Renting a Truck

The Bottom Line Do your Homework and you will "Get the Grade"! Pay Attention Now-Or Pay For It Later! Renting a moving truck and driving the truck yourself can be a great cost alternative to a full professional move. If you take the right steps, you can "AVOID THE COUCH".
Below are some helpful guidelines that will save you from the "NUT HOUSE".

Shop around for prices.

Prices for rental trucks can vary greatly from company to company. It will depend on the time of the season that you are moving and the location from which you are moving from and relocating to. Call at least three major rental companies (U-Haul, Ryder, Hertz Penske, Budget, ect. ) and compare rates. Ask about the time window that the truck is available ( do you get it for 5 days or 4 days at that price ), any mileage charges or mileage allowances given, the cost to insure the vehicle while it is in your care and any other costs involved ( extra mileage, cleaning fees, ect. ). Make sure that you are comparing trucks that are essentially the same size ( by volume ). A 26 foot U-Haul might not hold as much as a 24 foot Ryder. The U-Haul includes the length of the "Moms Attic" as part of their measurement. This space is limited and cuts into the 26 foot measurement representation.

Ask if there is a discount if the truck is dropped off or picked up at another location.

Sometimes there will be a significant price difference if you go a little out of your way to drop off or pick up a vehicle. Just make sure that it does not exceed your mileage allowance in doing so.

Make sure you reserve a truck that is the proper size for your needs.

A good rule of thumb is to rent a vehicle that is one size bigger than the rental company suggests. This is not always true, but they love when you have to come back and rent a tag along trailer for your move. Another good way to judge which size truck to get is to call a local mover in your area. Give them a list of your items and ask them to price loading your rental truck. Then you can ask them what size truck they recommend. They will usually be a good judge and you will get an idea of how much it would cost a professional to load your truck for you.

Reserve your truck in person and secure with a credit card.

Always do this in person so you can inspect the type of vehicle you are getting. Is it an automatic? Does it have working air conditioning? How high is the loading deck? What is the general condition of their truck fleet? You also want to have the reservation paperwork handy in case of any problems. Also, it is a great idea to get the locations and phone numbers of dealers that coincide with your mapped out route ( in case of any emergency ). Going in person will also allow you to find out if you can pick up the vehicle the night before without any time penalty. In this way, you will not be waiting for a vehicle the next morning that another customer was supposed to return that morning. This happens more than you might know and can be very aggravating. Sometimes they will try to get you to settle for another vehicle that might not exactly fit your needs.

Always buy the vehicle insurance when you rent.

This is the most overlooked item that can cause you the most grief. Even a small hit on the roof of a van can easily cost $2500.00. There goes your savings on the move and some. Also, always carefully check out the condition of the vehicle that you are taking and note any damage ( no matter how minor ). Have their representative sign off on that damage inventory. Remember that the person on the other end has not seen this vehicle and will hold you responsible. Another form of insurance most people do not think about is contents insurance. Some of your homeowners policies will cover damage caused in an accident or loss due to theft if you notify them before you start your move. They sometimes charge a small fee for an insurance rider, but it is well worth it.

Make sure that you rent enough blankets for your belongings and buy some rope to tie things off with.

Get at least a dozen blankets for every 6 foot of vehicle. This will be your cheapest and most useful insurance. This might seem like you are getting too many blankets, but rental blankets are usually not the same size or weight as the professionals use. A 24 foot truck would get at least 4 dozen blankets with this rule of thumb. The rope is needed to tie off the contents of the truck to stop the shifting of your valuables. Pack as square as you can in 4 to 5 foot sections and use a mattress or a box spring to contain this section. This is where you will use the rope to tie off each section. Pack the truck efficiently from the beginning so that you do not waste any space causing you to run out of room at the end.

Turn your truck in on time, clean and full of fuel.

This will save you from paying for the rental companies fuel prices and cleaning surcharge. Get your final receipt that clearly shows the time of delivery, condition of the vehicle and full payment of the terms.

NOW, GO HOME AND UNPACK!