How Much Does a U-Haul Really Cost? We Found Out. - Moving Advice from HireAHelper (2024)

Table of Contents
Table of Contents How much does a U-Haul truck rental cost? Here are the U-Haul fees that make up one (1) U-Haul bill How much did it cost for us to rent a U-Haul for a day? How much do the bigger U-Haul trucks cost? Can you rent a U-Haul for more than a day? “Paying for a U-Haul in cash? We were told cash customers need to put down a $100 deposit or the estimated rental charges, whichever is more. (Yes, seriously.) This would eventually be reimbursed – minus our total cost – upon return of the vehicle.” Trailers and Hitches 101: How exactly does renting a U-Haul cargo trailer work? Here’s $25 Off Movers How much does it cost to get a U-Haul hitch installed on my vehicle? What’s the difference between the three different U-Haul trailers? How much do U-Haul U-Box containers cost? How much does U-Haul charge for mileage? “If returned with less than 1/4 tank, I agree to pay a $30.00 service fee.” What are the mileage rates for a long-distance/one-way U-Haul rental? How do U-Haul gas fees work? “There are no formal military, senior, or student discounts at U-Haul. However, it’s up to the discretion of the U-Haul store you’re renting at if they offer it for asking.” Do I have to buy insurance with my U-Haul? “The difference between a move that takes you all day, breaks your back and your friendships, and keeps your stuff out of the hands of amateurs could be as little as $200 … Movers may be the most value you can get from any single add-on.” Damages and cleaning fees U-Haul Equipment How much does moving labor cost? Are movers actually worth it? What actually happens at the U-Haul store after you reserve online or over the phone Paying for a U-Haul in cash? The Bottom Line
Updated for 2023

We’ve all seen it: that $19.95 per day deal that’s advertised on the side of seemingly every U-Haul truck and van across the country. And that price looks mighty nice.

But just like renting a truck is only one small part of your move, that $19.95 U-Haul rate is likely to end up being just a fraction of your final bill. We know, because we went out to rent a U-Haul with one question in mind: how much does a U-Haul really cost?

Here’s absolutely everything we learned.

Table of Contents

  1. How much does a U-Haul truck rental cost?
  2. How much did it cost for us to rent a U-Haul for a day?
  3. How exactly does renting a U-Haul cargo trailer work?
  4. How much does it cost to get a U-Haul hitch installed on my vehicle?
  5. What’s the difference between the three different U-Haul trailers?
  6. How much does U-Haul charge for mileage?
  7. How do U-Haul gas fees work?
  8. What are my U-Haul insurance options?
  9. Average U-Haul Equipment Purchase Prices
  10. How much does moving labor cost?
  11. Other Factors That Affect Your U-Haul Cost

How much does a U-Haul truck rental cost?

After trying to rent a truck on their website, we found out the $19.95 price point refers to local moves only, not a “one-way” move, where you drop off at a different location – aka a long-distance move. (More on those prices later.)

The famous $19.95 price point is also exclusive to any one of their three smallest options:

  • 8’ U-Haul pickup truck
  • 9’ U-Haul cargo van
  • 10’ U-Haul Rental truck (what we rented)
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“To get your actual U-Haul cost, you need to add up all of their other fees that come with renting a U-Haul.”

And most importantly, the $19.95 only accounts for U-Haul’s “rental truck fee”. (And while this price is consistent for local moves, mileage rate and taxes can vary based on location.)

Here are the U-Haul fees that make up one (1) U-Haul bill

  • Rental truck fee ($19.95/day — subject to availability)
  • Mileage fee: rate varies by regional location/distance driven (Doesn’t apply to trailers)
  • Damage protection fees (aka insurance)
  • Fuel costs (Doesn’t apply to trailers)
  • Environmental fees (Doesn’t apply to trailers)
  • Equipment rentals
  • Miscellaneous fees (e.g., Cleaning, toll, damage, parking, convenience, drop-off fees)
  • Taxes
  • https://blog.hireahelper.com/wp-admin/edit.php

How much did it cost for us to rent a U-Haul for a day?

Our final cost was $52.40 for the most bare-bones rental imaginable.

