Finding the Best Rental Truck Deal
So you’ve decided to move yourself — congratulations! Now it’s time to find a rental truck.
In this article we lay out the different options available to you, what is typically offered by most companies, and some tips to make sure you get the best deal out there.
What Can You Get
Vehicles — This is where rental truck companies most clearly differ. Most companies offer cargo vans, and couple truck options, ranging in size from 10 feet to 26 feet.
Cargo vans and trucks in the 10–12ft range are usually enough for kids moving to and from college and those moving out of studio apartments.
Medium-sized trucks in the 14–17ft range are good for small apartment or homes in the 1–2 bedroom range.
Large trucks, 12–26 feet are perfect for larger, 3–4 bedroom places.
Other rental options — Some companies also offer other rental options, such as portable storage units, trailers, and car-towing. There are two car-towing options: the tow dolly, where the car’s back wheels roll along the road, and the car carrier, the more expensive option in which the vehicle is fully off the ground.
Local vs. long-distance — Some truck rental companies offer both local and long-distance move options, but not all. For local moves, you’re required to drop off the truck at the same location from which you picked it up. Long-distance moves allow you to drop off the truck at a new location nearby your home. Making sure there is a location near your new home will factor in your choice of rental truck companies.
Insurance — Most basic contracts will include minimum liability insurance, but this usually won’t cover much. You do have multiple options for extra insurance:
Supplemental liability insurance — Generally maxes out at $1 million.
Damage waivers — Covers accidental damage to rental truck, and usually includes theft.
Auto tow protection — Covers damages to car-towing equipment.
Personal accident insurance — Covers your medical costs, though these will usually be covered already by your health insurance or car insurance if you have medical coverage
Cargo insurance — Covers your belongings in case of damages
How to Get the Best Deal
Be realistic — First things first: forget about the stickers you’ve seen on the sides of rental trucks advertising $19.99! Depending on the specifics of your move, a few hundred dollars is a much more reasonable amount to budget for. If you’re moving a large house long-distance, you could be looking at $1000–2000.
Book in advance — Truck rental prices are based on demand, a lot like airline tickets. This means that booking right before the move will be more expensive. The companies know you need the truck, so they’ll jack up the price. So book far in advance for the best price.
Book at the right time — Just like with moving companies, the cheapest time to rent a truck is in the middle of the month, in the middle of the week, in the middle of winter. As much as you can, avoid booking on weekends, at the end of the month and during summer, when demand is highest.
Look around — Make sure to get quotes from every moving truck company, and try playing around with different dates, and different pickup and drop-off locations in each city. Some companies offer competitive pricing, so once you find an especially cheap rate (say, from a coupon or discount deal), bring it to another company and see if they’ll offer you a better deal.
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