7 Tips for Personal Moving Truck Rentals

Inspect a vehicle before signing a rental truck agreement. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Bob B.)

Inspect a vehicle before signing a rental truck agreement. (Photo courtesy of Angie's List member Bob B.)

When you’re moving a small household or just moving a short distance, renting a personal moving truck can save you considerable costs in moving expenses. Moving truck rentals are available for in-town or one-way moves and most rental providers offer vehicles in varying sizes to suit your needs. Follow these seven tips to help determine what type of moving truck rental can best suit your needs:

1. Research personal moving truck sizes

A smaller truck with a cargo area that’s only 12 feet long is probably best for smaller apartments or one to two rooms of furniture. For more rooms or larger moves, other truck sizes from 16 to 26 feet are available. It’s always easier to spend a bit more and rent more truck than you need rather than having to take multiple trips due to underestimating the vehicle size your move will require.

2. Rent what you can drive

With the wide variety of sizes of moving or cargo trucks available, it’s important to consider if you’ll be able to safely drive the vehicle you rent. Before signing a rental agreement, sit in the drivers’ seat to make sure you’re comfortable with the size of the vehicle.

Many but not all moving truck rentals feature automatic transmissions, but it’s always a good idea to check and be sure before renting. If you’ve rented a larger moving truck, take the time to practice and get comfortable maneuvering it in an empty parking lot or a secluded area before packing your belongings.

3. Get the right moving insurance

Moving truck rental companies may offer different forms of insurance coverage for the vehicle during your move. Insurance can cover more than just the vehicle and your liability, it should also cover your belongings in case of accident or damage. Since your personal auto insurer likely won’t cover the moving truck, it can be a good idea to purchase additional insurance for peace of mind.

4. Use moving equipment

Not all moving or cargo trucks offer the same features. If you’re moving a large number of heavy items like furniture or other furnishings, a loading ramp or powered lift gate can be well worth the extra expense by making your move easier and less physically demanding. A hand truck is another option that can make a move easier.

MORE: How to Prepare and Pack for a Move

5. Ensure the best rental rates

Depending on the rental company, they may charge by the day, weekend or week. Ask what the rates will be for several different dates. Renting a truck during the week is always cheaper than on the weekend, when DIY moving is in full swing. Be realistic in how long your move will take and compare it to the cost of renting for an extra day. Oftentimes, you won’t be charged for extra days if you turn the vehicle in early.

6. Check the moving truck before signing the rental agreement

Most rental providers will conduct a walkthrough and inspection of the vehicle prior to finalizing the rental agreement. The inspection should include checking the existing damage, interior and exterior, as well as the tires, windshield glass and other features. Note any damage, even if relatively minor, to ensure you won’t be charged for damage you didn’t cause.

7. Clean out the truck before returning it

Before you drop off the truck, make sure you’ve adequately cleaned or swept out the cargo hold as well as the cab interior. Some rental companies will charge a cleaning fee if the vehicle is not returned in clean condition. Ensure that all moving equipment such as moving blankets, dollies or hand trucks are present to avoid a charge for missing equipment.

CHECK OUT: Angie's List Guide to Moving

Editor's note: This is an updated version of an article originally posted on Oct. 19, 2012.

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If mattresses are still available, I want to move queen size box springs and mattress from W Mulberry and Howes to Luke and Pitkin in Ft Collins. (Two miles apart.) What is a reasonable rate to be charged for doing move ourselves and also to have someone else do the moving?

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