Move Yo’ Self
How you feel about U-Haul says a lot about you. (You probably didn’t know when you opened this review that you were taking a personality test, did you?)
If you plan on using U-Haul, you’re the type of person who likes doing things yourself. You’re confident, capable, fiscally responsible, self-sufficient, and hardworking. (Okay, just kidding, we don’t know anything about personality tests.)
But seriously, DIY moving is considerably cheaper than full-service moving, and U-Haul is no exception. You rent the U-Haul truck and you take it from there, but it’ll be on you to load things up and drive your stuff.
What you should know about U-Haul truck rentals
U-Haul is a moving truck franchise that operates all over the country. It’s all about renting a truck, loading it up, and driving it to your new destination. U-Haul is the do-it-yourself moving option for people looking to take the most frugal road.
If you’re physically (and emotionally) equipped to pack everything yourself and drive a U-Haul, it makes a lot of sense, especially for shorter moves.
But let’s talk about the price for a second. Be forewarned: the advertised price is NOT the final price. I recently rented a U-Haul truck that was advertised at $19.99 and ended up paying closer to $50 when all was said and done. Still, that’s literally hundreds of dollars cheaper than going with a full-moving service.
What if I don’t want to move my stuff alone?
What you get with U-Haul
Other than the U-Haul moving truck and maybe a dolly to help lift stuff, you don’t get much off the bat. That’s the whole point of going with U-Haul—you want to do as much as possible on your own. Otherwise, they would call themselves “We-Haul.” I thought of that all by myself.
U-Haul moving services
|30-day storage||Yes, at participating locations||Yes, after 30 days|
|Basic liability coverage||Add-on||Yes|
|Full valuation coverage||Add-on||Yes|
|Free Quote||Learn more||Learn more|
This is a minimalist moving experience with U-Haul. You can get extras that will make your life easier, but your bill will add up quickly.
But hey, you do get 30 days of free storage when you use U-HAUL, and that’s actually a pretty fantastic perk. Most moving companies don’t offer 30 free days.
U-Haul moving experience
It’s a fairly hands-off experience working with U-Haul. And we’d love if it were as simple as heading to your local franchise and grabbing the keys. Unfortunately, because there’s only so many U-Haul trucks to go around, things can get a little complicated.
U-Haul moving truck options
The first thing you need to do is decide what size of truck you will need. You should err on the side of too big rather than too small, or else you might be googling how to strap a couch to the top of your Volvo. Here’s how the sizing breaks down with your U-Haul rental options:
How much can a U-Haul truck hold?
- 10-foot truck: Best for a studio apartment
- 15-foot truck: Best for a 2-bedroom apartment
- 17-foot truck: Best for a 2-bedroom home
- 20-foot truck: Best for a home with 2–3 bedrooms
- 24-foot truck: Best for a home with 3–4 bedrooms
- 26-foot truck: Best for a home with 4+ bedrooms
U-Haul truck pricing
So, how much will it cost you to rent one these U-Haul trucks? Let’s say you’re gearing up for a major life shakeup and taking a U-Haul from Chicago, Illinois, to Dallas, Texas. (Swapping the Bears for the Cowboys, if you will.) Here’s how the pricing would breakdown for each size of U-Haul truck:
Example U-Haul truck pricing
|U-Haul truck size||10 foot||15 foot||20 foot||26 foot|
|Capacity||1 bedroom||1-2 bedrooms||2-3 bedrooms||3-4 bedrooms|
Let’s put those numbers in context. If you wanted to go with a full-service moving company, it would cost you about an extra $5,000. So you save a pretty penny by driving the U-Haul truck on your own.
Keep in mind that the above pricing doesn’t include filling up the gas tank yourself (and yes, these trucks are guzzlers), nor does it include insurance. Tack on another $4001 or so and you’ll probably be closer to your final bill.
One nice thing—you can reserve a U-Haul truck without making a down payment. You’ll give your credit card information when you pick up, and you’ll get billed when it’s all said and done.
If you need to cancel, make sure you do it at least 24 hours in advance to avoid any cancellation fees.
Most of the complaints we’ve come across with U-Haul revolve around pricing. You know, the classic “Our bill ended up being way more than we expected” kind of complaints. Honestly, lack of transparent pricing is a very valid criticism, but sadly it’s the nature of the beast with moving companies. Always assume your final bill will be more than anticipated.
Are there cheaper moving trucks out there?
Problems with reservations
When you make an online reservation, you’re really just picking the kind of truck you want. To get a guaranteed reservation, you’ll need to cough up $50 to set things in stone. Even then, some customers can have problems receiving a truck that is either 10 feet too small or too big. If this happens to you, you should complain until U-Haul sets you up with what you signed for.
Ah yes, finally time for the most exciting part of the U-Haul review—insurance. U-HAUL’s liability coverage qualifies as insurance and not just valuation, so you can opt into damage protection plans. Ideally, your current auto insurance includes rental trucks, and you can just roll with that. Check with your insurance provider and see what they recommend.
If your auto insurance doesn’t cover you, you can opt for U-Haul’s Safemove and Safemove Plus insurance programs. The plan covers the cargo, the driver, and any passengers. The difference with Safemove Plus is that your liability coverage increases to $1,000,000, as opposed to the $15,000–$25,000 coverage on the basic Safemove plan.
Whatever you do, don’t hit the road without insurance. That way lies danger, friend.
Other U-HAUL services
U-HAUL specializes in handing out moving trucks, but you can also store your stuff and even get help moving.
If you’re in-between moves, you can always store your stuff for a while within U-Haul’s storage vaults. Okay, they’re not really vaults like Gringotts or anything, but your stuff will be safe regardless.
You get a free month of storage, which is super generous. Otherwise, you’ll pay somewhere in the neighborhood of $60–$80 a month for a storage unit.
U-Box moving containers
Have you ever heard of PODS before? Essentially, a moving container appears on your doorstep, you fill it up, and then it will appear at your destination a few days or weeks later. U-Haul offers a similar service cleverly called U-Box.
To send a U-Box container from Chicago, Illinois to Dallas, Texas, it will cost you $869 plus a delivery fee. You get a month to load and upload your stuff included in that fee too.
Every U-Box container can hold about one room, maybe a little more. So if you have a one-bedroom apartment with a living room and kitchen, you’ll want two U-Box containers. If you have a two-bedroom, you’ll want about three U-Box containers. So just add one to however many rooms you’re moving.
What if I want to move my car?
If you want some hired hands to help you load up your truck, U-Haul can hook you up with that too. You won’t get help directly from U-Haul—rather, they’ll broker a local moving group to help you load your truck. You can get price quotes ahead of time of how much the extra help would cost, which is great.
Recap — Is U-Haul a good option for your move?
If you plan on handling the move yourself and all you need is a truck to make it happen, U-Haul is your best bet. It’s got locations all around the country and offers a significantly cheaper price than other moving options.
- Services: U-Haul loans you moving trucks and can also help you with other moving services. But mainly it’s all about the trucks.
- Quotes: You can easily get a quote online and reserve a truck as well.
- Moving: You are the master of your own destiny, and you are the master of the move when it comes to U-Haul. You load your stuff, and you drive your stuff.
- Storage: You get 30 days of free storage with U-Haul if you need a temporary space between your move. You can store your stuff longer and pay a monthly fee between $60–$80 a month per unit.
If you’ve got doubts about using U-Haul, have no fear: there are other great options out there. But U-Haul is certainly the most available moving truck company.
What’s your experience with U-Haul been like? Have you found a better alternative? Let us know in the comment below.