Renting a Truck

Desert Storage Truck

If you’re thinking of moving yourself, you’ll probably need to rent a moving van, truck or trailer. Keep these points in mind when you start your research.

Where Are You Going?
If you’re moving across town (a “local move”), most rental agencies will accommodate your needs; however, if you’re moving across the state or across the country most rental agencies will consider that a “one-way” reservation.
Local reservations are generally priced with a flat daily fee plus a per mile charge. One-way rentals are generally priced in a lump sum quote that will include a fixed number of days and miles and do not require returning the truck to the original location. Neither type of rental will include costs for fuel, insurance or moving equipment (like a dolly or pads) so make sure to inquire about those costs as well.

What Size Truck Do You Need?
Most rental agencies provide a truck size-guide. Although very general, these guides will help you decide the type of truck you need based on what you are moving. For instance, a 26-foot truck will generally accommodate a 4+ bedroom house, while a 10-foot truck is perfect for a small apartment. It’s better to err on the side of caution and rent a larger truck. Although the daily fee will be higher, the larger truck might save you time and mileage charges because you’ll only need to pack the truck once and make one trip.

When Do You Need It?
As soon as you have a sense for your move date, start calling around. You may need to book a truck well in advance. Peak season starts around the end of May and runs until the end of September and most agencies charge more during this time of year. Additionally, keep in mind that most people move at the beginning/end of the month and on Saturdays. Trucks will be more difficult and more expensive to rent during these times, so if you can arrange your move mid month or mid week, you will likely save some money.
Are You Moving Any Additional Vehicles?
It is not uncommon that you may need to haul an additional vehicle with a one-way rental. A trailer or tow dolly rental can increase your costs by $150 to $300, depending on the distance of your trip and whether you need a trailer hitch installed. Ask the rental company what costs are involved and what the best option is to move multiple vehicles.

Truck rental agencies generally offer various protection options (a Collision Damage Waiver) that can cost up to $30.00 for each day the truck is on the road. Before you agree to any additional coverage, check your own vehicle insurance coverage policy to see if it covers moving vehicle rental. Keep in mind that your auto insurance is primary, so if you don’t have coverage or don’t want to risk a claim on your existing auto policy, consider the protection product offered by the agency. Also, some credit cards offer various levels of protection as an included benefit. If you’re towing your personal vehicle, make sure the coverage extends to any potential damage to your car. Will it protect you in the event of collision? What is the deductible? Does the coverage extend to other states and countries if necessary? Does the coverage include property damage if your belongings are stolen or damaged in an accident?

What Else Do You Need?
Most rental agencies offer moving pads and dollies. You’ll need protective padding so furniture is protected during the move. Most companies will recommend 24-30 pads for a 3 to 4 bedroom house. Again, it’s better to have too many than too few. Pads also work to slide heavier items across the truck bed while protecting them from scratching. Dollies are critical to moving safely and quickly. Stack the heavier boxes on the bottom with lighter ones on top to prevent them from tipping over while you’re loading the truck.

How Far Will You Go?
Mileage charges are often not included in the vehicle rental. While the additional mileage charges may seem small, it soon adds up if you’re traveling a long distance.

Fuel Costs
When you pick up your truck, the gas tank should be full. Remember that you must return the vehicle with a full tank to avoid steep re-fuel charges by the rental agency. Make sure you ask about the vehicle’s gas consumption and work this into your moving costs. If you’re adding a trailer hitch and towing an extra vehicle, ask the rental agent how much extra this might cost to move. Weight plays a large part in fuel consumption.