2021 U-Haul Truck Rental Review

Bottom line: U-Haul is the most widely available moving truck rental company, and it’s also one of the cheapest. Unfortunately, U-Haul has overwhelmingly negative customer reviews and unreliable reservations, so it’s not your best moving truck rental option.
Best Overall
uhaul
Our Rating
4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2
Joe Roberts
Researcher & Writer
Read More
Published on May 24, 2021
12 min read

U-Haul is basically the only moving truck rental company with a household name, and it’s easy to see why. With over 21,000 locations1 and a larger selection of moving trucks than almost any competitor, U-Haul is an industry leader in terms of availability and customer options.

To top it all off, U-Haul is one of the cheapest moving truck companies, though its prices can be higher than Budget’s and Penske’s prices.

However, while U-Haul seems like the perfect moving truck company, it has its problems. Namely its customer reviews, which are some of the worst in the industry, and its reservations, which are notoriously unreliable. Although U-Haul isn’t our number one recommendation for moving truck rentals, it’s still a good backup if Budget or Penske aren’t available.

Pro Heading
Pros
Pro Bullet Widest availability
Pro Bullet More size options than Budget or Penske
Pro Bullet Help-for-hire available
Pro Bullet Low—but not the lowest—prices
Con Heading
Cons
Con Bullet Few discounts
Con Bullet Terrible customer reviews
Con Bullet Infamously unreliable reservations

See where U-Haul ranks on our list of the best truck rental companies.


Sign up for our moving guide!

Get emails with discounts, tips, and checklists—to guide you through every step of your move.


How much does U-Haul cost?

We gathered over a hundred quotes from the country’s top moving truck rental companies to compare average rates, and we found that U-Haul’s prices are pretty low but not the lowest.

We found that U-Haul’s average price for a local move (100 miles or less) is about $38.70 + $0.99/mile. For comparison, Budget’s average local price is $27.60 + $0.47/mile, and the industry-wide average is roughly $169.65 + $0.73/mile.

For long-distance moves (over 100 miles), U-Haul’s average price is $1,945.68, Penske’s is $1,944.92, and the average industry rate is $2,077.

So, while U-Haul’s rates were never the lowest we saw, they were pretty close, and they were consistently far below industry averages.

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 pricing

To give you an idea of what your move might cost, here’s a selection of quotes we got for U-Haul’s 10-foot and 26-foot moving trucks.

U-Haul 10-foot truck rental prices

Move distance
Quote
50 miles$24.24 + $0.99/mile
463 miles$607.42
1,033 miles$1,612.85
2,060 miles$2,307.05

Data as of October, 2020. Prices do not include any add-on services or coverage options. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

U-Haul 26-foot truck rental prices

Move distance
Quote
50 miles$47.38 + $0.99/mile
463 miles$829.56
1,033 miles$3,387.69
2,060 miles$3,032.49

Data as of October, 2020. Prices do not include any add-on services or coverage options. Offers and availability may vary by location and are subject to change.

U-Haul cost factors

Moving truck rates fluctuate often, and it’s impossible to predict exactly how much your move will cost before getting your quote. That said, there are several factors that can predictably affect your U-Haul rental rate:

  • Your move date
  • When you book
  • Taxes
  • Mileage
  • Environmental fees
  • Add-on rentals and services
  • Moving coverage
Bullhorn
What about gas?

U-Haul requires that you return your truck with as much gas as it had when you picked it up. If you return your truck empty, U-Haul will charge you for the gas plus a service charge. Take a picture of the moving truck’s 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.

How your move date can affect your U-Haul price

Moving truck rates are all about supply and demand, so your price will be lower if you move when less people are moving. Late spring and summer are peak moving seasons in most of the country, so you can usually get a lower price by moving in fall and winter.

How your U-Haul price can change depending on when you book

Rental rates increase as more people book their moving trucks, so booking early means you’ll score a lower rate than people who book after you.

How mileage factors into your U-Haul price

For local rentals, U-Haul charges a mileage rate of $0.99 per mile, which is calculated and added to your final cost after your move. The more you drive your truck, the more it will cost you.

For long-distance rentals, U-Haul figures mileage a little differently. Depending on how far you’re moving, U-Haul will assign a maximum number of miles you can drive your truck and charge you for those miles upfront. If you go over those allotted miles, you’ll be charged extra. Unfortunately, you won’t be refunded for unused miles if you drive less than your allotment.