Below we break down how U-Haul gets their prices, what else we could have bought instead, as well as what we had to do to get our quotes.

How much do the bigger U-Haul trucks cost?

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It’s not possible to pinpoint the exact cost of a specific truck size because mileage and tax rates vary, but local U-Haul truck costs are consistent everywhere. There are sites that ballpark individual truck size costs, but if you want an estimate based on user-reported, real-time prices for U-Haul moves, click on the graph below.

Can you rent a U-Haul for more than a day?

Yes, you can (usually) extend your rental at the same daily rate if you need it longer than 24 hours (for a local move). All we had to do was call before the truck was due back and ask the store for an extension.

There’s also no limit to the number of days we could extend our rental. The only exception would be if our truck was reserved for the days we wanted. That’s why it’s best to extend your rental when you make your original reservation. Otherwise, you have to return your truck and get a new rental truck that isn’t reserved for the additional days you want.

If you wanted to extend your rental to multiple days and there were no rental trucks available, U-Haul would likely sell you on one of their moving containers as an alternative, if those are available in your area.

“Paying for a U-Haul in cash? We were told cash customers need to put down a $100 deposit or the estimated rental charges, whichever is more. (Yes, seriously.) This would eventually be reimbursed – minus our total cost – upon return of the vehicle.”

For long-distance moves, depending on the distance, U-Haul assigns a minimum number of days with your truck. This might just be a single day for a shorter distance like 150 miles or less. We asked and yes, you can add days to your long-distance rental — but only with advance coordination with your local U-Haul store, and only as long as your truck is still available.

Beware: U-Haul tacks on an ADDITIONAL $40 fee to every day you keep your truck after five days.

Here are the daily U-Haul rates for adding days to a U-Haul long-distance truck rental:

  • U-Haul trucks – $40 per day
  • U-Haul trailers – $20 per day
  • U-Haul towing devices – $20 per day

By the way, there are no discounts for returning the moving truck earlier than the minimum assigned number of days, but you still can return it earlier. Virtually the only advantages would be that it would reduce the likelihood of anything happening to the truck while in your care, and to get it off your to-do list.

Trailers and Hitches 101: How exactly does renting a U-Haul cargo trailer work?

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We didn’t rent a cargo trailer with our truck, but we got all the info straight from U-Haul.

There are three types of trailers U-Haul offers:

  • Cargo
  • Utility
  • Car carrier (Available only at some locations)

For smaller loads or something super fragile (or heck, even quarantined), U-Haul offers trailers that hitch to cars and trucks, pending location availability.U-Haul likes to say they’re perfect for moving a dorm room.

Like their trucks, U-Haul advertises these as being as cheap as $14.95 (not including tax), and just like the trucks, that quote is only for the smallest versions of them AND only if you’re moving locally. There’s no limit to the number of days you can keep them, as long as availability permits. You generally get five days to use a U-Haul trailer for long-distance moves. Your quote will be based on your start and end locations.

Here’s $25 Off Movers

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All trailers are subject to regular U-Haul fees (minus gas and mileage) and – most importantly – come with an installation fee if you don’t have the proper hitch.

How much does it cost to get a U-Haul hitch installed on my vehicle?

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All types of U-Haul trailers require a proper hitch and lighting to hook to your vehicle.

You can use your own hitch if it’s compatible – a Class 2 or Class 3 with a 2-inch hitch ball (a Class 1 is kinda like a bike rack hitch, in case you’re curious). If you don’t have a proper hitch, you must have one installed. You can either get that done on your own, or make an appointment to have U-Haul install a hitch for a fee roughly around $100 or greater.

But note that U-Haul won’t install third-party hitches. Of course, trailer hitches and installation is an additional fee to your U-Haul rental bill.

For the heck of it, we asked U-Haul how much it would cost to get one of our cars modded for towing a trailer, and for pieces and installation. We were quoted $509.07 online to modmy incredible 2014 Kia Soul.

