When you move into a self-storage unit, you don’t want to return months later to find your belongings missing or damaged. Oftentimes, insuring your stored items can take the edge off those worries.

But be careful— not all self-storage insurance is created equal. For instance, Public Storage has recently drawn a lot of flack for their inconsistent and unclear policies. Many renters report insurmountable difficulty in trying to receive compensation for damaged or missing items.

To be fair, the large majority of operators and insurance companies are not trying to screw you over. Self-storage insurance just happens to be a confusing topic. Amidst the red tape and misunderstandings, customers sometimes get the shorter end of the stick.

Because we want you to make educated purchase decisions, we’ve compiled a list of tips to consider when buying self-storage insurance:

1. Choose a facility with a clear insurance policy.
Read your rental lease carefully. Are you responsible for insuring your belongings? Does the facility require you to provide proof of insurance? Do they require you to buy their facility-sold insurance package?

Even if your on-site representative goes over their policy with you, it’s always safest to actually read your lease. That way, should an incident occur, you’ll know your rights as a consumer.

2. Call your homeowners’ or renters’ insurance agent.
Many current homeowners’ or renters’ insurance policies already provide self-storage insurance. Others allow you to purchase an add-on package that covers stored items. Either way, the insurance companies that you’ve previously worked with are usually a safe bet.

3. Ask detailed questions about insurance coverage.
Whether you opt for homeowners insurance or buy the facility-sold package, asking the right questions is crucial. Inquire about which situations your policy covers. Sometimes, damage caused by common issues such as pests, water damage and mold do not qualify as claims.

If you purchase insurance through your self-storage facility, make sure they are authorized to sell it. Selling insurance without a license is illegal.

Hopefully, you’ll never have to make a storage insurance claim. However, these preventative tips will prepare you well should the situation arise.


Photo credit: Rasbak under Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 Unported license