Ken Wolter/shutterstockWhatever moving truck company you choose, it’s important to snap a pic of the odometer. (Not that you need a professional shot, but you can find tips from photographers here.) Mileage charges are one of the few things we have control over during a move. “Taking quick photos at the start and end of your transaction is a good way to be sure that you have been charged fairly,” says U-Haul moving expert, Sperry Hutchinson. (Also, always make sure you’re aware of these secret ways moving companies are trying to scam you—and how you wise up.)
Look for moving truck rentals near you so you’re not racking up mileage before you load the first box. Another important thing to consider when renting a truck is insurance. Hutchinson says most auto and home policies don’t cover truck rentals. Check your insurance policies before renting and then choose an insurance plan for the moving truck that fits your needs. (By the way, here’s how you can get moving boxes for FREE!)
Once the photos are taken and the rental contracts signed, it’s time to roll! Just remember, you’re driving something that is wider, heavier, longer, and taller than a typical car or truck. “Another seemingly simple tip is to adjust your driving style,” says Hutchinson. “Abruptly stopping, turning, and accelerating can cause your items to shift while driving,” he warns. “Taking things slow and easy will keep your items where you expect them to be, and it will also help with fuel conservation—which means less money at the pump before returning the truck.” (And check out these packing and moving tips before you get started.)
Take note of the measured height of the truck and be mindful of low overhangs at drive-thrus, gas stations, and low-hanging utility lines in your new neighborhood. A moving partner can give you another set of eyes to watch out for hazards and guide you into tight parking spots. Finally, research the parking options at your new home in advance of your move. It’s fairly easy to back into a driveway but if you’re moving into a city, parking will be at a premium. Sometimes parking permits are required to park for lengthy amounts of time to allow for unloading, or if the truck needs two spaces.
If you’re moving long-distance and need to park the truck overnight, Hutchinson recommends using a padlock to lock the rear door. “For additional protection, find a parking spot that will allow you to back the truck or trailer right up to a wall, garage or solid structure. Parking in a well-lit area, in view of video surveillance cameras, and in safe parts of town are always wise decisions,” he advises. Looking to trade in your wheels? Learn how to get out of a car lease.