Updated on 2/10/17

Once you’ve decided that a DIY move is the way to go, you will need to rent a moving truck. Below is the process you can expect when renting a moving truck. Before you rent a truck, remember:

  • There is a minimum age requirement for renting a truck, depending on the company. U-Haul requires renters to be at least 18 years old.
  • You (or the driver) must have a valid driver’s license. Additionally, you may need a third type of identification such as a credit card.
  • There may be a fee for any additional drivers (including spouse or family member), however this is not the case with U-Haul. Additional people can drive the vehicle for no extra charge.

Step 1: Choose a company. Choosing a reputable moving truck rental company is important to ensuring you have a seamless and worry-free move. Ask friends and family who have moved recently what their experiences were like, check out online review websites, and visit the websites of each of the companies you are considering.

Step 2: Determine what size truck you need. Most times, the moving truck company can help you with this. Choosing the size truck you need will be dependent on the number of fully-furnished rooms in your home. This PDF from NAVSUP will give you a better idea of how many cubic feet you will need. A 10-foot truck will typically fit a studio apartment, while a 26-foot truck will fit four bedrooms or more.

rent a moving truck

Step 3: Choose the dates to pick up and drop off the truck; if you are moving cross-country, allow plenty of time in between to make the drive.  You may be asked to select a pickup and drop off time. The more complete  information you provide, the more likely it is that your reservation will be satisfied.

Step 4: Reserve your truck. This can be done by calling the nearest rental facility, calling a 1-800 reservation line, or on the companies website in most cases. Check with your company specifically. Note that it is very important to make your reservation in advance in order to ensure availability of your requested equipment. Keep in mind that the busiest time to rent a moving truck is on weekends, and at the beginning and end of the month. If possible, avoid these times to ensure your reservation, and sometimes you may even get a discounted rate.

Step 5: Select additional insurance coverage.  During the reservation you may be asked if you would like to purchase additional insurance coverage for your move. This is a good idea, because most of the time moving truck rentals are not covered on your  auto policy. If you choose not to purchase insurance you will be held liable of any uncovered damage that occurs. Check out our post for more information on insurance check out our post “Better Safe Than Sorry- Insurance for Your Move“.

Step 6: Reserve additional equipment. It’s important to plan ahead for the loading and loading of the moving truck. Will you need to rent a dolly or furniture pads? Now is the time to rent these items if so to guarantee they are available the day of your move. They can often be rented at the same place you are renting your truck.

Step 7: Read user information. Safety is very important, so make sure that you have enough time to review the safety materials before moving day. Many companies provide safety resources such as user guides and manuals online for your convenience. Here is an example from U-Haul.

Step 8: Pick up truck on designated day. Arrive at your rental center on time. You will need to present proper documentation such as a valid driver’s license and credit card. You may need to pay a deposit when picking up truck, or a hold may be placed on your account until you drop the truck back off on the designated day. Refer to your agreement for the specifics.

Step 9: Complete your move. Pack up and get moving! Check back at some of our other posts for some help at this stage:

Step 10: Clean Truck and Refill Gas. Make sure you have removed all of your belongings before returning the truck. in many cases, you will be asked to return the truck with a full tank of gas, or the same amount of gas in the truck when you received it. If you are unsure, refer to your agreement paperwork.

Step 11: Return truck on designated return day to designated drop-off location. Be sure that you are aware of any cutoff times for returning your truck. There may be fees if you return your truck late or at the wrong location.

Step 12: Pay for the truck. Although your credit card information may have been collected when you picked up the truck, you will actually be paying for the truck when you drop it off. Avoid any additional fees by returning the truck as stated in the agreement.

Step 13: Leave a review. Chances are that other DIY movers will find your review very helpful. Take a few moments to review your experience with the moving company on your favorite review website or the company’s website.

Do you have any special tips or considerations for renting a moving truck? If so let us know below in the comments section!

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12 Responses to How to Rent a Moving Truck

  1. John says:

    Why can’t l make an on-line reservation?

    • Paige E says:

      Hi John, you can make a reservation online at http://www.uhaul.com. On the main page, you will see the box to enter your pick up date and location. You will have to click on “Get Rates” to continue the reservation process. If you are having issues with the online process please contact U-Haul at 1-800-468-4285 to make a reservation.

  2. Jane Fairfax says:

    We will definitely benefit from this list. You never know how much stuff you have until you have to move it, and we need a truck for sure. I am glad I found this list because I needed advice for this venture. Hopefully using this information will help make the move smoother.

  3. toruna says:

    What docoments are required. When. Renting. A uhaul. Truck

    • Paige E says:

      You will need a valid driver’s license and another form of meaningful assurance. This could be another form of ID or phone number. You can find this information in this blog post, as well.

  4. Dennis says:

    What size and type of truck do I need to move a King Size mattress and frame and headboard?

  5. Tiffany lofstedt says:

    Don’t have a credit card can I pay in cash to rent a truck


    • Tiffany lofstedt says:

      We only need it to move from Benson il to eureka il

    • Paige E says:

      Tiffany, You can pay with cash at the end of the rental, but a reservation must be made with either a credit or debit card. For more information on this, check out the Frequently Asked Questions page on the U-Haul website:

  6. Karen says:

    How many miles per gallon does a 14 foot truck get? Moving from phoenix to Colorado

    • Paige E says:

      Karen, a 15′ U-Haul truck has the fuel tank capacity of 40 gallons and gets 10 mpg. It takes unleaded fuel. You can find out more information about this moving truck here.

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