  • Hitch: $149.95
  • Hitch lifetime warranty: $5
  • Ball mount $24.95
  • Hitch ball $12.95
  • Pine & clip: $2.95
  • Wiring: $89.95
  • 2-year wiring service plan: $10
  • Installation fee: $180
  • Taxes: $33.32
  • Total after taxes: $509.07

The U-Haul rep I spoke with about hitches told me that the cost of installation depends on the complexity of the installation. Installation tends to be cheaper on older cars because the electrical wiring is simpler than with more expensive, newer cars.

(Fun fact: we were actually quoted a better price over the phone – $458.80 – so you may want to give U-Haul a call, as well as run an online quote for the hitch.)

Either way, this isn’t exactly a steal, given that doesn’t even include the rental. But at least you’ll be good to go for the future. You will be buying all the pieces you need, but expect to get up-charged versus if you found the pieces elsewhere.

Let it be known that technically, you can actually rent a trailer for your U-Haul truck rental (which already has a hitch and lighting hook up on it) if for whatever reason you needed a little additional space.

What’s the difference between the three different U-Haul trailers?

There are actually three different kinds of trailers you can typically rent. (Note: there might be more at an official U-Haul dealership.)

U-Haul Cargo Trailers

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U-Haul cargo trailers officially come in three different sizes and come with a built-in, lockable latch, so they’re secure.

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None of them generally come built with the U-Haul “EZ Ramp,” so prepare for that.

How much does a U-Haul Cargo Trailer cost?

For local moves, U-Haul trailer rentals generally cost as little as $14.95 before fees, and as much as $29.95 for the biggest size, after fees.

Without any hitch installation and for single-day use, the smallest cargo trailer (4’x8′) with no ramp was quoted to us at exactly $14.95, before taxes or miscellaneous fees. For their biggest cargo trailer (6’x12′), it was $29.95 under the same stipulations.

For a long-distance move, that quote goes out the window. Our quote from Florida to Texas for the smallest trailer (4′x8′), minus the taxes and miscellaneous fees and for up to seven days, was $114.00 plus tax. And the largest cargo trailer (6′x12′) was $257.00 plus tax! This is exactly how your U-Haul price can skyrocket fast.

Don’t forget the hitch installation charges if you need it, which adds another couple hundred, at minimum, depending on the year/make/model of your car.

U-Haul Utility Trailers

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Utility trailers are needed when you have to transport something tall or oddly shaped. So when you move your arcade cabinet (okay, probably a refrigerator), you can strap it to this and haul it behind your vehicle.

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Bring your own ramp, though, because only the 5′ x 9′ and 6′ x 12′ utility trailers come with U-Haul’s fold-out “EZ ramps”. (Careful, they rent a 6′ x 12′ trailer without a ramp, too.)

How much does a U-Haul Utility Trailer cost?

For local moves, prices generally begin at $14.95 and go up to $34.95 for the biggest size. The daily local rates don’t vary.

We were only able to get a quote for a long-distance move for a 5′ x 9′ Utility Trailer because it turns out the 4′ x7′, 5′ x 8′, and 6′ x12′ Utility Trailers are only available for local and roundtrip moves. Our quote was $153 plus the rental fee and taxes for five (5) days from Clearwater, FL to Arlington, TX. (Keep in mind this doesn’t include optional damage coverage or if you need to have a hitch installed.)

You can expect both larger and smaller utility trailers to scale roughly the same in cost as U-Haul Cargo Trailers.

U-Haul Vehicle Trailer

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Finally, if you need to tow a vehicle and aren’t looking to ship your car, check U-Haul’s car towing site, and maybe also call ahead to see if the U-Haul near you has any car and motorcycle trailers available.

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This type of move can definitely save you some cash compared to normal car shipping, but keep in mind that do-it-yourself car transport is not for moving rookies and requires a lot of time and some skill.

How much does a U-Haul Vehicle Trailer cost?

For our local move, U-Haul trailer rental rates for a tow dolly for a front-wheel drive vehicle started at $44.95/day and an auto transport trailer started at $54.95/day.

To get an idea for a hypothetical long-distance move, we came prepared with two faraway ZIP Codes. Before fees, our quote from Florida to Texas was quoted as $80 for a tow dolly and $222 for an auto transport trailer for 5 days. We thought this was pretty cheap, as long as you’re up for driving it yourself.

