95-per-day advertisements are for local moves only. You’ll pay a lot more than that for one-way moves.

The trick with U-Haul is to comb through the fine print on your quote and ask questions about every added cost. Nine times out of ten you’ll pay more than the advertised base rate, but despite their customer service reputation, it’s helpful to speak with a customer service representative directly—U-Haul costs are negotiable.

If you’re unhappy with your price, lean into your haggling skills and bargain away, my friend. Alternatively, you can check out this list of tips for saving money on your rental truck move.

Money
Paying with cash?

If you’re paying in stacks of Benjamins (or Washingtons), you’ll need to put down a $100 security deposit for your rental truck and/or $75 on any trailer or towing equipment at the time of pick-up. (You’ll get that security deposit back when you return everything to U-Haul.)

U-Haul rates for one-way moves are affected by these factors:

  • U-Haul rental base rate up to 5 days
  • Mileage (set amount included in move)
  • Fuel costs
  • Environmental fee
  • Taxes
  • Insurance coverage (optional)
  • Pickup location
  • Drop-off location
  • Move date

Ready to hit the road?

You can request a U-Haul truck for your move dates without picking up the phone.

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Planning a moving road trip?

If you’re driving a moving truck long-distance, then you need a solid road trip plan to keep you and your family safe and entertained during the long hours on the road. We can help with that. Read our guide to planning your moving road trip for fun ideas, budget-saving tips, and safety recommendations.

U-Haul rates

Rental fee

The price per day for any truck, cargo trailer, utility trailer, or car carrier is good for up to five days. After that, U-Haul will charge you $40 for every additional twenty-four hours.

So if your move takes six days instead of five, U-Haul will charge you roughly double for that extra day. Pretty annoying if you ask us, but at least it discourages the renters ahead of you from going over their time and dipping into yours.

Mileage rates

Mileage rates range anywhere from $0.59 to $0.99 per mile. There’s no mileage charge on one-way moves (a.k.a. long-distance moves), but U-Haul usually gives you an allotted number of miles you have to stay under.

This is where we’ve heard the most complaints about hidden fees. U-Haul’s known for hitting customers with excessive mileage charges after the fact. Ask clarifying questions before your move. Like, will you pay (literally) if you make an out-of-the-way pit stop on your road trip?

Heads Up
Pro tip

Take a pic of the odometer and gas mileage before and after your trip so you can keep track of the miles and gas you used, in case you need to make any claims.

Fuel charges

When you drop off your truck, you’ll need to fill it back up with the same amount of gas it had at pickup.

The cost of refilling your tank multiple times throughout your trip is easy to forget about when budgeting—especially since some trucks get as little as ten miles per gallon

Use a trip calculator to gauge how much gas money you’ll need.

How many miles per gallon does a U-Haul truck get?

  • 10-ft. truck: 12 mpg
  • 15-ft. truck: 10 mpg
  • 17-ft. truck: 10 mpg
  • 20-ft. truck: 10 mpg
  • 26-ft. truck: 10 mpg

Damage protection

U-Haul offers two types of insurance coverage plans: SafeMove® and SafeMove Plus®.

We’ll get into the differences between the two later on, but SafeMove Plus is usually double the cost of SafeMove. For our move from San Diego to Eugene, SafeMove cost $90, while SafeMove Plus came to $180.

Average U-Haul insurance prices

Average price
Average (all plans)$71
Safemove average

$77

Safemove Plus average

$132

SafeTrip average

$5

Data as of 6/19/20. Offers and availability may vary and are subject to change. Average cost calculated by comparing insurance costs for four home sizes across three distances.

Environmental fee

U-Haul costs include an environmental fee to defray junk and recycling costs associated with its moving trucks. The fee is usually anywhere from $1 to $5.

To be fair, every rental truck company (and rental car company) charges a similar fee.

Taxes

Don’t forget to leave some room in your budget for taxes when you’re planning your move. Depending on how far you’re moving, your taxes could teeter between two figures and three.

Pickup and drop-off location

It costs more to move between bigger cities and suburbs than smaller, rural areas. Also, U-Haul costs are less expensive to move between Sunday and Thursday than over a weekend.

Move date

If there’s anything to know about moving, it’s that time of year is everything. Late spring and summer are peak moving seasons, so it’ll be more expensive once the weather gets warmer and the flowers start blooming.

