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How Much Does it Cost to Rent a Truck

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If you have chosen a do-it-yourself move, renting a moving truck is a great option that can save you a lot of money. But just how much money will it save you as opposed to hiring a moving company? More importantly, how much does it cost to rent a truck? The price that you'll pay will be dependent on several different factors, including how big of a truck you need and how far you're moving.

Read on to find out the different variables that go into the total price of renting a moving truck.

Prices vary based on truck size

There are five different sizes of moving trucks available for rent, and the one you choose will depend on how much stuff you'll be moving. The smallest size (10-foot) is typically used to move one-bedroom or studio apartments, and the largest size (26-foot) can be used to move a four-bedroom house.

Here is an example of the price breakdown for each truck size, according to prices taken from U-Haul:
  • 10-foot: $19.95

  • 14-foot: $29.95

  • 17-foot: $29.95

  • 24-foot: $39.95

  • 26-foot: $39.95
These prices only represent the base price that you will pay, without considering mileage fees and other charges. When you rent a truck, it's important to remember that the price you see advertised is often not the price you will end up paying.

Mileage fees and insurance

When you rent a moving truck, you will typically pay one flat rate based on the size of the truck, and then another amount when you return the truck based on how many miles you drove it. You can also choose to purchase insurance.

Here is how these extra fees are usually assessed:
  • Mileage = money. The rental company will charge a specific amount for each mile driven with the truck. While this amount will vary depending on the rental company and even the day of the week that you rent, it typically ranges from $0.79 per mile to as much as $1.29 per mile. The price for mileage will be directly related to how far your move is, which makes rental trucks an extremely affordable option for people moving only a few miles away.

  • Don't forget insurance! While insurance is optional, all rental companies will offer it to you. The insurance will protect against any accidents that may occur while you're driving the truck. It's a smart choice to make, especially if you're going to be driving on busy roads. This fee will vary with each company, but U-Haul charges $15 per day for liability insurance and $29 per day for full coverage.

  • Rental tax and other fees. These will be added to the total when you return the truck and will vary from company to company. Often, the rental tax is used in place of sales tax and will be anywhere from 6 percent to 10 percent of the total cost of the rental. Some companies like U-Haul also add an "Environmental Tax" to their rentals, which amounts to $1 per day.

Filling up the gas tank

When you rent a truck, they will mark the gas level when you leave the lot and it's your responsibility to return it with the same amount of gas when you're finished with your move. That means if the tank is half-full when you rent the truck and you use the remaining gas during your trip, you must refill it to at least half a tank before returning it.

If you fail to refill the tank, the company will refill it with gas of their own when you return it. But you won't get out of it that easily! They'll still charge you for the gas that they used, and they will often charge a much higher price per gallon than you'll get at your local gas station.

Figuring out the cost

While it's hard to predict the cost for renting a moving truck without knowing the variables involved with your particular move, we can set up a hypothetical scenario that you can then apply to your own move to figure out the cost:
  • Size and distance of the move: Let's say you're moving a three-bedroom house to another similar-sized home that's 20 miles away. To move all of your belongings comfortably and efficiently you rent a 24-foot truck, which will cost you $39.95.

  • Driving to your new home: You rented the truck on a Saturday, so you are charged a weekend fee for miles, which is $1.29 per mile. Driving roughly 50 miles in total (going to your new home and back, plus the miles in between picking up the truck and dropping it off) you'll be charged $64.50 for mileage.

  • Gas costs: You rented the truck with a full tank of gas and used around 10 gallons during your move. At an average of $3.24 per gallon for gas, it will cost you $32.40 to refill the tank.

  • Plus insurance and tax: Don't forget to add the $29 you'll pay for full coverage insurance (it's better to be safe than sorry) and the eight percent tax, which amounts to $3.20.
Adding up all of the costs outlined above, it will cost you $169.05 to rent a truck for your move. When all is said and done, it may be more than you expected, but it may also be less than what you'd pay for full-service movers.

Robert Moreschi  Posted by Robert Moreschi on November 8, 2013

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