February 24, 2024
Returning a U-Haul on time is important to avoid additional fees, penalties and potential legal action. Learn the consequences of returning late, the U-Haul policies related to late returns, tips for avoiding late returns, and how to restore relationships with the company.


When you rent a U-Haul, you are typically given a specific timeframe in which to return it. If you fail to return the vehicle on time, there can be serious consequences that can negatively affect your rental experience and finances. In this article, we will explore what happens if you do not return a U-Haul on time, and how to avoid potential legal and financial repercussions.

Consequences of Returning a U-Haul Late

If you return a U-Haul late, you can expect to pay additional fees and penalties. Late return fees can vary depending on the location and the length of time the vehicle is overdue. U-Haul charges $20 per day for each day the vehicle is late, and if the vehicle is not returned within 48 hours of the scheduled return time, the customer may be charged with theft and prosecuted.

Additionally, late returns may negatively impact your credit score if you fail to pay the additional fees. Depending on the situation, the U-Haul company may take legal action to collect the additional fees or the property if it has not been returned by the due date.

U-Haul Company Policies Related to Late Returns

U-Haul rental policies are in place to help ensure that vehicles are available for customers when they need them, and to protect customers from loss or damage. Late charges are designed to encourage renters to return vehicles promptly and to prevent vehicles from being taken out of service when they are needed by other customers. U-Haul also offers customers the option to purchase additional insurance in case of damage or theft, which can minimize the financial impact of late returns.

Although policies may vary by location, U-Haul typically allows renters a grace period of up to one hour from the scheduled return time before assessing a late fee. If a vehicle is returned more than an hour after the scheduled return time, late fees will apply.

Tips for Avoiding Returning a U-Haul Late

One way to avoid returning a U-Haul late is to plan ahead and book the vehicle for a longer period of time than you think you will need. This can provide you with some leeway in case your move takes longer than expected.

If you realize that you will not be able to return the vehicle on time, it is important to contact the U-Haul company as soon as possible to ask for an extension. They may be able to accommodate your request, or work with you to find an alternative solution.

Stories from Other U-Haul Renters Who Returned the Vehicle Late

Many renters have experienced the consequences of returning a U-Haul late. One renter, Jane, returned her U-Haul two days late due to unexpected car trouble during her move. She was charged an additional $40 in late fees, which she was not prepared for and caused her financial hardship. Another renter, Tom, returned his U-Haul several hours late and was charged $50 in late fees, which put a strain on his relationship with the company.

Legal Implications of Returning a U-Haul Late

If you violate the rental contract by returning a U-Haul late, you could face legal consequences. Depending on the situation, you may be charged with theft, which is a criminal offense. You may also be charged with fraud if you knowingly fail to return the vehicle and attempt to conceal its whereabouts. In cases where the vehicle is damaged or stolen, you may face legal action from the U-Haul company or insurance provider.

Ethical Implications of Returning a U-Haul Late

Returning a U-Haul late can have ethical implications as well. When you make a promise to return a vehicle on time, you are making an agreement with the company and the other renters who may be in need of the vehicle. Failing to honor that promise can result in additional expenses for the company and inconvenience to other customers.

If you do return a U-Haul late, it is important to take responsibility for your actions and make an effort to restore your relationship with the company. This could include paying the additional fees promptly and apologizing for any inconvenience you may have caused.


Returning a U-Haul on time is important to avoid additional fees and penalties, as well as potential legal action. Planning ahead and contacting the U-Haul company if you need an extension can help you avoid these consequences. By respecting the policies and the other renters who may need the vehicle, you can have a positive rental experience and ensure that U-Haul is available for future moves.

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