Money
Got money on your mind?

Many moving truck rental companies offer discounts for military members, senior citizens, and students. Some, like U-Haul, can even hook you up with cheap hotels during your move. Check out our moving truck deals page to peruse all the deals and discounts available to you.


What are U-Haul's rental services?

U-Haul offers tons of services, but it also has lots of locations—which means varied customer experiences, quality of equipment upkeep, and availability of each truck and trailer size.

Don’t get us wrong: availability in all fifty states is a big deal.

But make sure you read your location’s Google reviews to see if it offers the services you need and if its customers are leaving happy. After all, moving companies aren’t like McDonald’s—the experience won’t be consistent at each location.

Heads Up
How U-Haul is responding to Covid-19

U-Haul is still open for business. To maintain social distancing, the company has a contactless service called U-Haul Truck Share 24/7, which allows you to rent a truck, check in for your reservation, and return the vehicle without any in-person interaction.

And if you’re a college student who needs to move away from school because of COVID-19, then U-Haul is offering you 30 days of free self-storage.

Everything U-Haul offers

  • Local moves
  • One-way (long-distance) moves
  • Rental trucks
  • Cargo, utility, and car/motorcycle trailers
  • Car carriers and car/tow dollies
  • EZ-load ramps
  • Month-to-month storage
  • U-Box moving and storage containers
  • Packing supplies
  • Directory of local help-for-hire
  • Safetrip roadside assistance for $5
  • Insurance options
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FYI

You need to be at least 16 years old to rent U-Haul trailers and 18 years old to rent trucks. Additionally, you need two forms of what U-Haul calls "Meaningful Assurance." This includes a contact phone number and an additional assurance such as a driver's license or valid credit card number in the renter's name.

U-Haul’s rental trucks

U-Haul’s vehicles have all the specs you’d expect of a quality rental truck. That said, trucks rotate quickly from customer to customer, which can lead to extra wear and tear.

In general, a moving truck has a shorter shelf life than your car, so be extra mindful of potential mechanical problems. To avoid any unexpected surprises, inspect your truck before you leave the lot. Go for a cruise around the block, and allow it to run for a few minutes so you can identify any funky noises or warning lights.

That said, U-Haul’s roadside assistance (available for $5 with every rental) will come in handy if you get a flat on the side of Route 66.

Here’s what comes with every U-Haul truck rental:

  • Low loading decks
  • EZ-loading ramps (shorter than most competitors)
  • Rub rails (to secure furniture inside)
  • Low-cost roadside assistance

U-Haul trucks have seating for two to three people. (FYI, they’re not compatible with car seats.)

Another insider tip: most people overestimate their truck size and end up paying for extra space. Save a buck or two by speaking with your local U-Haul representative to nail down the right size for your move or check out our moving truck sizing guide.

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Want to hear how customers feel about U-Haul?

We recently gave two U-Haul customers a moving grant to help them pay for their move. Overall, the customers were pleased with U-Haul's pricing and service, though there were two small problems along the way. You can read all about their experience here.

Compare U-Haul rental truck sizes

Truck size
10 ft.
15 ft.
17 ft.
20 ft.
26 ft.

Base rate*

$19.95

$29.95

$29.95

$39.95

$39.95

Interior dimensions

9 ft. 11 in. x 6 ft. 4 in. x 6 ft. 2 in.

15 ft. x 7 ft. 8 in. x 7 ft. 2 in.

16 ft. 9 in. x 7 ft. 8 in. x 7 ft. 2 in.

19 ft. 6 in. x 7 ft. 8 in. x 7 ft. 2 in.

26 ft. 2 in. x 8 ft. 2 in. x 8 ft. 3 in.

Volume

402 cu. ft.

764 cu. ft.

865 cu. ft.

1,016 cu. ft.

1,682 cu. ft.

EZ-load ramp

Icon No  Dark

No

Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes
Icon Yes  DarkYes

Best for

Studio, 1-bedroom apartment

2-bedroom apartment

2-bedroom house

2- or 3-bedroom house

4+ bedroom home

*Base rates for local moves. Current as of 4/24/19.

U-Haul’s cargo trailers

Cargo trailers offer the same protection against the elements as rental trucks—they’re just smaller and allow you to drive your own car instead of a huge vehicle.