U-Haul’s environmental fees

For every truck rental, U-Haul charges a small environmental fee that ranges from $1–$5. U-Haul uses this money to update its trucks and facilities to make sure they’re as environmentally friendly as possible.

What will your U-Haul price be?

Since truck rental rates depend on so many factors, it’s impossible to predict exactly what your price will be. The only way to know for sure is to get your own quote.

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.

U-Haul coverage options

Moving coverage costs extra, but U-Haul doesn’t require that you buy any when you rent your truck. If you go without it, though, you’ll have to foot the bill for absolutely any damage to your truck or belongings.

U-Haul has several different coverage options to allow you to choose how much protection you pay for.

U-Haul coverage comparison

Safetrip®

While U-Haul includes Safetrip on its moving coverage page, Safetrip is more like a glorified roadside assistance plan than a traditional moving coverage plan. Here’s everything it includes:

  • Lockout services
  • Assistance if the truck gets stuck in mud or snow
  • Replacement truck keys
  • Trailer hookup assistance
  • Fuel services if the truck runs out of gas
  • Jump-start services

On average, Safetrip only costs $5, and though it doesn’t provide damage coverage, it's certainly nice to have during a long haul across the country.

Consider paying for Safetrip even if you forego other coverage options.

Safemove

Safemove is U-Haul’s most basic moving coverage for its trucks. Here’s what it covers:

  • Accident and theft damage for the truck
  • Accident damage for your belongings
  • Medical/life protection for you and a passenger

The exact cost of Safemove coverage varies from one rental to another, but we’ve found that it costs about $77 on average, and U-Haul claims that it can net you up to $80,000 in potential benefits.

Safemove Plus

Safemove Plus is exactly what it sounds like: Safemove plus a little bit more. This is all it covers:

  • All the coverage included in Safemove
  • Exclusion-free coverage for all accidental damage to the U-Haul truck
  • $1,000,000 in supplemental liability coverage

As you’d expect, this extra coverage costs a little extra as well. On average, Safemove Plus costs about $132.

Safetow

If you rent a U-Haul tow dolly or moving trailer, you can also purchase U-Haul’s Safetow towing coverage. Here’s what Safetow covers:

  • Damage waiver for a U-Haul trailer or towing device
  • Cargo protection
  • Medical/life protection

The cost of Safetow really depends on what you’re towing, and there are several levels of cargo protection to choose from, so it’s impossible to nail down an average price.


U-Haul features and services

  • Local moves
  • One-way (long-distance) moves
  • Rental trucks
  • Cargo, utility, and car/motorcycle dollies and trailers
  • Hitch installation
  • EZ-load ramps
  • Month-to-month storage
  • U-Box moving and storage containers
  • Packing supplies
  • Moving equipment rentals
  • Loading assistance and help-for-hire
  • Moving coverage
Megaphone
Free storage!
At select U-Haul locations, you can get your first month of storage for free when you pay for a local or long-distance truck or trailer rental.2 Think of it as free housing for your belongings while you get settled into your new digs.

U-Haul’s moving trucks

According to U-Haul’s website, it’s the only moving truck company that works directly with truck manufacturers to specifically design its trucks for household moving.3 We can neither confirm nor deny that U-Haul is the only moving truck company that does this, but the focus on household moving really shows through in the design of U-Haul’s trucks.

Every U-Haul truck comes with a low loading deck to make it easy to lift heavy boxes and furniture into the truck from the ground. Additionally, every U-Haul truck larger than the 10-foot option comes with an EZ-load ramp to provide an easy grade up into the truck’s cargo area.

U-Haul’s trucks are also equipped with gentle suspension to keep the trucks from rattling over bumps, protecting your belongings from harmful jolts and shaking.

Each U-Haul truck over the 10-foot size also has a “Mom’s Attic” which is a small compartment of the cargo area that sits above the truck’s cab. This compartment is great for safely transporting fragile items like dishes and picture frames.

U-Haul truck sizes and specifications

Truck size
Pickup truck
Cargo van
10 foot
15 foot
17 foot
20 foot
26 foot

Internal dimensions

7 ft. 10 in. x 5 ft. 2 in. x 1 ft. 9 in.
9 ft. 6 in. x 5 ft. 7 in. x 4 ft. 8 in.
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 3 ft. 3 in.

Capacity

Single room
Studio apartment
1-bedroom apartment
1-bedroom home
2-bedroom home
2-bedroom home
4-bedroom home

Weight limit (lbs.)

