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How to Rent a Truck for Your Move

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If you have the extra time to do the packing, loading, and driving on your own, you may be considering renting a truck for your move. A low-cost alternative to hiring full-service movers, truck rentals are a great way to save some money. However, just like hiring a moving company, renting a truck requires planning and research.

The following tips will help you understand the truck rental process so you can find the best service for the right price.


What size truck do you need?

The first step to renting a truck for your move is determining the size you require. This will depend on the size of your home and the volume of your belongings. While your needs will vary depending on how much furniture or other large items you must move, the following will give you an idea of the size truck you'll need:

  • 26': 4+ bedrooms


  • 24': 3- 4 bedrooms


  • 17': 2 - 3 bedrooms


  • 14': 1-2 bedrooms


  • 10': studio or small one-bedroom apartment

You can also call rental truck companies with a description of your shipment to get a recommendation for the truck size best suited for your move.

TIP: It's a good idea to rent a truck at least 10 to 15 percent larger than what you think you'll need to ensure you will have enough space.


Rental truck costs may be determined by:

  • The size of your truck


  • The distance you are traveling


  • The number of days you use the truck


  • The need for a one-way rental (long distance moves) vs. a local, round-trip rental


  • The time of year you move

Some rental companies will also charge additional fees or require you to replenish the fuel before returning the truck. When receiving estimates from rental truck companies, be sure to ask questions about any extra charges.

Get estimates

Before choosing any rental truck company, it's important to shop around. Call at least three to five companies to compare available services and costs.

Some questions to ask:

  • What size truck will I need? (give a description of your home size, volume of goods, and any especially large furniture items)


  • What is included in the price?


  • What is the cost per mile?


  • Are there extra costs per day I have the truck?


  • Is it more expensive for a one-way move?


  • Are there any discounts available for the time period I'm moving?


  • How much gas needs to be in the tank when I return the truck?


  • Can I cancel my reservation and how far in advance?


  • Are there any cancellation fees?


  • Do you require a deposit?

After receiving several estimates, conduct a background check of any truck rental service you are considering for hire to ensure they are reliable and legitimate. Read online customer reviews and check websites such as MovingScam.com and RipoffReport.com for complaints about unethical companies and poor business practices. Some examples of truck rental scams include requesting a deposit without holding a reservation, adding on hidden fees, and claiming false damage to a truck after its return.

Reserve the truck

Once you choose your company, call and make your reservation. Truck rental reservations should be made at least two weeks in advance. If you are moving during peak season (June through September) you should reserve the vehicle at least one month in advance. Moving services are in high demand during the summer months, and may book up quickly.

When reserving the truck, the company will need to know:

  • The size truck you wish to rent


  • The distance of your move


  • Your pickup and drop off locations


  • The date and time you plan on picking and dropping off the vehicle

Depending on your method of payment, you may be asked to pay a deposit upon reserving your truck.

Ask about insurance

Depending on your auto or home insurance policy, you may or may not be covered in case of an accident. Be sure to find out this out in advance, so you can inquire about purchasing coverage from your rental company. The agency will provide you with insurance on the vehicle for a small fee per day.

The company may also offer you additional coverage for damage to your shipment. Ask about your insurance options and the cost of each plan--make the optimal choice for distance of your move and the value of your shipment. Check with your homeowner's insurance for possible coverage of your goods before purchasing a policy from the rental agency.

Have the right tools

The truck isn't the only moving tool you'll require for your do-it-yourself relocation. You will need other materials to protect and safely load your goods, furniture and appliances into the truck. You can rent these items from your rental truck agency--ask about your options and prices when receiving your truck estimate.

Some essentials include:

  • Moving pads/blankets: These are used to wrap and protect furniture and appliances from scratches, dents and dings.


  • Dolly/hand truck: These useful apparatuses make it simple to maneuver your most cumbersome items, such as refrigerators, couches, and washers/dryers. You can even use them to transport high stacks of boxes to minimize your trips.


  • Straps: Straps are used to support heavy items carried manually to limit strain on your back.

Inspect the truck

When you arrive at the agency on pick-up day, be sure to thoroughly inspect the vehicle before signing any papers. Check the truck's exterior and interior for any damage, specifically scratches, dents, dings, or fabric rips and stains. Verify that any and all current damage to the vehicle is noted on the inspection sheet.

Also remember to check the truck's fuel level and odometer for mileage and ensure that is accurately recorded in the paperwork.

Sign the documents

After signing the rental agreement, make sure you keep a copy with you during your move. You should also have copies of the inspection report and insurance forms. After your move is complete, be sure to retain these documents in a safe place in case any dispute arises later.

Get truck rental quotes

Need a truck rental quote for your move? Fill out this fast and easy quote form to get FREE moving truck rental quotes today!

Nicole La Capria  Posted by Nicole La Capria on October 29, 2013

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