If you’re transporting a small load (like a single room’s worth of furniture) or fragile items, cargo trailers are a safer bet than throwing your things in the back of a pickup truck. Renting a cargo trailer is going to run you anywhere from $14.95 per day to $29.95 per day.

Here’s the full list of U-Haul’s cargo trailer sizes:

  • 4 x 8 ft.
  • 5 x 8 ft.
  • 5 x 10 ft.
  • 6 x 12 ft.
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Need help navigating your trailer or dolly?

Tow hitches, trailers, and dollies seem relatively simple, but if they’re used incorrectly, they can result in expensive and dangerous accidents. To familiarize yourself with this equipment before picking up your rental, check out our guide to tow hitches and our guide about trailers and dollies.

U-Haul’s utility trailers

You know how pickup trucks pull floats in parades? A utility trailer uses the same concept for hauling outdoor furniture, oddly shaped items, or heavy belongings that can take an open ride on the highway.

Utility trailers start at $14.95 per day and can run up to $35.95 per day depending on the size you choose.

Here’s the full list of U-Haul’s utility trailer options:

  • 4 x 7 ft.
  • 5 x 8 ft.
  • 5 x 9 ft.
  • 6 x 12 ft.
  • 6 x 12 ft. (with ramp)

U-Haul’s car carriers

If you need to transport your vehicle—and professional car shipping is off the table—U-Haul has trailers specifically for cars and motorcycles. Its car trailers hold between 3,450 and 5,290 pounds and can accommodate small- to medium-sized cars (but probably not your brand-new RAM 1500).

Heads up: some people find that towing a car behind their U-Haul or personal truck makes driving up hills difficult and takes twice as long.

Here’s the full list of U-Haul’s car carrier options:

  • Tow dolly
  • Car carrier
  • Motorcycle trailer
  • Car trailer
  • Hitch installation
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The more you know

U-Haul is a pro when it comes to hitch installation. If you plan to tow a trailer behind your vehicle and need a hitch installed, you can visit one of U-Haul’s 20,000+ locations.

U-Haul’s moving and storage container: U-Box

U-Haul isn’t just for DIY-ers. If you’re looking to do a blended move (you pack and load, the professionals drive), you can rent U-Haul’s U-Box moving and storage container.

The U-Box is 95 inches x 56 inches x 83.5 inches and can hold up to one room (sorry, families—you may have to rent more than one). It’s made of wood, so it isn’t as sturdy or durable as moving containers made of metal like those on our list of the Best Moving and Storage Containers.

(Pssst: The U-Box even comes with two dozen furniture pads for safer packing—hallelujah.)

If you want to learn more about U-Haul's U-Box, go check out our U-Box Moving Container Review.

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Free storage!

U-Haul includes a free month of storage on one-way moves, which saves you up to $70. Think of it as free housing for your belongings while you get settled into your new digs.


U-Haul’s insurance options

U-Haul’s SafeMove plan offers protection for your rental truck and everything inside it (including cargo, drivers, and passengers). SafeMove Plus includes up to an additional $1,000,000 in coverage for third-party damages.

(FYI: SafeMove is the more popular option.)

U-Haul’s SafeMove plan

SafeMove

Damage waiver

Reduce the amount you owe for damage to your rental truck

Cargo coverage

$15,000–$25,000 in collision, windstorm, fire, and truck overturn coverage

Medical and life coverage

$1,000 coverage for accident-related medical expenses, $15,000–$25,000 loss of life coverage

U-Haul’s SafeMove Plus plan

SafeMove Plus

Damage waiver

Reduce the amount you owe for damage to your rental truck

Cargo coverage

$15,000–$25,000 in collision, windstorm, fire, and truck overturn coverage

Medical and life coverage

$1,000 coverage for accident-related medical expenses, $15,000–$25,000 loss of life coverage

Supplemental Liability Insurance (SLI)

Up to $1,000,000 extra liability coverage*

* Individuals should review their rental contract—including addendums—for a complete description of the policy’s terms, conditions, and exclusions.

If you decide against a protection plan, you’ll be responsible for all damage—even things like vandalism that aren't your fault.