1,897
3,880
2,850
6,385
6,160
5,700
9,010

Interior space (cu. ft.)

N/A
245
402
764
865
1,016
1,682

Fuel tank capacity (gallons)

34
25
33
40
40
40
60

Miles per gallon

19
18
12
10
10
10
10

Data as of April 21, 2021.

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. You can also tow them behind a U-Haul rental truck if you need a little more space than the truck alone could provide.

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.

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

  • 4 x 8 ft.
  • 5 x 8 ft.
  • 6 x 12 ft.

U-Haul’s utility trailers

A utility trailer is perfect for hauling outdoor furniture, oddly shaped items, or heavy belongings that can take an open ride on the highway. If you have an L-shaped sectional to haul to your new house, a utility trailer might be perfect for your situation.

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 can hold between 3,450 and 5,290 pounds depending on which one you rent, and they can accommodate small to medium-sized cars (but probably not something as large as a RAM 1500).

Heads up: Some people find that towing a car behind their U-Haul or personal truck makes driving up hills difficult and more time-consuming. This is just one of the many reasons hauling your vehicle, while cheaper, is far less convenient than shipping it. If you want a full cost/benefit analysis, check out our guide to Shipping Vs. Towing Your Car.

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

  • Tow dolly
  • Car carrier
  • Motorcycle trailer

U-Haul also sells an assortment of trailer hitches, hitch balls and mounts, trailer wiring, and other towing essentials.

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

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

The U-Box is 95 x 56 x 83.5 inches and can hold up to one room’s worth of stuff, so you may have to rent more than one.

The biggest drawback is that the U-Box is 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.

To learn more about U-Haul's U-Box, go check out our U-Box Moving Container Review.


What to know about U-Haul

Now that we’ve talked about U-Haul’s pricing and services in broad strokes, let’s focus a little more on a few of the company’s more unique features.

U-Haul is the most widely available moving truck company

Like we said earlier, U-Haul has over 21,000 locations across the United States and Canada. This doesn’t just make U-Haul the most widely available truck rental company, it makes it several times more available than its competition.

For perspective, Penske has over 3,200 locations worldwide4 and Budget has around 1,600 in the continental United States.5

This wide availability can benefit you as a customer in two important ways: it can save you money, and it can make your move more convenient.

How U-Haul’s availability can save you money

Like we explained earlier, moving truck rental prices are ruled by supply and demand. Because of this, a moving truck company with more locations and trucks in a given area can offer better rates in that area.

This trend really showed up in our pricing research. If you’ll remember, U-Haul’s prices weren’t the lowest; Budget has better average prices for local moves and Penske has better prices for long-distance moves. However, U-Haul’s prices were among the lowest, and they were always far cheaper than industry averages.

Additionally, U-Haul’s availability means you’re likely to have a rental location near your old home and your new one. Because of this, you can save some money on mileage you’ll use picking up and dropping off your truck if you’re moving locally.

How U-Haul’s availability can make your move more convenient

On top of saving you money, having U-Haul locations near your old and new home is obviously more convenient. Whether you’re moving locally or long distance, you probably don’t want to drive any more than you have to. U-Haul’s immense number of locations all but guarantees that you don’t need to drive too far to pick up or drop off your moving truck.

Map Pin
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 has the most services of any moving truck company

Between its huge selection of trucks, diverse assortment of dollies and trailers, and add-on services like storage and moving labor, U-Haul provides far more services than any competitor.

Some of these services, like U-Box, might be unnecessary for your move. However, by giving customers access to all these different add-ons and features, U-Haul brings one-stop shopping convenience to DIY moving.

Whatever you need for your move, whether it's a truck and a trailer, a storage unit, or just a few moving boxes, you can find it at U-Haul.

U-Haul has terrible customer reviews

Unfortunately, low prices, wide availability, and an impressive menu of services can’t make up for bad customer service. In reviews across websites like Yelp and Google Reviews, U-Haul customers report being cheated and mistreated by the company in frightening numbers.

U-Haul’s unreliable reservations

One of the most common customer complaints is that U-Haul doesn’t honor its reservations. Some customers report having to make do with different trucks U-Haul had available instead of the trucks they reserved, while others have to pick up their trucks at different locations than planned.

In extreme cases, a few customers even report being left truckless on moving day or having their reservations cancelled by U-Haul.

In place of an actual reservation guarantee, U-Haul pays $50 to customers whose reservations it can’t fulfill as planned. However, some customers even report being stiffed their $50.

