You never know how much stuff you have until you move. That's when you realize that packing up your belongings is going to take several days, if not weeks. It's also the point when it dawns on you that all those boxes are not going to fit in the back of your SUV or neighbor's pickup. You're going to have to rent a truck.

Renting a moving truck can be intimidating if you've never done it before. Moving trucks come in different shapes, sizes, and price ranges. And there are often different plans to choose from. You'll also need to consider other factors that affect the cost and expense of operating a rental truck. The right truck for one person might be wrong for the next. But there's no need to feel overwhelmed.

Oola wants to make your move as easy as possible. To that end, we've put together a guide to walk you through everything you need to know before you rent a moving truck. Let's get started.

1. Determine Which Size Moving Truck To Rent

A man and a U-Haul truck.

Selecting the size of the moving truck you'll need is one of the most important decisions you make. Rental fees generally go up as sizes grow larger, which may make it tempting to rent as small a truck as you think you can get away with. But think carefully about that decision. Once you start stacking boxes they almost always end up taking up more space than you anticipated. If you run out of available space you'll either have to make multiple trips, rent an additional vehicle or arrange to have your excess items shipped or picked up a later date. None of these are appealing options. Therefore, it's advisable to rent a truck that's a size up from what you think you'll need. The extra charge you'll pay to upgrade to a bigger vehicle will be nothing compared to the inconvenience and expenses incurred if you rent a truck that's too small.

But that's not all you'll need to consider when selecting the size of your moving truck. If you're used to driving a regular car, you may also need to put some thought into how comfortable you feel in your ability to operate a significantly larger vehicle. Big trucks can be tricky to navigate if you have to turn tight corners, back down a long, narrow driveway, or make your way down a winding road. These are also factors to consider when selecting the size of your truck and deciding whether or not you plan to drive it yourself.

2. Calculate The Cost Of The Moving Truck

A UHaul truck in front of a house.

When it comes to the cost of a moving truck, there is often more than meets the eye. Different companies charge differently, and many offer different packages. There may be a base rental fee, for instance, with an additional charge for mileage. Such a plan would not be ideal if you were planning a long distance. Similarly, there may be an extra charge if you plan to pick up the truck in one location and drop it off in another. Many companies charge a premium for holidays and weekends.

In order to determine which moving truck rental company offers the best value for your situation, it's important to ask for a break down of all potential fees.

3. Find Out If The Truck Comes With Accessories

A moving van and a hand truck.

Presumably, you'll have all your belongings packed away before you rent your moving truck, but you still may need accessories such as packing blankets, bungee cords, and a hand truck. If these aren't items you already have on hand you'll need to check to see if they're available through the rental company, and if so, if there are additional charges to rent them.

4. Do An Inspection

A Budget moving truck in front of a building.

Moving trucks are like rental cars. It's important to make note of any dings or dents before you take possession of them, lest you be blamed and charged for the damage later on. When you're performing an inspection, don't forget to check the interior of the truck - not just the cab, but the back, or box, as well. This is a common place to find dents and dings since moving is highly physical and boxes get slammed around.

Be sure to mark any defects on the check-in form. It's not enough to simply inform the company verbally. The person you're speaking to might not be there when you bring the truck back, and may not remember even if they are.

5. Don't Forget The Insurance

A smiling man sits in a truck holding up the keys.

If you have current motor vehicle insurance it's a good idea to contact your carrier to let them know you plan to rent a moving truck and make sure you'll be covered in the case of an accident. If you don't have a plan in place you may be able to purchase coverage through the rental company. Be sure t inquire about whether or not this will cover your boxes and valuables. If not, your homeowner's or renter's insurance policy provides for them. Don't take anything for granted. It's worth taking making a phone call or two to check.

6. Return The Truck Clean And Full Of Gas

A Budget rental truck in front of an office building

Most moving truck rental companies will charge you a penalty if the truck isn't returned clean. This doesn't just mean making sure there aren't any fast food wrappers or soda cans in the cab but also making sure the box is swept and free of garbage and debris as well.

You'll also need to make sure the truck is refueled when you drop it back off at the facility. Most rental companies charge a fine if the tank isn't filled upon the truck's return which will cost you far more than what the cost of the gas would be.

We hope this guide will help you feel confident and empowered to ask the right questions and seek the necessary information if you decide to rent a moving truck. Now, if there was only a way to make those boxes pack and unpack themselves so the only thing you'll have to deal with is opening all your housewarming gifts.

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