“…(W)e had to reproduce the same or another form of payment in person, regardless of what we used online to reserve it. Makes sense, but it might be a stumbling block for some people.”

Keep in mind that hitch installation, taxes and other fees are not included in this quote, which as you can see, can add hundreds more to this cost.

Oh, by the way, the rep told us U-Haul won’t let you rent any trailer of any kind if your vehicle doesn’t have a hardtop, SUV and Jeep included. They also strongly recommend you not exceed 55mph with any of this stuff attached to your vehicle.

How much do U-Haul U-Box containers cost?

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We also didn’t actually rent a storage container but were told they are available for long-distance moves. Here was our quote, though:

My U-Box Container Quote for Clearwater, FL to Arlington, TX

U-Box Container that fits about 1.5 rooms (+1-month use): $99.95
2-dozen furniture pads: FREE
Gentle ride shipping (guaranteed delivery 13 days after pickup): $1,242
One-way transit fuel cost: FREE
Truck delivery: $115
Subtotal (before taxes): $1,456.95

However, according to Moving101’s real-time, user-reported prices, the average price for a U-Box move is $2,755.

For a complete breakdown on all U-Box moving container costs before you make your U-Haul U-Box reservation, check out the Moving101 U-Box page.

How much does U-Haul charge for mileage?

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In general, the price per mile is region-specific. Mileage rates are also higher for local moves.

For a rental truck:

  • Our quote was $1.09/mile for Los Angeles on a Wednesday. On a Saturday, the quote we got was $1.39/mile.
  • In the Midwest, it’s more common to find price points of $0.79 (for a truck) or $0.69 (for a van or pick-up) per mile on a weekday. On a Saturday, we found these rates were $1.49/mile and $0.99/mile, respectively.
  • Meanwhile, the mileage rate for either U-Haul rental pick-up trucks or U-Haul vans are typically $0.69–$0.79/mile on a weekday and $0.79–$0.99/mile on a Saturday.

We drove the U-Haul all of eight miles from and back to the U-Haul store to take pictures. For this, we were charged $0.99/mile, for a total of $7.92.

Imagine, now, how much your mileage fee will stack if you drive your rental 20, 50, maybe even 100 or more miles to and from the rental location? That’s why some call it “consumer-unfriendly“. Let’s hope there are U-Haul coupons out there somewhere.

“If returned with less than 1/4 tank, I agree to pay a $30.00 service fee.”

-U-Haul customer agreement receipt

What are the mileage rates for a long-distance/one-way U-Haul rental?

If you’re moving long-distance, a certain number of miles is accounted for and rolled into your final rate. There are technically no mileage limits, but if you drive more than this number, you’ll be charged $0.40/mile, which seems to be consistent for long-distance rentals regardless of location.

Remember, a one-way/long-distance to U-Haul simply means dropping it off at a different location than the one you rented it from. Technically, this could mean as near as a town over. Keep this in mind when typing in “U-Haul near me” into Google… just return it to where you got it.

Also, mileage is cheaper for long-distance moves, but other fees are way, way more expensive, so make sure you stick to local (in-town) rates, if possible.

Do U-Hauls have unlimited miles?

With U-Haul, there’s no limit to the number of miles you are allowed to drive.

But remember, for local, in-town rentals, miles are never included in the rate – you’re charged per mile. For long-distance moves, you’ll be charged $0.40/mile for anything beyond the expected mileage that U-Haul declares is necessary for your move.

If you do need to put on some extra miles, you’re better off looking at Penske or Budget. This area is where the $19.95 price promise really falls apart, unless you’re moving something across the street from your U-Haul store.

How do U-Haul gas fees work?

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Simply put, you will pay for any gas you use. You gotta bring it back with at least as much gas as it started with.

The U-Haul clerk marked down the exact mileage and gave us their daily rate for gasoline. We had the choice of filling up what we used ourselves out in the wild, or paying U-Haul $6.25 a gallon (!) to do it for us after we returned it as a “convenience fee.”

And heed this warning straight from our receipt: “If returned with less than 1/4 tank, I agree to pay a $30.00 service fee.”