To be fair to U-Haul, we do sometimes see this type of disappointing behavior from other moving truck companies. Additionally, moving truck supply often depends on customers returning trucks on time, so it isn’t always the company’s fault if your truck isn’t available.

However, the sheer volume of U-Haul customers with unfulfilled reservations is concerning, and it’s something to be aware of before deciding to rent from U-Haul.

Other customer service issues

In addition to reservation complaints, U-Haul customers also report that they were charged unfairly, they couldn’t get ahold of the company’s customer service when they needed help, and their trucks were in bad shape at time of pickup.

These complaints are also common for other moving truck rental companies. In general, you should always take customer reviews with a grain of salt since people are more likely to write bad reviews than good ones.6

That said, the number of U-Haul customers reporting negative experiences is far higher than the negative reviews for most other truck rental companies. Does this mean that you should forego U-Haul completely? Not necessarily. But if a better-reviewed company like Penske is available in your area, it's probably a safer bet.

Pin
How does U-Haul compare to its competitors?

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


FAQs about U-Haul

Does U-Haul have unlimited mileage?

No. For local moves, U-Haul charges a mileage rate of $0.99 per mile. This mileage rate is calculated after you return your moving truck, and it is then added to your final cost. For long-distance moves, U-Haul estimates how many miles you’ll need to drive and charges for them upfront. If you go over this allotted mileage, you’ll be charged extra.

How much does U-Haul charge per mile?

For local moves, U-Haul charges $0.99 per mile. For long-distance moves, we’ve calculated that U-Haul’s rates average out to about $1.60 per mile. This long-distance rate is based on our own pricing research, not any official rate listed by U-Haul.

Does U-Haul charge per day?

Kind of. U-Haul advertises that a 10-foot truck starts at $19.95 per day for a local move, though it doesn’t advertise if larger trucks have higher daily rates. For long-distance moves, U-Haul calculates how many days you will need to drive to your new home, then lets you rent the truck for those days. If you go over that time allotment, you’ll be charged late fees.

If you know beforehand that you need to add more days to your time, you can prepay $40 per day to avoid late fees.7

Exclamation
U-Haul’s cancellation policy

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

How old do you have to be to rent a U-Haul?

U-Haul only lets customers that are 18 years old or older rent moving trucks. For trailers, you only need to be 16 years old to rent. U-Haul requires renters to provide a valid driver’s license before they rent moving equipment.8


Our recommendation

U-Haul certainly isn’t the best moving truck rental company. The company’s customer reviews alone prove that. However, U-Haul’s rates are nothing to cry about, and the company’s huge selection of services make it a competitive option for any move. Additionally, the company’s wide availability means it might be your best choice if it’s your only option in some areas.

While we don’t recommend U-Haul outright, you should at least check out the company’s services and get a quote to see what U-Haul can do for you.

Ready to see how much a U-Haul rental will cost you?

Now that you know all about U-Haul, it’s time to get your free quote and see how much renting your U-Haul truck will cost.

If you want to see how U-Haul measures up to its competitors, check out our list of the best moving truck rental companies.

Other moving truck rental picks

Want to see how U-Haul compares to some of its competitors? Read these reviews to get the full scoop:

Recommended resources

If you’re ready to get your DIY move rolling, read these guides to plan and successfully execute on every step of the process:

Our reports on U-Haul customers' experiences

Sources

  1. AMERCO, “Company History.” Accessed May 3, 2021.
  2. U-Haul, “One Month Free Storage at U-Haul Self-Storage Locations.” Accessed May 3, 2021.
  3. U-Haul, “U-Haul Truck Rentals.” Accessed May 3, 2021.
  4. Penske, “Our Companies.” Accessed May 3, 2021.
  5. Marketing Charts, “Bad Customer Service Interactions More Likely to be Shared Than Good Ones,” April 15, 2013. Accessed May 4, 2021.
  6. U-Haul, “Frequently Asked Questions.” Accessed May 3, 2021.
  7. U-Haul, “Frequently Asked Questions.” Accessed May 3, 2021.
  8. U-Haul, “Frequently Asked Questions.” Accessed May 3, 2021.
Joe Roberts
Written by
Joe Roberts
Joe Roberts is a professional writer with a degree in writing studies and over four years of copywriting experience. He previously worked at Overstock.com, where he wrote about furniture, home decor, and moving. Joe has moved all over Utah, so he knows his way around a moving truck—and he spends his time (and money) expanding his personal library so it will be even heavier next time he moves.