U-Haul spells out how much it would cost to replace or repair each part of the truck online. Whether or not it’s meant to be a scare tactic, these prices are high enough to scare us into considering a coverage plan.

It’s also worth checking to see if your auto insurance covers rental trucks—sadly, most don’t.

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Worried about your trailer?

U-Haul’s insurance plan for rental trailers covers up to $20,000 in property damage. It also includes a damage waiver for the trailer itself and medical coverage up to $1,500.


3 things to know about U-Haul

1. It has cheap base rates

U-Haul advertises base rates for its rentals pretty plainly. The company also makes it easy to request a truck on its website, which is especially nice for those of us who hate talking on the phone.

As we’ve mentioned, U-Haul’s quotes don’t include gas, taxes, environmental fees, or mileage (for local moves), so despite its cheap base rates, U-Haul customers often express frustration over extra fees. But we do appreciate the budget-friendly starting point and how U-Haul’s user-friendly website makes shopping quick and easy.

2. It offers services nationwide

U-Haul is everywhere—well, everywhere in the US. Seriously, though, U-Haul has a pin in all fifty states.

Many U-Haul locations are within close proximity of each other, which makes it easy to request a last-minute rental or pick up your preferred size truck if your closest shop doesn’t have what you want. If the location that’s three miles away is booked up, you can try the location fifteen or twenty miles down the road.

OK, if you live in a rural area, U-Haul’s locations might not be that close together, but on the whole, U-Haul has a wide reach—more than any other company.

Although we don’t love the lack of guaranteed reservations, the sheer number of locations is handy if you need a bigger truck selection.

Heads Up
Cancellation policy

U-Haul lets you cancel your reservation up to 24 hours prior to pickup without penalty.

3. It doesn’t guarantee reservations

Here’s the biggest thing people don’t realize when they book with U-Haul: when you make your initial online “reservation,” the location, pickup time, and truck size you “reserve” aren’t guaranteed.

When you reserve a U-Haul truck or trailer, you are merely expressing a preference for your rental size and pickup time and place. Your reservation isn’t technically final until you pick up your truck.

Be proactive and call the day before your scheduled pickup so you know for sure if your location has your preferred truck size in stock. If it doesn’t, you may have to drive to a different U-Haul location.

What’s the deal with U-Haul’s $50 reservation guarantee?

Answer: it’s a bit misleading. This doesn’t actually guarantee your reservation—it just means you’re eligible for a $50 refund if U-Haul fails to warn you beforehand via phone that your requested rental is unavailable.

Even if it does give you a heads-up, U-Haul might replace your truck with one of equal or greater size or value instead of paying you $50. Since not everyone wants a bigger truck—especially if you’re already worried about driving an oversized vehicle or can’t fill that extra space—we think this is a bummer.

Need a guaranteed reservation? Penske is the best rental truck company for hard-and-fast dates. Give our Penske Review a read to learn more.

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How does U-Haul compare to its competitors?

In terms of pricing and availability, U-Haul is usually the best moving truck rental company around. However, two of its biggest competitors, Penske and Budget, might offer better services or prices in your area. If you want to see how these companies compare to U-Haul, check out these guides:


Our opinion

Here’s when we’d recommend choosing U-Haul over its competitors:

  • You’re flexible with your move date.
  • You have a smaller load.
  • You live near lots of U-Haul locations.

U-Haul doesn’t guarantee reservations, but as long as you’re not strapped for time, it may not be too inconvenient to cruise over to a nearby location.

As always, read the fine print about pricing! Get ahead of seemingly random fees (what’s up, environmental fee) and taxes so you can budget accordingly.

At the end of the day, U-Haul is a seasoned rental truck company, and we do recommend its services. Just know going into your move that your bill will be higher than the base price you see plastered on its moving vans.

DECIDED U-HAUL'S THE ONE FOR YOU?

Get one step closer to finishing your move by requesting a truck.

Still not sure about U-Haul? See other companies that earned top marks in our Best Moving Truck Companies list.

Our reports on U-Haul customers' experiences

Julia Campbell
Written by
Julia Campbell
Julia Campbell is a full-time writer who knows the tricks of the trade when it comes to planning a hassle-free move. Having moved seven times in the past five years, she draws from her own experience and industry expertise to help you avoid her biggest mistakes (like that time she thought she could get away with packing her dishes without wrapping them first).