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We spoke with a U-Haul rep who told us there’s no universal rule at U-Haul for this convenience fee, so this may be location-specific. (Oh, and in case you were wondering, U-Haul usually won’t reimburse you if you return the truck with more gas than you had to start with, so easy does it at the gas pump.)

Protip: Here’s how to save money on your rental truck’s gas.

How much mileage (MPG) does a U-Haul truck get?

A 10′ U-Haul truck should get in the neighborhood of about 7–10 mpg, although this can vary depending on what size truck you rent. The 15′ trucks and bigger are equipped with a fuel economy meter on the dashboard that shows you whether or not you’re getting the “Best MPG” in real-time. Our 10-footer had one too.

Protip: Normally, U-Haul is supposed to give you a truck with a full tank, but the tank can have less than this, and you’re only required to replace the gas you use. (We were given a truck with 5/16 of a tank of gas.) Make sure your truck’s tank is full when you take it off the lot. And by full, we mean full! (The fuel tank capacity for the 10′ truck is 33 gallons according to the equipment contract.)

When you pick up your truck, your U-Haul rep might think “full” means the needle on the gas gauge is more or less at full. But when you drop it off, that same rep will likely insist it isn’t full if there isn’t gas splashing out from under the gas cap.

What are my U-Haul insurance options?

U-Haul has two (2) main kinds of insurance. They’re called SafeMove and SafeMove Plus. Just like everything else, the added cost varies depending on whether you’re move is local or long-distance.

Keep in mind that absolutely no U-Haul insurance covers damages due to …improper packing, normal shifting of cargo in transit or theft of cargo“. When in doubt, U-Haul will probably win out.

Here are the differences between their two insurances.

SafeMove

SafeMove is basically coverage for if someone hits your truck. It gives you:

  • Damage waiver: Covers most accident damage to the rental equipment (doesn’t include collision with an overhead object)
  • Cargo protection: For loss or damage to the stuff in the vehicle (cargo)
  • Medical/life protection: Life coverage for the people in the cab of a U-Haul rental truck

You’ll have to look to your own insurance if you hit someone else, or get Safemove Plus, which covers you against damage done to another vehicle. And your stuff inside is only covered if you get hit, there’s a fire, a windstorm, or if your truck literally overturns.

“There are no formal military, senior, or student discounts at U-Haul. However, it’s up to the discretion of the U-Haul store you’re renting at if they offer it for asking.”

SafeMove Plus

SafeMove Plus is basically the coverage for if you were to cause an accident:

  • Coverage for accidental damage of any kind
  • Limited coverage for the stuff in the vehicle (cargo coverage)
  • Life coverage for the people in the vehicle
  • Supplemental liability coverage

It covers overhead damage, like the kind you see on YouTube where people slam their trucks into low clearances, as well as tire protection. (You know, the two most likely things to go wrong if anything were to go wrong.) And as a “safeguard” to your personal insurance, if you were to cause an accident or mess up their equipment somehow, this covers up the first million dollars (literally) of losses.

For our tiny little “move,” we were scared by U-Haul customer service into picking up U-Haul’s regular SafeMove coverage for $14. SafeMove Plus would have cost us $28.

Do I have to buy insurance with my U-Haul?

No, you don’t have to buy insurance of any kind to rent a U-Haul.

Here’s the thing though. While you’re statistically in the clear, U-Haul’s policies are perfectly crafted to screw you if absolutely anything were to go wrong.

  • Your personal auto insurance policy most likely does not cover damages to rental trucks
  • Your credit card likely does not cover any damages to rental trucks
  • You are responsible for damages even if it’s not your fault, including things like vandalism
  • Some stores told us you have to pay U-Haul the exact moment you return the vehicle for any and all damages, while others told us it goes through insurance — so, uh, probably ask

Keep in mind that U-Haul only offers SafeMove for their rental trucks. Pickup trucks and vans have their own type of insurance they call Collision Damage Waiver (CDW).

The difference between a move that takes you all day, breaks your back and your friendships, and keeps your stuff out of the hands of amateurs could be as little as $200 … Movers may be the most value you can get from any single add-on.”

