7 Things You Should Know about U-Haul® before Renting a Truck

Thinking about renting a U-Haul®? Make sure you know what to expect.

You’ve seen the orange and white trucks on the road, but do you know how U-Haul® rentals work? Over the years, we’ve talked with millions of people who are moving long distance. In that time we’ve done a lot of U-Haul comparisons and have learned that while the rental process seems pretty straightforward — pick up the equipment, pack, load, drive, unload, return it — there are some things that could affect your decision to move with them. 

Man with hand on chin in front of orange background, thinking about renting a U-Haul.


Consider these 7 things before making a reservation

1.    Not just anyone can rent a U-Haul.

While you don’t need a commercial driver’s license to drive a U-Haul, there are some requirements for renting one — including age, having a valid driver’s license and having a credit/debit card. Read more about the things needed to rent a U-Haul to see if you qualify. 

2.    U-Haul rates aren’t all inclusive.

U-Haul quotes include a base rate, which is calculated using the equipment size, move date, and pickup and drop-off locations, and a set number of days and miles for you to use the truck. If you need more miles or days, or if you change any details about the move, it can cost more. And be sure to budget for non-included expenses like fuel, liability/damage coverage and tolls. 

Take a closer look at what goes into U-Haul rates, so you’re prepared for any extras. 

3.    Trucks require frequent stops and expensive fill-ups.

Since U-Haul trucks get just 10-12 mpg, be prepared to stop every 300-400 miles on average to fill up. And with tanks that are 30-60 gallons, the cost to fuel the truck can add up quickly.  

4.    Equipment is used frequently.

U-Haul rentals are consistently driven around town and state to state, and that much use can cause wear and tear that may or may not be visible. Whether it’s a rental truck, a towing trailer or a U-Box® container, it’s vital to perform an inspection to ensure everything is damage-free and in good working order. 

5.    Making a reservation doesn’t guarantee equipment.

It isn’t guaranteed until the day before you’re scheduled to pick the equipment up. At that time, a representative will contact you to verify the details (equipment, location, date and pickup time), and once you agree on the specifics, the reservation is considered “guaranteed.”

So, what happens if the U-Haul truck size you requested isn’t available? They may offer a larger truck or suggest a different rental location. According to U-Haul, if you’ve verified the details of your move with a representative, but they’re unable to fulfill the correct equipment, you’re eligible for $50 compensation. While that can be helpful, if there’s a specific truck size you needed and it isn’t available, it could cause unexpected issues like higher fuel costs or driving difficulties. 

6.    Driving a U-Haul truck can be a challenge.

Driving a large truck, or pulling a trailer takes some skill and experience to maneuver safely. If you’re not comfortable navigating high-traffic or mountainous areas in a U-Haul truck, a qualified friend or family member may be able to drive (make sure to verify). Note that the person who signs the contract is responsible for the equipment in the case of damage. 

As far as driving the truck goes, U-Haul trucks are automatic, so no worries about a manual transmission. However, be aware that it takes longer to brake in a heavy, big vehicle, and wider turns will be necessary. Also, be mindful of driving speeds – U-Haul suggests reducing your speed with a fully loaded truck

7.    Some locations are franchises. 

While you can call the national corporate hotline to make a quote, get a reservation or ask questions, each location is different. Some are dedicated to truck rental with full fleets and storage facilities, while others may keep a few vehicles in conjunction with another business (like a gas station) and may not be as full service. Policies and procedures can vary by locations, so check details like hours and forms of payment. 

Good news! Renting a U-Haul isn’t your only option

If you have concerns about any of these things, and driving a rental truck doesn’t feel ideal, check out U-Pack®! It’s an affordable alternative where you don’t have to drive! No worries about whether you meet rental requirements, how experienced you are with driving a large truck or spending more on fuel. And, quite possibly the most important thing, no worries about not having the equipment you need on moving day! U-Pack reservations are guaranteed. And if you’re wondering about price, get a quote and see how it compares. U-Pack rates are inclusive — the equipment, transportation, fuel and liability coverage. Take a look at how you can save more than a U-Haul discount with U-Pack

Considering other truck rental options? Here’s how U-Pack compares to other companies like U-Haul.  

U-Haul® is a registered trademark of U-Haul International, Inc.  Use of third-party trademarks or registered trademarks does not imply any affiliation with or endorsement by such third-party.