Do You Need Insurance to Rent a U-Haul?

While not required, it’s a good idea to get insurance when renting a U-Haul. Personal auto insurance and credit card insurance likely won’t cover you in the event of an accident or damage.
Written by Jason Tushinski
Reviewed by Kathleen Flear
You don't technically need insurance to rent a U-Haul, but it's still a good idea, as standard personal auto insurance and credit card insurance likely won’t cover you when renting large trucks or vans.
Like other rental companies, U-Haul offers protection plans at various levels to ensure you are covered against liability due to accident or injury. And while regular
car insurance
won’t cover large truck rentals, they function the same way.
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Read on to learn more about U-Haul rentals and insurance coverage.
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Personal insurance doesn't work like U-Haul insurance

While your personal auto insurance will cover you when renting normal-sized cars or vans, it won’t cut it when renting a truck or moving van over a certain size.
And if you think your credit card insurance covers you when renting a large moving vehicle, think again.
Visa explicitly precludes all trucks from its coverage.
American Express excludes all box trucks and cargo vans from its coverage plans. Don’t leave home without it? On the contrary—leave your AmEx at home if you’re renting a large truck.
Even though buying insurance is not required for a U-Haul or a large rental truck, it is recommended. Both
make it clear that personal car insurance won’t cover you if the rental vehicle you’re using sustains any damage.
Key Takeaway Your personal car insurance and credit card insurance plan likely won’t cover you when renting a large truck or van.

Rental truck coverage

Coverage you buy from a rental company usually covers accidental damage, such as a collision with another car or vehicle. For that reason alone, buying insurance from U-Haul (or whatever rental company you're using) is probably worth it.
Mechanical damage is usually not covered. Common examples of mechanical issues encountered by rental truck drivers include damaging the transmission gears due to incorrect shifting or putting too much pressure on the drivetrain, which happens when you’re transporting heavy loads in the wrong gear. Damaged tires also aren’t covered.
Rental coverage likely won’t cover hitting overhead objects, such as an overpass. It’s not good for anyone—especially you—if the top of your rental truck gets sheared off.
One final note about rental truck coverage: the rental company insures all its vehicles. The supplemental insurance you buy from them is essentially a waiver stating that any damage sustained while you are renting it will be taken care of by them, not you.
Key Takeaway Coverage from a rental company won’t cover mechanical issues or hitting overhead objects, but it will cover accidental damage, like a collision.

Coverage for your belongings

To protect your belongings on a move, you might need to buy
cargo insurance
. It’s unlikely the rental insurance you buy for the vehicle will cover your stuff.
That said, some homeowner’s or
renter’s insurance
policies cover your belongings away from home. If you have one of these policies, it’s best to check with your insurance provider about that particular coverage.
If you rent cargo insurance from a rental company, such as U-Haul or Budget, that coverage isn’t absolute.
U-Haul offers coverage of $25,000 for a one-way rental or $15,000 for an in-town rental, along with a deductible of $100.
Budget offers $25,000 worth of coverage for a one-way rental or $12,500 for an in-town rental, also with a $100 deductible.
For the most part, cargo coverage will cover the
actual cash value
of your stuff. So, if your four-year-old coffee machine is damaged, you’ll only be compensated to buy that same item, not a new model.
If you’re towing your car behind the rental vehicle, your personal auto insurance will cover your car. If your car is damaged in the move, it will be covered so long as you have
comprehensive insurance
Key Takeaway Check with your insurer to see whether your home or renter’s insurance will cover your belongings during a move.
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Does U-Haul insurance cover you personally?

Rental truck companies offer only limited
liability coverage
with each rental. But if you’re held liable for an accident while driving your rental truck, that limited coverage likely won’t be enough.
It might be a good idea to buy supplemental liability insurance from the truck rental company to boost your level of coverage. Most rental companies will offer up to $1 million in coverage.

Protection plan options

If you’re renting a moving truck or van, the big three—U-Haul, Penske, and Budget—offer comparable protection options.
U-Haul offers their Safemove and Safemove Plus plans, which include coverage for damage to the rental truck and personal items, medical and life coverage, as well as driver liability for twice the premium.
Budget and Penske offer a larger selection of options and don’t bundle their plans like U-Haul. Do note that in most cases, the insurance option for just a Penske truck is more expensive than U-Haul’s package.
Even if you have good personal auto insurance protection and credit card coverage, it’s prudent to consider buying supplemental insurance if you’re renting a large rental truck or van. Without it, you are vulnerable to liability should anything go wrong during your move.
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FAQs about renting a U-Haul

Do you need insurance to rent a U-Haul?

You don’t require
proof of insurance
to rent a U-Haul. The company does recommend extra coverage since personal auto insurance and credit card insurance coverage usually do not cover you while driving a large rental truck.
While you're not required to have insurance to rent a U-Haul, remember that
driving without insurance
in general is a serious violation.

Does my car insurance cover a U-Haul?

Almost certainly not. If you are renting a small moving van, your personal insurance may cover you—but it is best to check with both your insurer and the rental company to be sure.

What do you need to rent a U-Haul?

The only things you actually need to rent a U-Haul truck are a driver's license and a minimum age of 18 (16 if you're just renting a trailer).

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