U-Haul also offers SafeTrip for $5 extra per day, which means if you need roadside assistance they’ll send someone out to help. Kind of sad that you have to pay extra for this, but the option is there.

Bonus Insurance: SafeTow

SafeTow is U-Haul’s coverage for trailers, tow dollies, and auto transports. It’s available at different coverage levels from $8 per day up to $16 per day. Here’s what it covers:

  • Damage to the rental trailer or towing device
  • Damage to your cargo or vehicle while being transported with a U-Haul rental trailer, auto transport or tow dolly
  • Medical and life protection for you in case of an accident (passengers are covered only if they’re riding in the passenger area)

Damages and cleaning fees

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Also, if you leave some kind of a noticeable mess, they will charge you up to $25. Maybe don’t eat while you drive … or transport hay.

U-Haul Equipment

We didn’t rent any equipment or buy any boxes or supplies, but we definitely had the option!

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Sure, it’s possible to move without renting (or buying) any special equipment. But even if you hire a crew of movers to come in with all their hand trucks and dollies to load (and unload) your truck, you’ll at minimum still need your own blankets to protect your belongings.

Here’s how much the stuff cost for us.

Average* U-Haul equipment purchase prices:

  • Padlock: $4.95 to $16.96 (Best value is a 4-pack for $10) unless you want to get really fancy with a $49.95 braided steel cable lock
  • Stretch wrap: $9.49
  • Boxes: $1.09 to $16.95 per box (Wide varieties available)
  • Tie Down Rope: $3.95
  • Straps: $9.95 to $15.95
  • Roll of packing tape: $3.95
  • Furniture dolly: $19.95
  • Hand dolly: $75.75 online (but a different model was on sale in the store for $49.95)
  • Furniture pads: $7.95 each

Keep in mind that you can rent some equipment versus buying it. U-Haul has furniture pads for $5 per half dozen, as well as furniture dollies ($7 for local and $12 for one-way/long-distance moves) and appliance dollies ($10 for local and $15 for one-way/long-distance moves).

*These prices came from U-Haul’s website and may vary by location. You may want to check your local store first before buying online in case their prices are cheaper.

How much does moving labor cost?

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When you go to a U-Haul shop, it’s likely they’ll try and sell you on movers. Even the inside of their trucks have advertisem*nts for moving labor all over them.

How much are U-Haul movers? Movers prices will vary dramatically, depending on the number of hours booked, how many movers you book, whether they are doing a load, unload, or both, and how soon you need them. U-Haul’s rate is for two helpers, and there’s a two-hour minimum per location (your starting point and end point). But if both locations are near each other, you may be able to combine the loading and unloading at both locations into one two-hour block.

Movers through U-Haul cost as little as $200 to as much as $5,000, which is why you need to get your own moving quote to compare against theirs.

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The way U-Haul’s movers work is that they have a network of local move helpers that sign up to receive job requests via their marketplace. But unlike HireAHelper’s $1,000 guarantee if anything goes wrong or gets broken during a mover, with U-Haul you’re mostly taking your chances. They’ll connect you with movers, but it’s beetween you and them after that.

We found this part of their terms a little unsettling:

“Furthermore, the Moving Help request and its acceptance and if applicable, any resulting provision of Services, are solely between You and the Moving Helper. Therefore, when and where there are any claims, demands, liabilities, damages or losses incurred as a result of the same, You, your heirs, successors and assigns, do hereby waive and release Us (Our officers, directors, agents, parent, subsidiaries, affiliated companies and employees) from any such claims, demands, liabilities, damages or losses.

You acknowledge and agree that both You and the Moving Helper each have the right to pursue a claim against one another in a Court of competent jurisdiction or in another similar forum of dispute resolution.”

This, compared to cheap movers through HireAHelper, which provides some insurance for free (and $1,000 service guarantee if anything goes wrong), plus additional insurance starting at $12.

And in case you were wondering, for us to add movers to our made-up, on-the-spot move, U-Haul quoted us $312.

Are movers actually worth it?

