How To Rent A Self-Move Truck
by Ruby Bayan
One of the more cost-effective ways to move a whole household is by renting a moving truck. Just like you can rent a car for your day-to-day use, you can rent a truck or van to transport your articles and belongings anywhere within the continental United States. Truck rental companies maintain a fleet of moving vans, ranging from 10-ft. vans that can carry the contents of 1 to 2 rooms, to 25-ft. trucks with a loading capacity of up to 8 rooms. The cost of the rental will depend on the size of the truck and the distance traveled.
Why would you rent a self-move truck?
Instead of hiring a professional mover to pack, load, haul, unload, and unpack your household items, you can save a considerable amount of money by self-moving -- i.e., you and your family and friends take care of the packing/unpacking and loading/unloading, and you rent and drive a moving truck to your destination.
- Inquire about the rental prices. The well-known self-move truck rental companies are Budget, Penske, Ryder, and U-Haul. By inquiring online or over the phone, you can gauge which company will best meet your budget. Rentals are given on a per-day rate, but some companies may quote higher because they have new and well-maintained trucks, and offer free unlimited mileage, among other services and conveniences. Most rentals offer free miles with their daily rates, and charge several cents per additional mile. If you can estimate the number of miles you will need to travel, you can have an idea of your total rental expense.
- Make reservations. Once you've determined which truck rental you prefer, signify your interest by making reservations (at the rental office, online, or over the phone), preferably a week or two before the day of the move. This will ensure that the truck you need will be ready when you need it. Reserve for towing equipment and accessories, too, if you will need them.
- Fill out the paperwork. When you go to the rental company to make reservations or to pick up the truck, allot a few minutes for filling out the paperwork. A representative will need to see some documents (before he lets you drive away with their very expensive vehicle), ask several questions about your move, and offer protection plans, as follows:
a. Required documents:
- Valid driver's license -- since you will have to drive the truck yourself, the rental company will need to see that you're at least 18 years old, authorized, and legally qualified to do so.
- Major credit card -- even if you prefer to pay in cash, the rental company will require a major credit card as a form of security.
- Proof of insurance -- the rental company will want to be sure that you are covered by insurance, in case you meet an accident while driving their truck.
b. Details of the move:
- Destination, and time/date of departure and truck return -- for the record, the rental company will need information on where you are headed, when you will be driving away, and when you will return the truck. If you are renting for a one-way trip, the representative will let you know the location of their branch closest to your destination.
- Items you are moving -- the rental company will want to ascertain that your cargo are all household items.
- Moving materials and tools you may need -- you can purchase packing cartons/crates, bubble wraps, packing tapes, marking pens, cords/ropes, and mattress protection bags. You can also rent furniture pads, hand trucks (to facilitate loading/unloading), and towing equipment (like a car carrier or tow dolly).
c. Optional Protection Plans (rental companies will have different costs and extent of coverage):
- Personal Accident Insurance -- this covers accidental death and medical expenses for you and other passengers of the rental truck, for the duration of the rental.
- Cargo Insurance -- this covers any accidental loss or damage to your household items caused by collision, vehicle overturn, flood, fire, tornado, and other acts of God.
- Limited Loss and Damage Waiver -- for just a few dollars a day, you will be rendered free from any liability resulting from loss or accidental damage to the truck.
- Pay the deposit. The rental company will require a deposit (or full payment) on the estimated total charges. Most of them have a minimum charge equivalent to one-day's rent with allotted mileage.
- Inspect the rental truck. Just before you are handed the keys to the truck, the rental company representative will fill out a Truck Inspection Report in your presence. Look the truck over and note any existing scratches or damage which could otherwise be attributed to your use when you return the vehicle. Confirm the accuracy of the odometer and fuel gauge readings.
- Keep copies of the Truck Rental Agreement, Truck Inspection Report, and Driver Trip Report. You will need these documents when you go through weigh stations along the highways (all trucks must pass through weigh station inspections), when you return the vehicle, and for reporting tax deductions (for work-related relocation).
- Execute your move. Load your items into the truck and drive safely. Remember that because of their weight, trucks don't brake as promptly, nor turn as easily as cars. Trucks are long, wide, and tall, so be aware of the driving hazards.
- Return the truck and close your account with the rental company. Settle additional charges or collect refunds. Then go and enjoy your new home.
[First published at New2USA.com, 2000]