When you’re preparing to move, you have a choice between hiring a professional moving company or renting a moving truck, which can be a great way to save money. Moving is expensive, and doing as much as you can yourself will help keep your costs down. Plus, a DIY move offers you more flexibility and gives you the freedom to do things at your own speed.

But, there are some important things you need to know when you choose to rent a moving truck that can save you money and unnecessary stress. And, one of the most essential considerations is choosing one of the better truck rental companies. So, let’s take a look at the highly-rated truck rental companies, as well as what you need to think about when renting a truck.

Highly Rated Moving Truck Companies

When you want to rent a moving truck, going straight to one of the best companies will be your best bet. Below are some of the most respected self-moving companies to check out:

  • U-Haul: With an excellent rating and as one of the most well-known moving companies, U-Haul truck rental prices are always competitive. It’s one of the best moving companies for those who like to do things themselves.
  • Home Depot: If you’re moving locally, Home Depot is an excellent option as they only charge an hourly rate. Home Depot truck rentals are a particularly trendy choice due to their pricing policies.
  • Penske: The third-largest moving truck provider, Penske has a solid reputation and is certainly worth checking out.
  • Enterprise: Enterprise is a highly rated company for local moves.
  • Budget: As the name implies, Budget always has extremely competitive pricing and is worthy of your consideration.

Determining the Size of Moving Truck You Need

Renting a moving truck isn’t cheap, so you don’t want to spend more money than you need to. But, you do need enough space to fit all your possessions, so it’s important to accurately assess the amount of space you need in a moving truck — which isn’t easy.

To help, rental companies often provide online calculators to evaluate the room you need. Then, whatever the calculator determines, add an additional 10% to 20%. It’s always better to overestimate the amount of room you need than to underestimate and not have enough space. To that end, if you’re unsure, getting a larger truck is always recommended so you’re not struggling to jam in the last of your moving boxes.

Extra Help

In addition to the moving truck, consider whether you’ll need extra equipment or help moving your possessions. Most rental companies offer add-on services that can provide the extra help you need to make sure your move goes well.

For instance, moving dollies and tie-downs reduce the likelihood that your items will be damaged on moving day. Professional movers are also typically offered, as well, to make the physical work easier for you. They’re also likely to have packing materials — like boxes and padding — available if you need them.

However, while it will be convenient to get these extras from your moving truck company, it may not be the best deal available. Instead, if you arrange these things separately, you might be able to get a better deal than if you get them all from the rental company.

Moving Truck Insurance

Your home or auto insurance may offer some coverage when renting a moving truck, but this could be very limited. And, when you put all of your possessions in a truck and drive it — perhaps long-distance — there will be risks. If you get in an accident or are the victim of a crime, you could lose a lot. So, check the terms of your current insurance policies to understand what level of coverage you currently have. Note that it likely won’t be enough, particularly if you’re renting a larger truck.

The rental company will also offer you some insurance options. Review them carefully and select the coverage that fully protects you and your possessions during the move. You’ll also be offered a damage waiver that protects you against financial loss should the truck get damaged or stolen, as well as an auto tow protection policy if you’re towing your vehicle.

Likewise, personal accident and cargo protection ensures that you and your possessions are covered against injury and damage. And, supplemental liability insurance protects you against claims that someone else might file against you.

With any of these policy options, be sure to read the fine print. They may not cover everything you would initially expect them to and will likely have a limit on the claims you can make under the policy.

Factors That Affect Rental Costs

The cost of moving truck rentals can get quite complicated. But, generally, they’re based on the size of the truck you rent and the distance you need to travel.

The length of time that you need the truck in order to complete your move is also often a factor. For instance, companies might charge you a daily rate, in addition to another charge for each mile you drive. However, you may also find that a certain mileage is included with your rental — which may be enough to complete your journey. Then, if you need to change your route or take an excursion, expect to pay additional fees.

Meanwhile, returning the truck to where you picked it up isn’t really an option for long-distance moves. So, many larger companies offer one-way rentals so you can drop off the vehicle near your final destination. Mileage is usually unlimited for one-way journeys.

Note that if you’re moving at a time when there is increased demand for trucks, you should expect to pay a higher amount. To that end, keep in mind that more people are likely to want to move in the summer, as well as on the weekends, and near the beginning or end of the month. And, on top of the money you’ll pay for the rental truck, don’t forget about other expenses, including the cost of gas, tolls, parking, meals and overnight stays for longer moves.

Booking Your Rental Truck

When renting a moving truck, it’s better to do so early. Just like changing your address, booking your moving truck should be at the top of your to-do list. Careful advance planning will secure the truck you need on moving day and help avoid a last-minute panic if you can’t find one.

First, compare what the moving companies have to offer, check customer feedback, and look at their Better Business Bureau (BBB) ratings. This should ensure that they’re reliable and offer a good service. Then, once you have a shortlist of companies that seem good (like the ones mentioned above), get rental quotes to find the best value. At this time, make sure you discuss anything you’re unsure about or requirements that might be unusual with your rental. While you’re at it, don’t be afraid to ask for a discount. Moving truck companies often have discounts available for certain people, so check to see if you fall into one of their categories.

Finally, make sure you check over the vehicle when you pick it up to avoid paying for damage that was already present, as well as take time to understand the terms of the rental. Specifically, review the cancellation policy and whether you can return the truck early for a partial refund. Also, make sure you understand policies regarding returning the vehicle, including how clean it needs to be inside, as well as whether you need to fill the gas tank.

If you’re up for the challenge of driving a large moving truck, have planned your route, and are ready for the heavy lifting involved, renting a moving truck can be a great option for your move. And, if you do your research before booking your rental, you’ll have fewer issues.

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