Renting a moving truck, even if it's only for a few days to get your belongings from your old home to your new home, should be handled in the same manner as renting a car for a vacation or a trip. When you rent a car for you and your family to get around on vacation, you will naturally check and make sure that everything vital on and inside the car is in working condition and that you're not putting yourself or your family in danger by potentially driving an unsafe vehicle.
At the same time, you should also be checking the exterior of the car (and your rental agent will likely do the same) to record any scratches or preexistent damage that is visible on the body of the car. That way, when you return it, the rental company can check it and compare the preexisting damage to anything that appears to be new. If you fail to check this beforehand, you might end up paying for damage that you didn't cause, which can really hit you hard in your wallet.
Renting a moving truck is very similar in these ways, as well as in a few other ways. When renting a moving truck for your next move, it's best to know which questions to ask and what to check before signing the papers and setting off for your destination, so you can make sure that you and your belongings make it to your new home in one piece and you don't end up regretting your decision later on down the road.
Check the Vehicle's Exterior
Like we mentioned in the previous paragraphs, the exterior of the moving truck should be the first thing you check when going through your vehicle checklist. Make a note of all of the preexisting scratches, dings, or dents and mark them down for the company to put on record. Have the rental agent who is handling your rental sign off on these before you take the vehicle so you don't get stuck catching the blame for them when you return the truck after your move.
Check Mileage and Gas Level on Vehicle
Along the same lines as checking for any preexisting exterior damage, also check the mileage on the truck and the level that the gas tank is filled at before you take the truck and make note of these on the lease form as well. Some moving truck rental companies will charge you per mile, so you want to note the mileage of the truck before you take it so you are only charged for the mileage you use and not for anyone else's.
Also, the company will make note of the gas level and will expect you to return the truck with the same amount of gas in the tank, so make sure that this level is correctly noted on the lease form so there is no confusion when it comes time to return the truck.
Test Drive the Truck and Make Sure it is in Working Condition
The next step after all of these things are noted is to actually get inside the truck and give it a quick test drive to make sure that everything is in working order. If anything goes wrong once you have the truck in your hands and you're in the middle of your move, it's going to be a real pain to call up the company and return the truck for a new, working one. So it's best to make sure everything is in tip-top shape before you pull out of the lot so you can avoid any headaches later on.
Check the brakes and make sure they are working correctly, and also check the steering as well. Steering and driving a big moving truck is more difficult than your average car or SUV, so you should try to get a feel of it beforehand.
It's also a good idea to check any and all peripheral components, such as the headlights, brake lights, windshield wipers and windows. Any damage should be noted on the lease form so that you don't end up liable for it when you return the truck.
Check the Loading Ramp
One of the most important things to check before renting your moving truck is the loading ramp that folds down from the back of the truck. The ramp is essential to the loading and unloading process, and without a fully functioning loading ramp it will be nearly impossible to get your heavy boxes and furniture on and off of the truck.
Ask the rental agent to show you how to properly enable the loading ramp and also how to safely retract it once you are finished using it, and in the process, make sure that all parts are functioning like they should, to prevent you from having to return the truck in the middle of your loading process.
Inquire About Where to Return the Truck
Some moving truck companies, if they are big companies with many locations across the country, will not require you to return the truck to the place you rented it from, but it's important to ask and find out the details regarding the truck's return beforehand. Typically, you can return the truck to the closest branch location to your new home, especially if you are moving a long distance from your old home.
Check the Size of the Truck's Storage Area
As you do a once-over of the truck and assess it, you should also survey the storage compartment area and make sure that it is large enough to fit all of your belongings. Moving truck companies will typically sell various sizes of moving trucks depending on the size of your move, so make sure the truck you rent fits your move. You don't want to get most of the way through loading the truck only to realize that you've run out of run.
Make Sure You Have Insurance Coverage
Many auto insurance policies do include options to cover any rentals, whether it's a rental car or a moving truck rental, so before you rent your moving truck make sure to check with your auto insurance company to see if this is an option that is available to you. If you do not have the option to insure the moving truck through your car insurance policy, then make sure to ask the rental company for a coverage plan for your rental. It will cost a few extra dollars, but it is most definitely worth it.
If you manage to follow these tips and play it safe when finding a moving truck to rent, then you should have all of your bases covered and you should be all set when the time comes to load up your moving truck and head on out towards your new home.