If you rent a storage unit, you will be offered self storage insurance. This may come as a surprise to you. After all, aren’t storage facilities supposed to be safe? Isn’t that why they have so much security, including a high wall, gated access, a camera surveillance system, alarms, and more?
Yes, facility owners and managers do strive to keep their facilities as safe and secure as possible. However, theft is still a possibility, as are various accidents and natural disasters.
Not only is it a good idea to have self storage insurance, many facilities require it of all their tenants.
What if the Facility is Insured?
Naturally, the facility will have its own insurance, and it’s reasonable to wonder if it will cover your belongings.
The short answer is that it won’t. The policy that the facility owners pay for is meant to cover damage to the facility itself.
The long answer is that it might, but only if damage to your belongings has happened due to facility negligence or error. For example, if the facility paid for construction and a wrecking ball slammed into your unit, damaging your belongings, the facility would be liable and their insurance would probably cover it. Of course, the wrecking ball scenario is highly unlikely, but it makes a point. There are cases in which the facility’s own insurance would cover your loss, but you should still have renters coverage.
When you sign up for a storage unit, the storage facility will offer you in-house insurance as a matter of course. It’s convenient and won’t require much more than an additional signature.
They may offer only one level of insurance, the minimum required, which is typically $2,500 in coverage and costs about $10 per month. However, they may have higher levels, so ask for details.
Many facilities require that you have at least the minimum amount of insurance. So, if you don’t have self storage insurance through a third party, we recommend you get the facility’s insurance when you sign up. You can always purchase an additional, third party policy. If the facility won’t allow you to cancel their in-house insurance, you can use both policies.
Finding Your Own Coverage
If you decide to look for your own policy, look for companies that specialize in self storage insurance.
You may be able to get a rider added to your homeowner’s or renter’s insurance that will cover your storage unit, but these policies are usually less than desirable. They may cover only a percentage of the actual value of your belongings, they may have high deductibles, or both.
As you research insurrers, there are several things to look for. First, make sure they cover the facility where you plan to rent. Second, check what conditions they cover, such as burglary, vandalism, smoke, fire, and accidents. Make sure they cover natural disasters that your area is prone to, like floods, earthquakes, and tornados.
Find out if they cover the cash value of your items or the replacement cost. The latter is better in most cases. For example, if you have a three-year-old laptop in storage, its value has probably depreciated. However, to replace it, you would need to purchase a new laptop at current market prices. If your insurance covered cash value, you would not get enough from the insurance company to replace your laptop. If they covered the replacement cost, you would.
You may keep expensive items in your unit, or important family items. Whatever the case, if it’s worth storing, it’s worth getting covered. So, check the different levels of coverage that your company of choice offers. Hopefully, you have a good idea of how much your belongings are worth, and you’ve created an inventory list of everything you have stored. Get an insurance policy that covers the full value of your stored items.
Chances are that your belongings will be perfectly safe in self storage, but you’ll feel better knowing they’re covered, just in case.