Jun 29
Frontal view of a U-Haul box truck

Renting a U-Haul Truck – What You Need & What to Do

Moving is a big deal, usually chock-full of stress both good and bad. It’s an exciting time—maybe you’re moving into your dream home or going out on your own for the first time. It’s also one of the most stressful life events we go through.

Don’t make your move any more stressful than it has to be. When it comes time for your big Moving Day, make sure you’ve got a U-Haul truck reserved and ready to roll.

What You Need to Do to Rent a U-Haul

Schedule In Advance

To avoid the dreaded situation of not having a truck on your moving day, make sure you make your reservation at least a few weeks in advance.

During Moving Season, which runs from April and ramps up through September, you might want to schedule even earlier out than that. Students moving for college and families scrambling to get settled before the school year begins will gobble up trucks for hundreds of miles out on the busiest weekends.

Know the Requirements & Costs

Let’s get the obvious stuff out of the way: In order to rent a U-Haul, you must…

Be 16 or Older

U-Haul age requirements are 16 years old to rent a tow-trailer and 18 years old to rent a moving truck.

Have a Valid Driver’s License

Image of a little dog in a car with his little driver's license and sunglasses on.

While the names and classes for different licenses vary from state to state and country to country, the U-Haul driver will need a valid, standard-issue license that allows them to drive a passenger vehicle without supervision, which is the vast majority of you reading this. Learner’s permits are not acceptable.

You do not need a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) or special large-vehicle designation to drive a U-Haul. You just need to be careful because they are large vehicles that require a certain finesse.

Your valid driver’s license can be issued by any of the following entities:

  • Any of the 50 United States & Washington, DC
  • Any US territory
  • The US military
  • Any foreign nation
  • International Driving Permits (IDPs)

Have a Valid Credit or Debit Card (or Cash for a Deposit)

You’ll need a credit or debit card to reserve a U-Haul truck online, but you don’t have to pay upfront. You’ll also need it for the initial deposit before you leave the lot.

The initial deposit consists of the rental fees and estimated mileage charges, but nothing’s actually charged until you return the truck and the mileage and fuel level are verified.

If you’re paying in cash, you’ll need to pay a deposit upfront depending on how far you’re going:

  • In-town rental: $100 or estimated rental charges (whichever is greater)
  • One-way (long-distance) rental): $100 plus rental rate

It should also be noted that if you’re renting a cargo van or pickup truck you must have a valid credit or debit card in the renter’s name present, even if paying cash at the end—and you cannot pay the deposit in cash. The cardholder should be present to pick up the equipment.

Image is a button link to U-Haul rental pageWhat You Need to Know

Now we’ve got the requirements down, let’s cover some of the less obvious points.

Don’t Forget About Fuel

Keep in mind that on top of the rental fees and mileage charges, you’ll also be responsible for refilling the gas tank on these fuel-inefficient vehicles. The box trucks might get 10–12mpg on a good day, so go easy on the gas pedal if you’re trying to keep costs low.

Assuming gas is $3 per gallon (roughly the current national average), expect to pay about $0.10 per mile in fuel costs. The tanks are also large enough to get you 350–400 miles without a refill, at which point you’re looking at $100–$120 to top it off.

Account for Multiple Round Trips for In-Town Moves

Don’t make the same mistake some dummy at our office recently made (definitely not this writer) and forget about multiple round-trip mileage. That is, you might need to make more than 1 trip to move all your stuff, thus your mileage doubles with every trip. It’s also a good idea to give yourself a cushion for an extra trip. If you’re moving more than a few miles but are still in town, that unexpected additional mileage charge can sting.

Family unloading boxes out of a u-Haul truck

Feed and Provide Drinks for Your Help

If you’re lucky enough to have help, don’t forget to repay them with some food and drinks for their efforts! Some well-timed pizza and a cool beverage make all the difference in a day full of hauling stuff around.

Choose or Waive Insurance/Damage Coverage

U-Haul provides optional damage insurance with varying levels of coverage. From cracked windscreens to roadside troubles, you’ll be (at least partially) protected. The insurance is usually a one-time payment based on the miles driven. Should you decide not to take that additional coverage, the equipment and any damages would become your responsibility.

Return Your U-Haul On Time, In Good Shape, and Refueled

Don’t make moving any harder for the person who reserved your truck after you either. Get it to your dropoff location on time and free of damage so it’s ready for the next person. If you don’t refuel, U-Haul will do so at an upcharged per-gallon rate—usually an extra $2/gallon or so—along with a $20–$30 fueling fee. You also want the truck to be at least as clean as it was when you picked it up, if not cleaner. Otherwise, you’ll end up paying a cleaning fee. Also, be sure to park in designated areas to avoid tickets or fines. Makes copies of your paperwork and store it away in a safe spot in case any problems come up.

If you’re in or around the Fayetteville, Elkins, or Springdale areas and you’re looking for a U-Haul truck, moving supplies, or self-storage facilities, contact Double Springs, Elkins & Ozark Mini Storage. Check out our Contact Us page to submit a form.