The difference between a move that takes you all day, breaks your back and your friendships, and keeps your stuff out of the hands of amateurs could be as little as $200, depending on how much stuff you have. Movers may be the most value you can get from any single add-on.

What actually happens at the U-Haul store after you reserve online or over the phone

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We went online and used a credit card to book a 10′ rental truck, and we thought the booking was all paid up. But it wasn’t —our card was just used to make the reservation.

While our vehicle was reserved online (thank goodness), we had to reproduce the same or another form of payment in person (cash was acceptable as well), regardless of what we used online to reserve it. Makes sense, but might be a stumbling block for some people.

After that, U-Haul put a hold on our bank account upfront for all the estimated costs (rental fee, environmental fee, tax, and mileage). They asked us how many miles they thought we’d drive for our local move and added that to the total cost for the hold. If you end up driving less, they’ll charge you less in the end. If you end up driving more, they’ll charge more. Plus they’ll add any applicable miscellaneous fees.

When we returned with the vehicle, they checked out the truck before charging us to verify gas level and mileage (and probably to check for damages). We were given a paper receipt with the total costs. Because we used a debit card already on file, no further action was needed.

Paying for a U-Haul in cash?

We were told cash customers need to put down a $100 deposit or the estimated rental charges, whichever is more. (Yes, seriously.) This would eventually be reimbursed – minus our total cost – upon return of the vehicle.

Here’s how the cash payment breakdown works, straight from their website:

“If you’re paying with cash, the following is due when you pick up your equipment:*

  • Local/in-town truck: $100 or estimated rental charges (whichever is greater)
  • One-way truck: $100 plus rental rate

*Cargo vans and pickup trucks must be reserved with a credit card. Deposits cannot be made in cash.

The total estimated charges for your rental are due when you pick up your equipment regardless of your method of payment. Payment can be made by credit card, debit card or cash.

Cash is accepted for pickup and van rentals. However, a valid credit or debit card with a major credit card logo will also need to be presented in the name of the renter.”

Haggling and U-Haul coupons

There are no formal military, senior, or student discounts at U-Haul. However, it’s up to the discretion of the U-Haul store you’re renting at if they offer it for asking. The rep let it leak that anywhere between 10-15% discount is what they’re allowed to apply to an order if they decide.

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

Wanting to test the age limits, we sent one of our 20-year-old team members to officially do the honors of picking up the vehicle. No matter, as U-Haul says you need only be 18 years old with a valid driver’s license, and just 16 years old to rent a trailer attachment.

Our final cost for our U-Haul was $52.40.

  • Rental Fee: $19.95
  • Mileage Charge: $7.92
  • SafeMove Insurance: $14.00
  • Environmental Fee: $1
  • 1.6 Gallons of Gas from U-Haul: $7.51
  • Tax on Rental: $2.02

Total: $52.40

We got a 10′ truck, U-Haul’s smallest with no ramp, and drove it a “colossal” eight miles. We bought the cheapest insurance, absolutely zero equipment and zero labor, and got hit with no other fees (since we didn’t actually put anything in the truck).

Our bill was still almost three times the advertised price.

Of course, $52.40 isn’t a bad deal, depending on what you need it for. The problem is that if you needed only a quick lift to pick something up, $50+ can render a lot of good deals useless.

How Much Does a U-Haul Really Cost? We Found Out. - Moving Advice from HireAHelper (23)

On the other hand, if you were seriously moving, odds are great you’d drive many more miles, and your mileage would probably be way higher, given you probably aren’t hauling air. And if it’s during the busy moving season, the rental rate will likely be greater than $19.95.

An extremely conservative estimate for a very small, local move is probably closer to around $125 for the rental. You’ll realistically need one of the larger trucks for a real move.

And that is strictly local. For long-distance moves, even a small load will be much closer to $1,000 or more. And that is assuming you don’t need a hitch installed.

The Bottom Line

Nobody pays $19.95 plus tax. How much you finally shell out will depend on your circ*mstances, your preferences and your requirements. Keep the above in mind as you plan out your move. You’ll probably save at least enough for some extra coffee on the drive to your new home!

How Much Does a U-Haul Really Cost? We Found Out. - Moving Advice from HireAHelper (2024)
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